McGill Alert / Alerte de McGill

Updated: Mon, 07/15/2024 - 16:07

Gradual reopening continues on downtown campus. See Campus Public Safety website for details.

La réouverture graduelle du campus du centre-ville se poursuit. Complément d'information : Direction de la protection et de la prévention.

Advisory Meetings & Progress Tracking

Regular reviews of Master's student performance is a unit-wide practice in accordance with the University policy for doctoral students, and it is conducted by a student’s Advisory Committee. In compliance with this policy, students must organize an Advisory Committee Meeting (ACM) at least once per year to discuss the progress of their research and to obtain constructive advice on the continuation of their project.
 

The below guidelines are specified by departmental regulations and are in agreement with McGill’s Graduate Student Research Progress Tracking Policy.


Related Forms can be found here

Related Policies

Regulations on Research Progress Tracking

Graduate Student Research Progress Tracking

  1. Research Progress Reporting for Doctoral Students

    1.1. At least annually, there must be a progress tracking meeting at which objectives for the upcoming year are established and prior progress recorded and evaluated on the Graduate Student Research Progress Tracking Form (available at mcgill.ca/gps/students/progress-tracking. For doctoral students whose committees have been formed, a member of the supervisory committee must also attend. If a committee member is unavailable, a representative from the academic unit may exceptionally attend in lieu of a committee member.

    1.2. Students should be informed of the phases through which they must pass towards the achievement of the graduate degree, the approximate amount of time each phase should take, the criteria for successful completion, and any deadlines relating to these phases.

    1.3 Units may also use the Graduate Student Research Progress Tracking Form for master's students in thesis and non-thesis research programs if this is a unit-wide practice.

  2. Procedures

    2.1. At the first annual progress reporting meeting (to be held shortly after doctoral students begin their programs), written objectives/expectations for the year must be recorded in the objectives box on page 1 of the form. Those attending the meeting-the student, the supervisor, and a member of the supervisory committee (or exceptionally, a representative from the academic unit if a committee member is not available)-must sign the form on page 3.

    2.2. Subsequently, the student and supervisor(s), and a member of the supervisory committee (or exceptionally, a representative from the academic unit if a committee member is not available) must meet annually to review the progress that has been achieved toward the recorded objectives. Prior to these meetings, the student should record their accomplishments and progress for the year by completing the progress box on page 1 of the form. This completed form is then evaluated by the committee (i.e., supervisor and the member of the supervisory committee or exceptionally, a representative from the academic unit if a committee member is not available) on page 2 of the form. It is strongly recommended that this section include a detailed assessment of student progress from the perspective of the supervisory committee. All parties sign the form on page 3. At this same meeting, objectives for the following year should be recorded in the objectives box on page 1 of the same form.

    2.3. If progress is judged unsatisfactory, a follow-up progress tracking meeting must occur not sooner than 4 months and not later than 6 months after the first report. A deadline for the follow-up meeting must be indicated on page 2 of the form. If progress is judged satisfactory at the follow-up meeting, the timing of the next progress tracking meeting will be determined by the regular deadlines indicated in myProgress milestones for the student's program.

    2.4. Two unsatisfactory reports (not necessarily successive) constitute unsatisfactory progress towards the degree and, if recommended by the academic unit, the student will be withdrawn from the University.

    2.5. A student or faculty member who refuses to sign the form must write a statement detailing their reasons for not signing. This statement may be submitted to the committee and Graduate Program Director to be retained with the progress tracking form or submitted confidentially to the GPS Associate Dean.

    2.6. In cases where the student has missed an established progress report deadline and has not responded to the unit within 4 weeks after being contacted by the academic unit, the report may be completed in the student's absence, and progress may be judged unsatisfactory.

    2.7. The progress tracking forms must be uploaded to the student's record on myProgress.

    2.8. The Graduate Program Director must review and sign all Progress Tracking Reports. If the Graduate Program Director is signing as the supervisor, committee member, or as a unit representative in lieu of a committee member, then the Chair will sign.

Senate, Sept. 2003; Revised Sept. 2014, Sept. 2015, and March 2016.

Taken from Programs, Courses and University Regulations 2024-2025 (last updated Mar. 29, 2023).

Failure Policy

Failure Policy in Graduate Studies

Purpose

This policy specifies conditions under which graduate students will be withdrawn from the University due to unsatisfactory standing resulting from failed courses and/or unsatisfactory Graduate Student Research Progress Tracking Reports.

Scope

This policy pertains to courses and Graduate Student Research Progress Tracking Reports. It does not apply to comprehensive examinations, thesis examinations or doctoral oral defences.

