The thesis advisory committee assists supervisors in their role of monitoring and mentoring research by graduate students. Committee members should therefor be reasonably accessible to the student to fulfil on the commitment of the thesis advisory committee, which includes:
- providing advice and recommendations on the student's research
- helping to monitor and report on the student's progress throughout their graduate program
- formally meeting with the student on an annual basis
- serving on the thesis proposal examination committee
- serving on the thesis defence committee
- PhD committee members may also serve on the PhD comprehensive examination committee
Appointment and composition of the thesis advisory committee
Advisory committee appointment
Within the first month of the program, the student should be introduced to the first member of the committee (other than the supervisor or co-supervisors). This will be a full faculty member of the School, who will chair the advisory committee meetings and who may assist the student if difficult situations arise in the absence of the supervisor(s).
Discussion of the project at this point is purely between supervisor and student.
Within the first term, the thesis advisory committee is established by the supervisor, in consultation with the student.
The student and supervisor should complete the Pharmacy graduate thesis advisory committee appointment form and submit it to the administrative coordinator for graduate studies and research (grad coordinator) to obtain the necessary approvals.
Composition of the thesis advisory committee
Refer to the Graduate Studies Academic Calendar additional requirements pertaining to thesis advisory committee membership:
For both the MSc Pharmacy and PhD Pharmacy degree programs, the advisory committee consists of:
- the supervisor or co-supervisors
- at least two additional faculty members
- one of the additional faculty members must be a full faculty member of the School of Pharmacy
- the second additional faculty member may be a faculty member of another department at the University; or a scientist from another university, industry, or government laboratory*
Meetings schedule and reports
Meetings with the thesis advisory committee provide an opportunity for discussion and documentation of a student’s progress in their program. The intent is to provide the student with appropriate support and ensure timely and successful completion of the graduate program.
In Pharmacy, meetings with the thesis advisory committee follow a regular schedule and must be documented using the corresponding thesis advisory committee meeting report.
The first formal meeting of the student and the advisory committee should take place before the end of the first term. Any deferrals of the first meeting must be approved by the graduate officer; if approved, the first meeting must take place at the beginning of the second term.
The goal of the first meeting is to ensure that the initial planning between supervisor and student has produced a framework that is on track and that the student has supports in place. It is not necessary that a project is fully defined and planned, but there should be a plan sufficient to convince all members of the committee that the project and overall course plan:
- is feasible
- will have scope and depth suitable to lead to a successful degree
- is structured so that it fits within program time limits
- is manageable for the student
- meets the standards of the graduate program
The thesis proposal is the second formal meeting of the advisory committee, and normally takes place in term two (MSc) or three (PhD) of the program. For details about the thesis proposal, see the Thesis proposal page.
Subsequent meetings must occur at least once per year. Students must prepare and provide a progress report (e.g. written report, slide presentation) to the advisor and the advisory committee in advance of the meeting. A copy of the progress report should be sent to the graduate coordinator (either ahead of the meeting or directly following the meeting) to be added to the student's electronic record as evidence of their academic progress.
Students should feel at liberty to consult their committee on a more casual basis, at any time!
More frequent meetings are required if there are ongoing concerns of any kind, including when students are beyond the normal program time limits.
Students who are beyond program time limits must submit a petition for extension of program time limits prior the start of the first extension, and each term thereafter. Progress of students who have been granted extensions will be reviewed every term. For more information on time limits see the Enrolment and time limits page.
Scheduling and Preparing for Meetings
- Confirm the availability of your Supervisor and Committee
- Contact your Supervisor and the members of your Advisory Committee to confirm their availability; we recommend using a free online poll such as Doodle.com.
- Make sure to find out if any of your committee members will need to attend remotely (i.e. via Skype or teleconference). Note: Due to COVID-19, all meetings are held remotely in Microsoft Teams until further notice.
- Confirm the meeting
- Complete the Pharmacy graduate studies meeting request form and submit it to the Administrative Coordinator Graduate Studies and Research (Grad Coordinator) at least 2 weeks ahead of the meeting date.
- The Grad Coordinator will book a room for the meeting and forward the meeting appointment via Outlook to you; arrange a chair (for thesis proposals); set up IT support for remote attendees (if required); and, prepare the committee meeting report paperwork.
- Students should send an IT ticket for tech set up/training/support, if required, at least 2 weeks ahead of the scheduled meeting date.
- Prepare progress report
- Students must prepare and provide a progress report to the supervisor and the advisory committee, at least one week ahead of the scheduled meeting.
- Students should discuss expectations of their progress report with their supervisor; students may refer to the corresponding meeting report form for additional guidance
- A copy of the student's progress report should be sent to the graduate coordinator (either ahead of the meeting or directly following the meeting) to be added to the student's electronic record as evidence of their academic progress.
Student progress is recorded on the corresponding meeting report at each formal meeting of the thesis advisory committee by a designated meeting chair. Following the meeting, the Chair forwards the completed form to the grad coordinator for review and approval by the graduate officer and the Associate Dean of Science for Graduate Studies. A copy of approved meeting reports are sent to the student and advisor(s) for their records.
First Thesis Advisory Committee Meeting Report
The First Thesis Advisory Committee Meeting provides the opportunity for early discussion regarding the thesis topic, research methods, appropriateness and feasibility of the project, as well as other program requirements. Next steps, including planning for the thesis proposal, are also discussed.
Annual Thesis Advisory Committee Meeting Report
The Annual Advisory Committee Meeting Report focuses on the student’s current understanding of the material, their ability to handle discussion give their knowledge base, research progress, and general overall progress.
Student performance is assessed as:
U-Unsatisfactory at this time
S-Fully satisfactory at this time
E-Excellent and exceptional for this stage in the program
Reports should also include:
- Thesis title/topic changes (if any)
- Any requests to program changes, including if a student is going from full time studies to part time studies, or if they are recommended for a program transfer (e.g. from MSc to PhD)
- Comments regarding fulfillment of any program requirements, including PhD proposal requirements (for MSc transfer students) and any conditions arising from the PhD comprehensive examination.
- All questions, concerns, and difficulties, with corresponding corrective measures that are required by the student.*
- An ‘action plan’ outlining what the student is expected to do with a specified date of completion*
Examples of unsatisfactory progress include:
- Failing to achieve the minimum required grade (>70%) for “good standing” in course work.
- Failing a program milestone, such as the thesis proposal examination or comprehensive examination.
- Unsatisfactory progress reported by the advisory committee.
Potential consequences of unsatisfactory progress
Involvement of the graduate officer
The advisor(s) and/or advisory committee may also bring concerns about a student’s academic progress to the attention of the student and, if appropriate, meet with the student and the graduate officer.
- In such instances, the graduate officer in consultation with the advisor(s) will inform students, in writing, of their unsatisfactory progress and provide the student with an “action plan”; including a reasonable timeline outlining what the student must do to remedy the situation.
- Student required to withdraw
- Two consecutive unsatisfactory progress reports may result in requiring the student to withdraw from the program.
- Where the advisor feels that the student will have serious difficulties finishing the program, the advisor, in consultation with the advisory committee, will inform both the student and the Graduate Officer, in writing, of the nature of the problem(s), suggested remedies, and may recommend withdrawal from the program.
- If the committee recommends that the student withdraw, it must be noted on the thesis advisory committee meeting report that the committee "recommends to the Faculty Associate Dean, Graduate Studies, that the student be required to withdraw."
- Voluntary withdrawal
- A student may submit a completed change fo enrolment status form (available on the graduate studies forms web page) to voluntarily withdraw from the program, if they are experiencing difficulties that prevent them from continuing their graduate studies.