Graduate Student Responsibilities

From the choice of Advisor, choice of research project and through to degree completion, graduate students must recognize that they carry the primary responsibility for their success. The responsibilities assigned to Advisors, Advisory Committees and Departments provide the framework within which students can achieve success. Students should take full advantage of the knowledge and advice that the Advisor and Advisory Committee have to offer and make the effort to keep the lines of communication open. Specifically, each graduate student has a responsibility to:

  1. Make a commitment to grow intellectually, in part by fulfilling course requirements as outlined by the Advisory Committee, and to contribute to a field of knowledge by developing and carrying out a program of research.
  2. Learn about all appropriate deadline dates and regulations associated with registration, award applications and graduation requirements, as specified in the Graduate Calendar and/or the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies and/or the Department or School.
  3. Recognize that thesis and research project topics must be within the scope of the appraised and approved graduate program as set out in the program descriptions in the Graduate Calendar.
  4. Choose, with the approval of the Advisor and Advisory Committee, a topic of research for which adequate resources are available, including financial and physical resources and faculty expertise.
  5. Conform to University, Faculty and Program requirements, academic standards, and guidelines including those related to deadlines, thesis or research project style, course requirements, intellectual property, academic integrity and any relevant safety and/or workplace regulations.
  6. Produce a thesis or research project that is the student's own work and that meets the University and Department standards for style and quality, and reflects a capacity for independent scholarship in the discipline.
  7. Recognize that the Advisor and members of the Advisory Committee have other educational, research and service obligations that may preclude prompt responses to the graduate student. It is expected, however, that the approximate time for submitted written material to be returned with comments is usually two weeks.
  8. Consider and respond to advice and constructive criticism provided by the Advisor or members of the Advisory Committee.
  9. Meet or communicate regularly with the Advisor (or designate). The frequency and timing of meetings will depend on the nature of the research being undertaken and the stage in the student's program. However, meetings should be of sufficient frequency that the Advisor can make an adequate assessment of the student's progress each semester and the student receives timely feedback on what is being done well and where improvement is needed. The student should also interact with individual Advisory Committee members and other faculty as appropriate and meet with the Advisory Committee, normally no less than once per semester, to review progress.
  10. On a regular basis, make available to the Advisor all original research materials, retaining a copy where appropriate.
  11. Be prepared to approach first the Advisor and then the Graduate Program Coordinator or Chair with any perceived problems or changes in circumstances that could affect performance. If circumstances warrant, students may wish to consider a leave of absence on compassionate grounds. Information about this may be obtained from the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies or from the departmental Graduate Program Coordinator.
  12. Submit, with specific reasons, any request for the replacement of an Advisor or member of the Advisory or Examining Committee to the Departmental Graduate Program Coordinator should a personal or professional conflict arise. Students should take immediate steps to change their Advisor or a member of their Advisory Committee in cases where an appropriate academic relationship cannot be maintained. In most circumstances, the first step would be to meet with the Graduate Program Coordinator.
  13. Recognize that changing Advisors after program entry may have consequences in terms of the nature and focus of an appropriate research topic, and may alter funding planned prior to the change from the initial Advisor as outlined in the Department's letter of funding.
  14. Recognize that the student may be obliged to satisfy specific performance requirements that were agreed to at the time of acceptance to the graduate program. These performance requirements may relate to internal or external funding support that the student receives.
  15. Recognize that progress will be evaluated every semester by the Advisor and Advisory Committee, and reported to the Program and to the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.