For a failed thesis examination or doctoral oral defence, the Thesis Examination Failures Policy applies; for a failed comprehensive examination, the Ph.D. Comprehensives Policy applies.

Definitions

  • Course”: a course that counts for credit toward the student’s degree program (whether required, complementary, or elective), excluding comprehensive examinations. This includes courses approved to be taken at other institutions that count for credit toward the student’s degree program.
  • Graduate Student Research Progress Tracking Report”: a written record of a meeting attended by the graduate student, his or her supervisor(s) and a member of the supervisory committee or a representative from the academic unit at which objectives for the upcoming year are established and prior progress recorded and evaluated.
  • Failure”: withdrawal from the University due to unsatisfactory standing.
  • Student”: a student registered in a graduate degree program (including those registered in a Qualifying Year).

Failure Policy

A student will be withdrawn from the University, if they:

  1. fail two courses (i.e., two different courses, one failed course plus a failed repeat of the same course or one failed course and a failed supplemental exam for that course); or
  2. obtain two unsatisfactory Graduate Student Research Progress Tracking Reports and the academic unit in which the student is registered recommends that they be withdrawn; or
  3. fail one course, obtain one unsatisfactory Graduate Student Research Progress Tracking Report, and the academic unit in which the student is registered recommends that they be withdrawn.

The student’s transcript will thereafter indicate that the student was withdrawn from the University.

Students in a Qualifying Year

Failing a course in a Qualifying Year is equivalent to failing a course in a graduate program, and counts as a first failed course if a student is subsequently admitted to a graduate program in a related field.

Readmission

A student withdrawn according to this policy cannot apply for readmission to the program from which they were withdrawn.

  • Senate, October 11, 2000.
  • Revised by GPS Council, February 10, 2003; February 9, 2015.

Procedure to Follow in Cases of Failure

In the event of course failure:

  • For a failed course, the academic unit (department) must:
    • Ensure that the failing grade is recorded on the student's record (if a course).
    • Complete the web form Recommendation Following a First Failure to indicate whether the student will:
      • write a supplemental examination (if academic unit (departmental) policy permits); or
      • retake the failed course; or
      • substitute the failed course by completing an equivalent course.
IMPORTANT: The student will receive a copy of their academic unit's (department's) web form submission as the official notification of their first failure.

In the event of a second failure (including failure of a supplemental exam:

  • The second failing grade must be recorded on the student's record (if a course or supplemental exam).
  • 30 days after the academic unit (department) has informed the student of the failure and options for redress, if the student is still in unsatisfactory status, the unit must complete the web form Withdrawal Recommendation Following a Second Failure to recommend to Management of Academic Records Unit, Enrolment Services that the student must be withdrawn from their program.
  • Upon receipt of the recommendation for withdrawal, Enrolment Services will send the student an official withdrawal letter and change the status to Withdrawn on the student's academic record.

Requesting an appeal in case of withdrawal due to failure:

A student recommended for withdrawal due to failure has 30 days (from the date of the notification letter) to appeal this decision. It is the student's responsibility to present evidence of their case and provide any supporting documentation, including letters of support from their thesis supervisor and Graduate Program Director, to associatedeans.gps [at] mcgill.ca. The appeal and any supporting documents will be reviewed by the Associate Dean, Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, and the student will be notified of the decision. That decision will be final. Students should be aware that appeals are rarely awarded, and only under truly exceptional circumstances.

A student who wishes to submit an appeal must:

  • Prepare a detailed letter indicating the reasons for the appeal (addressed to the Graduate Associate Dean);
  • Obtain any supporting documents (addressed to the Graduate Associate Dean);
  • Submit the letter, together with all supporting documents, to associatedeans.gps [at] mcgill.ca, before the end of this 30-day period.
Note: A student in a graduate program who has failed one course while being a Special Student in graduate studies will have this failure count as a first failure in a related graduate program. Any further failure will require withdrawal from the program of study. A student may not claim medical reasons for a course failure after the fact. In the case of an examination, a dated medical certificate or appropriate document recommending a deferral (see “Other Grades” in Grading and Grade Point Averages (GPA) > “L - deferred” and “LE or L* - further deferral”) must be submitted to Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies with a recommendation from the academic unit (department) for a deferral before or immediately after the examination. In particular, such recommendation will not be considered if medical reasons are brought forth after a grade is submitted. Medical reasons declared after the fact will not be considered acceptable grounds of appeal of withdrawal under the Failure Policy.
Taken from Programs, Courses and University Regulations 2024-2025 (last updated Mar. 29, 2023).
Advisory Committee Composition

In agreement with the thesis supervisor, students must select an Advisory Committee by the end of their first admission term (December or April). Once the committee members are confirmed, the student must notify the studentaffairs.acb [at] mcgill.ca (Graduate Program Coordinator) (GPC) of the committee membership.

