The role of the advisory committee is to aid in mentoring of graduate students and provide feedback. The members of the committee are usually selected by the supervisor, in consultation with the student. The members of your committee should be determined carefully and should be individuals prepared to comment critically on your work and with whom you will have a productive, intellectual exchange. The composition of the advisory committee must be approved by the Associate Chair and the Associate Dean, both of whom must also approve any changes in composition of the committee. It is therefore important to keep the Graduate Coordinator informed of any changes in committee membership. This is particularly critical in the case where a student changes supervisors during the course of their program. If your research takes you away from the campus, your supervisor will be responsible for ensuring that you have adequate supervision.

At both the M.Sc. and Ph.D. levels, students must have a supervisor and an advisory committee. A student may have two supervisors, in which case they are referred to as co‑supervisors. It is important to keep in mind that committees can only have one adjunct member.

Your advisory committee should be established by the end of your first term but no later than the end of your second term. Students cannot hold a thesis proposal or a committee meeting until their committee has been approved by the Associate Dean of Graduate Studies. If you have an adjunct member on your committee, then approval may take longer. It is therefore critical to ensure timely submission of all paperwork.

The Graduate Coordinator will send out an email out at the beginning of your first term, with reminders in successive terms, should they be needed. This email will provide a link to the Proposed Advisory Committee form on the Biology Graduate Student website. This form will need to be completed each time there is a change in composition of the advisory committee, but especially in the rare event that there is a change in supervisor.

Members of advisory committees should be accessible to students when called upon for regular committee meetings, discussions of a student’s academic progress, consultation on issues related to the research project, and/or for general guidance.

At all meetings, the supervisor must be present. If the supervisor is unable to attend, the meeting must be rescheduled.