Choosing Your Committee

Once a student settles in a permanent laboratory, he/she must choose a supervisory committee.  This committee:

  • Monitors a student's progress regularly during their graduate career.
  • Counsels, advises and assists the student.
  • Acts to maintain equal standards of student supervision
  • The supervisor and the supervisory committee identify when a student is not making adequate progress and document it on the Supervisory Committee Evaluation Report and, in consultation with the student, devise approaches to remedy the problem.

Supervisory Committee Composition

The committee is composed of the student's supervisor and a minimum of two other faculty members.   The Department encourages the student and supervisor to choose a supervisory committee that is limited to a total of three faculty members (including the supervisor) because of potential scheduling difficulties that can arise with additional committee members.  However, if the student and supervisor feel that the benefits of increased expertise on the committee outweigh any potential scheduling difficulties, additional members should be invited to join the committee.

Of these two committee members:

  • At least one of these must be a Molecular Genetics Faculty member.
  • At least one of these must be a Molecular Genetics faculty member from a different node than the student's lab. In some cases, a faculty member from another department can be used to meet this requirement.
  • At least one of these must be a Molecular Genetics Faculty member who has an arm’s length relationship with the supervisor and the student (i.e. not a collaborator, spouse, etc.)
  • At least one of these must have expertise different from that of the Supervisor.

Please note that one committee member may fulfill multiple (or even all) of these criteria. The choice of additional committee members is not restricted with respect to their node, departmental affiliation, or arm’s length relationship with the student/supervisor.

The student and supervisor jointly choose the supervisory committee, which MUST be approved by the Graduate Coordinator BEFORE the first committee meeting is arranged. The Supervisory Committee composition must be chosen by Feb 1st (for September entrants) or June 1st (for January entrants)

A faculty member from the Department, other than the supervisor, will act as the permanent chair of the committee. The composition or the chair of the committee may be changed provided all parties involved agree. The Graduate Coordinator must approve all changes.

If a student is having difficulties, a member of the Examining Committee may be assigned to attend one or more committee meetings.