An Advisory Committee is composed of:

  • Student's Supervisor
  • Mentor (acting as representative of the Graduate Affairs Committee)
  • Internal Faculty Member
  • External Faculty Member (can be either from another department within McGill or from another institution entirely).

Under exceptional circumstances, the composition of the advisory committee can be modified by the Graduate Program Director in order to ensure progress towards the degree.

Study Plan (new students)

Within the first month of study, new students must meet with their supervisor to establish:

  1. Initial research objectives;
  2. When the first Advisory Committee Meeting will be held

This needs to be documented in the New Objectives box in section 1 of the Graduate Student Research Progress Tracking Report (PTR). The student must then schedule a meeting with their assigned Mentor to review and discuss.

The PTR needs to be signed by the student, supervisor, and mentor. It is then the student’s responsibility to upload it to myProgress once complete.

FIRST Advisory Committee Meeting - Guidelines

Students are required to present their research accomplishments at their annual advisory committee meetings. The first committee meeting must take place within the first 6-9 months of study. 
 

1 Week before the meeting:

Students must submit the following to their advisory committee for review:

  • The previous objectives portion in section1 on the Progress Tracking Report must list the objectives that were agreed upon for the Study Plan.

  • Section 2 of the Progress Tracking Report must be completed entirely to indicate the progress that has been made towards the stated objectives along with any other accomplishments. If necessary, this can be attached as an additional page, labeled accordingly.

  • A written project summary describing the thesis project, including background, rationale, experimental approaches, results to date, limitations/discussion, future experiments, and references. This must be 4-5 pages, double-spaced, including references, and attached as a separate document to the Progress Tracking Report, labelled accordingly. If the project summary exceeds the page limit, or is not correctly formatted, it will not be accepted. If the documents are not provided by the deadline, the meeting will result in an overall unsatisfactory outcome (failure), but the meeting will not be cancelled or rescheduled.

At the meeting:
  • The student will give an oral presentation on their progress as a 30 minute talk (maximum), followed by a question period. To ensure the presentation time is respected, the student should consult with their supervisor when preparing the content and length of their presentation. The Mentor will ensure the presentation proceeds in a timely and efficient manner during the meeting.

  • At the end of the meeting, the advisory committee will evaluate the student's progress and decide when the second meeting should be held (approx.).

  • The mentor will complete section 3 of the Progress Tracking Report, and must include the following:

    • A summary of the evaluation; 

    • The approximate timeline for the second meeting;

    • The overall outcome of the meeting (satisfactory/unsatisfactory).

  • The student and the Advisory Committee must then sign the Progress Tracking Report and check off the appropriate boxes on the signature page. Signature is not a statement of agreement with the evaluation, only an acknowledgment that it has been read and understood.

After the meeting:
  • Following the committee meeting, the student should meet with their supervisor to review the evaluation and to set new objectives for the upcoming academic year. New objectives and timelines (e.g., courses, data collection, MSc seminar, PhD Transfer, initial thesis submission), are to be jointly agreed upon by both student and supervisor. They must be recorded under New Objectives in section 1of the Progress Tracking Report, or attached as a separate document labelled accordingly.

  • A fully-completed and signed Progress Tracking Report must then be uploaded to myProgress for GPD approval. Please notify the gradstudentaffairs.acb [at] mcgill.ca (subject: Document%20Upload%20to%20myProgress, body: This%20email%20is%20to%20inform%20you%20that%20the%20following%20document%20has%20been%20uploaded%20to%20myProgress%3A) (GPC) once this is done.

Meeting Outcomes:

    1. Satisfactory Outcome:
    • The advisory committee must recommend when the next meeting should be held (between 12-18 months of study), and this should be noted on the Progress Tracking Report.
       
    1. Unsatisfactory Outcome: 
    • A first overall unsatisfactory: The Advisory Committee will indicate conditions required for a satisfactory evaluation, and another ACM meeting must be held after 4 to 6 months. A deadline for the follow-up meeting must be indicated on page 3 of the form.
    • A second overall unsatisfactory: Failure to meet overall objectives on two reports (not necessarily successive) constitutes unsatisfactory progress towards the degree and, if recommended by the advisory committee and the academic unit, the student will be withdrawn from the University

      Important:
    • In cases where the student has missed an established progress report deadline and has not responded to the Unit within 4 weeks after being contacted by the Unit, the report may be completed in the student’s absence, and progress may be judged unsatisfactory.
    • A failure in one required course and one ACM evaluation will be grounds for withdrawal.


