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Policy on Graduate Student Research Progress Tracking

Policy on Graduate Student Research Progress Tracking

This is a new mandatory policy and procedure to track the research progress of graduate students. The policy is referred to in the amended Guidelines and Regulations for Academic Units on Graduate Student Advising and Supervision in bold font. Documents to record progress can be found on the GPS website: www.mcgill.ca/gps/students/research-exams#progress.

The following is a summary of the main elements of the new mandatory policy. The following steps must be followed for each graduate student in a thesis program:
  1. Annually, the student must meet with, at minimum, their supervisor(s) and a departmental representative. This meeting can occur in the context of an annual thesis or advisory committee in those departments that have thesis committees
  2. At the first such meeting (to be held shortly after thesis students begin their programs), written objectives/expectations for the year must be recorded on the first of the three forms, Form #1 (Graduate Student Research Objectives Report Form). All three people at the meeting must sign this form. A student who does not agree to sign the form must write a statement detailing his/her objections to the expectations recorded on the form.
  3. Approximately one year later, and every year thereafter, the student, supervisor(s) and the departmental representative should meet again to review the progress that has been achieved toward the recorded objectives. Prior to the meeting, the student should record his/her accomplishments and progress for the year by completing Form #2 (Graduate Student Research Progress Record). This completed form is then evaluated by the supervisor and the departmental representative on Form #3 (Graduate Student Research Progress Report Form). All parties sign Form #3. A student who does not agree to sign the form must write a statement detailing his/her objections. At this same meeting, objectives for the following year should be recorded on Form #1, as per the procedure described in point 2, above.
  4. In the event that recorded research progress is unsatisfactory, a new set of objectives should be developed for the student at the meeting, and recorded on Form #1. These new, or interim, objectives apply only to the next semester. Evaluation of progress should take place after that semester has concluded, following the steps described in point 3, above.
  5. In the event that a student has any two unsatisfactory evaluations they may be required to withdraw from their program of study. These two unsatisfactory evaluations need not be successive.
  6. All forms are to be kept in departmental files.
  7. Departments that already have progress tracking forms may continue to utilize them, but these must conform to the fundamental principles underlying this new policy. Specifically, any departmental procedure or forms to record graduate research progress must:
    • be used annually;
    • be used in a meeting with the supervisor and one other departmental representative, and signed by all parties;
    • include a written statement of expectations approximately one year before any evaluation (Note: This can be one semester in the case of expectations following an unsatisfactory evaluation.);
    • permit the student to submit a minority report and not sign;
    • state clearly that any two unsatisfactory evaluations may be grounds for requiring a student to withdraw.

    Please note this new University policy is MANDATORY. Students may grieve against a department that fails to adhere to the policy and procedures outlined above.

    Senate, September 2003

Programs, Courses and University Regulations—2012-2013 (last updated Nov. 22, 2012) (disclaimer)