Your Advisor & Advisory Committee

All students will have an advisor and a committee member (or two co-advisors) to guide them through the program.

Please read the University of Guelph Policy on Responsibilities of Advisors, Advisory Committees and Graduate Students and Graduate Student-Advisor Mediation Procedures.

Your Advisor

You will be assigned an interim faculty advisor when you arrive to further help you become acquainted with the program and graduate studies. It should be emphasized that neither students nor faculty are obligated to maintain this interim pairing.

All students should have a permanent advisor in place by January. It is your responsibility to approach a possible advisor (including your interim advisor) and ask her or him whether they will accept you as a student.

For students in the course-based option, the graduate coordinator will act as your de facto advisor, monitoring your progress through the program. Students in the MRP or thesis option will work closely with their advisors on their written project; therefore, students in the MRP or thesis option should approach faculty members who broadly share their research interests to request that they serve as their advisor.

Advisors are normally faculty members from either the Department of Political Science or Department of Sociology and Anthropology, though co-advisors may be from other departments or even other universities.

Committee Member

For students in the MRP or thesis streams, the committee member should be someone who is able to provide general feedback and guidance related to the student’s area of research interest.

Normally, committee members are not as frequently engaged in providing guidance and feedback as the supervisor; although how the committee works will depend on the interactions between the student, the supervisor and the committee member. Your advisor will help you to choose a committee member.

Committee members may be faculty members from the Department of Political Science or the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, faculty in other departments at the University of Guelph or even faculty in other universities.

Individuals who are not designated as "graduate faculty" at the University of Guelph must be designated as temporary graduate faculty for the purposes of advising, co-advising or being on a committee — the graduate program assistant and graduate coordinator can help facilitate this process.

For students writing a thesis, an examiner external to the supervisor and committee will need to be found for the thesis defence.

Forms and Meetings

When you have formed your committee, you must fill out the advisory committee form and the graduate degree program form by the end of February of your second semester. You must submit a written copy of this form to the graduate program assistant.

This form must be signed by your advisor, the graduate coordinator, and yourself. When all signatures are present, a copy of this form is put in your department file and the original is sent to the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.

It is strongly recommended that you complete these forms by the end of February of your second semester. All students must meet with their committee at least once per semester. However, students are encouraged to see their advisor more frequently.

While the CCJP graduate committee and, ultimately, the chairs of the Department of Political Science and the Department of Sociology and Anthropology are responsible for monitoring your program and progress, the day-to-day responsibility is delegated to you, your advisor and advisory committee.

The advisory committee has major responsibility for assessing your needs and in helping you develop your program and your timetable. At a more formal level, your committee reviews your progress and performance at the conclusion of each semester and reports to the CCJP graduate committee.

You will receive a copy of this progress report and a report of any recommendations made by your advisory committee, the graduate committee, or the department.

Changes to Advisory Committee or Plan of Study

As you proceed through your program, there may be compelling reasons for you to reconstitute your committee or to make changes in your program, such as switching between the course-based, MRP, and thesis options. You should not request changes without giving careful thought to their overall implications for completing your degree on schedule.

Any changes in your program should be made in close consultation with your advisory committee. The proposed changes are then submitted to the graduate coordinator for further disposition.

If you do change between the course-based, MRP, and thesis options, a revised Advisory Committee/Degree Program form must be completed and signed by your advisor and the graduate coordinator. The graduate program assistant requires a copy and will send the original form to the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.

Please note: the Board of Graduate Studies will not allow you to register if you go beyond the specified time for completion, which for a full-time MA student is six (6) semesters, without a completed Program of Action document.