    Please review the policies above for more details regarding unsatisfactory outcomes.

    SECOND Advisory Committee Meeting - Guidelines

    The second advisory committee meeting must take place within 12-18 months of study

    When scheduling the meeting, the student must inform the committee that they are seeking approval to proceed with either 1 or 2 below:

    1. Present their MSc Seminar - ANAT 601 (3 credits)
    2. Fast Track to the PhD Program:
    • Before pursuing this option, the student must first discuss the possibility to transfer with their supervisor.
    • Fast-tracking represents a serious long-term commitment by both student and supervisor. To obtain recommendation to transfer to the PhD Program, the Advisory Committee must be satisfied that the student has an adequate understanding of the scope of their project and sufficient knowledge of background material.
    • See the eligibility and evaluation criteria here.
    1 week before the meeting:

    Students must submit the following to their advisory committee for review:

    • Section 1 (previous objectives) on the Progress Tracking Report must list the objectives that were agreed upon following the first advisory committee meeting.
    • Section 2 of the Progress Tracking Report must be completed entirely to indicate the progress that has been made towards the stated objectives along with any other accomplishments. If necessary, this can be attached as an additional page, labeled accordingly.
    • A written project summary describing the thesis project, including background, rationale, experimental approaches, results to date, limitations/discussion, future experiments, and references. This must be 4-5 pages, double-spaced, including references, and attached as a separate document to the Progress Tracking Report, labelled accordingly. If the project summary exceeds the page limit, or is not correctly formatted, it will not be accepted.

    If the documents are not provided by the deadline, the meeting will result in an overall unsatisfactory outcome (failure), but the meeting will not be cancelled or rescheduled.

    At the meeting:
    • If the student is planning to proceed to the MSc Seminar (ANAT 601): They must give a 30 minute (maximum) oral presentation on their progress, followed by a question period.
    • If the student is seeking to fast track to the PhD program: They must give a 30-40 minute (maximum) presentation on their thesis work, including a research plan for their PhD project, followed by a 15-20 minute question period.
    • To ensure that presentation times are respected, the student should consult with their supervisor(s) when preparing the content and length of their presentation. The mentor will ensure the presentation proceeds in a timely and efficient manner.
    • The advisory committee will evaluate the student's progress, and provide the student with a recommendation on how to proceed. This must be documented on the Progress Tracking Report
    • A summary of the evaluation will be indicated on the Progress Tracking Report, with the overall outcome of the meeting (satisfactory/unsatisfactory). The form needs to be signed by the student and all members of the advisory committee. Signature is not a statement of agreement with the evaluation, only an acknowledgment that it has been read and understood.
    After the meeting:
    • Following the committee meeting, the student should meet with their supervisor to review the evaluation, set new objectives (if applicable), and establish an approximate timeline for either the MSc Seminar + initial thesis submission, or a PhD Transfer. Objectives and timelines must be jointly agreed upon by both the student and supervisor, and recorded in New Objectives in section 1of the Progress Tracking Report, or attached as a separate document labelled accordingly.
    • A fully-completed and signed Progress Tracking Report must then be uploaded to myProgress for GPD approval. Please notify the gradstudentaffairs.acb [at] mcgill.ca (subject: Document%20Upload%20to%20myProgress, body: This%20email%20is%20to%20inform%20you%20that%20the%20following%20document%20has%20been%20uploaded%20to%20myProgress%3A) (GPC) once this is done.

    Meeting Outcomes:

      1. Satisfactory Outcome:
        The advisory committee will provide the student with one of the following recommendations which they are required to follow:
        1) Fulfil the program requirements of the MSc degree/ proceed to writing the thesis and present a MSc Seminar, or;
        2) Proceed with fast tracking to the PhD program.
         
      2. Unsatisfactory Outcome:
      • A first overall unsatisfactory: The Advisory Committee will indicate conditions required for a satisfactory evaluation, and another ACM meeting must be held after 4 to 6 months. A deadline for the follow-up meeting must be indicated on page 3 of the form.
      • A second overall unsatisfactory: Failure to meet overall objectives on two reports (not necessarily successive) constitutes unsatisfactory progress towards the degree and, if recommended by the advisory committee and the academic unit, the student will be withdrawn from the University

        Important:
      • In cases where the student has missed an established progress report deadline and has not responded to the Unit within 4 weeks after being contacted by the Unit, the report may be completed in the student’s absence, and progress may be judged unsatisfactory.
      • A failure in one required course and one ACM evaluation will be grounds for withdrawal.
         

      Please review the policies above for more details regarding unsatisfactory outcomes.

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