As soon as possible following a student's first registration in a program, an advisory committee, including research supervisor, should be named.  Responsibility for naming the members of a student's advisory committee lies with the academic unit Head, Graduate Chair, or designate, in a formal meeting with the academic unit’s Graduate Affairs Committee.  It is the responsibility of the Advisory Committee to assist students in course selection and definition of research area, to provide support and advice, to evaluate regularly the student's progress by meeting at least once yearly, to take appropriate and timely action in view of this progress, and to keep records of this evaluation and all actions taken.

The Master’s Advisory Committee consists of at least three members; the Ph.D. Advisory Committee consists of at least five members, as follows:

  1. Advisory Chair - Shall be the Graduate Chair, Head of the academic unit (Dean in the case of non-departmentalized colleges) or designate
  2. Supervisor - A member of the faculty of the CGPS (adjunct professors included) but cannot be a Professional Affiliate.
  3. Co-Supervisor, if applicable – persons who are not members of the faculty of CGPS may be granted permission to be a co-supervisor by the Dean, CGPS. Co-supervisors share a vote in decision-making at the oral defence, and thus count as one member.
  4. Additional Members - [need a minimum of 1 for a Master’s and 2 for a Ph.D.]. Must be members of the faculty of CGPS, adjunct professors, Professional Affiliates or be granted permission by the Dean, CGPS. The list of faculty, adjuncts, Professional Affiliates can be accessed in PAWS.
  5. Cognate Member - [need 1 for a Ph.D. program]. Must be a member of the CGPS Graduate Faculty from a different academic unit (department/college) than the student and supervisor, or granted permission by the Dean, CGPS. Cognate Members will be employees of the university and be eligible to be the sole supervisor of a doctoral student.
  6. The Dean of the CGPS is an ex officio member of the Advisory Committee.

When one of the proposed members of the Advisory Committee is not a member of the Graduate Faculty of the University academic community, the proposed member's CV and a written rationale as to why the person should be involved must be provided.  Please note this is a one-time exception for that person to serve on this one committee.

Postgraduate Diploma students do not require an Advisory Committee.


Effective for those beginning a new program September 2020, students enrolled in thesis-based programs will complete a CGPS Student-Supervisor Agreement in partnership with their supervisors. The agreement must be completed within the first twelve months of the student’s program and will be treated as a non-course requirement.

The CGPS Student-Supervisor Agreement template is available here. When the CGPS Student-Supervisor Agreement has been completed and signed by the supervisor and student, it should be submitted to the Graduate Administrator in the academic unit.

The Graduate Administrator should keep a copy in the academic unit’s files, and submit a copy to CGPS using the Student-supervisor agreement form.

Once CGPS has received the agreement, a CGPS Advisor will save a copy to the CGPS files in the Banner Document Management student file, and will mark the non-course requirement as complete in Banner. This will update the requirement as complete in the student’s DegreeWorks record as well.


Supervisors shall ensure that adequate provision has been made for continued supervision and student support during an absence or leave. All such arrangements must be communicated well in advance to the CGPS Dean, academic unit Head and the student. Interim examining and supervisory arrangements to cover a period of absence do not release Supervisors from final responsibility for the adequate supervision of their students.