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Graduate Studies Calendar 2023-2024 Academic Regulations J. Supervision
J. Supervision
J.1 Appointment of Supervisor

Graduate students in thesis-based programs are required to have a supervisor throughout the duration of their program. All members' eligibility to supervise is set out in the University of Calgary Graduate Student Supervision Policy, available at

Postdoctoral scholars are not eligible to serve as supervisors.

At time of admission, a supervisor or an interim supervisor must be appointed.

In consultation with the student and the proposed supervisor, the Graduate Program Director must appoint a permanent supervisor no later than twelve months after first registration.

Within two months of the appointment of a permanent supervisor, the graduate student and Supervisor must complete and discuss the Student-Supervisor Checklist and the Intellectual Property Awareness Checklist, if applicable, and file their signed copies with their program office. The relationship between supervisor and the graduate student is an academic one, conducted in a professional manner and in accordance with the Faculty of Graduate Studies Conflict of Interest Policy and the University of Calgary Research Integrity Policy.

J.2 Appointment of Co-Supervisor

If a student’s supervisor does not hold full supervisory privileges (see the University of Calgary Graduate Student Supervision Policy available at, the Graduate Program Director must appoint a co-supervisor, in consultation with the supervisor and the student.

If not required under J.2.1, the Graduate Program Director may appoint a co-supervisor if recommended by the supervisor and with the agreement of the student.

Postdoctoral scholars are not eligible to serve as co-supervisors.

When a co-supervisor is appointed, all relevant documentation must be signed by both the supervisor and the co-supervisor.

J.3 Continuity of Supervision

Graduate students should expect continuity of supervision through their graduate program (see University of Calgary Graduate Student Supervision Policy at

Graduate students have a responsibility to maintain strong working relationships with their supervisors as set out in Best Practices for Graduate Students.

In cases where graduate students are unwilling to accept the supervision provided or have chosen to pursue research topics other than those indicated at the time of admission, the graduate program and the Faculty of Graduate Studies have no responsibility to agree to alternate supervisory arrangements if they cannot be reasonably accommodated.

Only under exceptional circumstances, students may request permission from the Faculty of Graduate Studies to change supervisors (see

It is the role of the Graduate Program Director (or delegate) and the Faculty of Graduate Studies to try to mediate conflicts between students and supervisors in order to maintain the continuity of the supervisory relationship (see

J.4 Financial Commitments to Students at Time of Admission

Financial support promised in writing by supervisor is contingent upon a student’s continued registration and progress in a graduate program. Expectations should be clearly stated in the offer of funding that comes from the graduate program.

It is the collective responsibility of the supervisor(s), the graduate program(s) and the Faculty of Graduate Studies to ensure that financial commitments are met (see University of Calgary Graduate Student Supervision Policy - Financial Commitments).

J.5 Composition of the Supervisory Committee: Master's and Doctoral

The supervisory committee should be constituted by the supervisor in consultation with the student. It will normally consist of the supervisor and co-supervisor, if applicable, and two members. The composition must be approved by the Graduate Program Director (or delegate) and sent to the Faculty of Graduate Studies for information.

  • Master’s students do not require a supervisory committee unless required by the program or requested by the Graduate Program Director (or delegate).
  • Doctoral students require a supervisory committee, which should be appointed as soon as possible, but no later than three months after the appointment of the permanent supervisor or fifteen months after the initial registration. At least one member of a PhD supervisory committee must hold a PhD and full supervisory privileges.

For both master's and doctoral supervisory committees:

  • Members may be external to the graduate student’s program.
  • At least one of the members of the supervisory committee should have had supervisory experience at the doctoral level.
  • Postdoctoral scholars are eligible to serve as committee members. A postdoctoral scholar whose supervisor is on the student’s supervisory committee is not eligible to serve as a member of the examination committee. In this case, an additional member who is eligible to serve as an examiner must be included in the supervisory committee.
  • Persons who are non-academic staff members of the University of Calgary may serve on the supervisory committee with the approval of the Dean of Graduate Studies. Such an individual may be appointed as a regular supervisory committee member or in a non-voting capacity as an advisory member.  See section M.3.4 for more information on advisory members.
J.6 Appeals of Decisions of the Dean Regarding Supervision

Student Appeals of decisions of the dean regarding supervision may be made to the Faculty of Graduate Studies Appeals Committee in accordance with the Faculty of Graduate Studies Appeals Procedures