Your Advisory Committee and Degree Timeline

By 20 days into your second semester, you should have an Advisory Committee: additional faculty members who help you and your advisor. The University's Graduate Calendar provides a list of their responsibilities; in a nutshell, these are to provide you and your project with additional expertise and an outside eye; to confirm your progress every semester (see "Progress report" under "Graduate Records Forms"); to co-mark your Major Paper (if you're doing an MSc by coursework); to judge when your thesis is ready for defence; and to to serve as examiners during qualifying exams and defences. They can also act as peer reviewers if your work needs an Animal Use Protocol and was not funded by a peer-reviewed grant.

Establishing an Advisory Committee

The form for establishing an Advisory Committee can be printed for you by the Graduate Secretary, or accessed through the Office of Graduate Studies Forms page (under "Graduate Records Forms & Documents"). If you are a coursework student, it is recommended that you have one extra faculty member in addition to your advisor. If you are a thesis student, you require at least two graduate faculty members in addition to your advisor. Members of the committee neither have to be in the department, nor even UoGuelph faculty if your advisor nominates them as  "Special Graduate Faculty".

Advisory Committee Meetings

You can meet with all or some of your committee members whenever you choose, but you are required to meet with your full committee every semester. This meeting should be followed up with completion of a graduate student “Progress Report”, which will be made available to you through the Gryph Forms Portal. For thesis students, the advisor and committee members should be provided a copy of your written research proposal.  

Your Degree Timeline

A coursework degree is typically finished in a year, a M.Sc. by thesis in 2 years, and a Ph.D. in 3-4 years. When you arrive, it's a good idea to talk to your advisor about how they envision the trajectory of your degree; for thesis students, aim to complete your written research proposal in year 1, and for Ph.D. students, your Qualifying Exam should occur no later than semester 5.