Graduate Student Policies and Responsibilities

On this page: Graduate Supervision Policy Guidelines for Doctoral Dissertation Preparation and Supervisory Committee Responsibilities | Graduate Student Tracking | Social Media Policy Program Contact Email Accounts

ECP Graduate Supervision Policy

Further to the Graduate Student Supervision Policy outlined in the McGill eCalendar, ECP Faculty and graduate students must adhere to the following:

All ECP students are required to have, as their primary supervisor, a core ECP faculty member who is either a member of the student’s program, or is knowledgeable about the student’s program. This core ECP faculty member is responsible for ensuring that the student adheres to programmatic requirements. The following additional supervisory conditions must be adhered to, when applicable:

a. Cross-program ECP supervisors (Faculty supervising students outside their designate program, e.g. Counselling Psychology Faculty member supervising Learning Sciences student):

A student’s cross-program supervisor is responsible for ensuring that the student fulfils the requirements of the program in which the student is registered. In such cases, the student’s Graduate Program Director (GPD) is responsible for informing the cross-program supervisor of major program changes, should they arise. Core in-program co-supervisors remain optional for ECP students with cross-program ECP supervisors. The Program Committee/Graduate Program Director is responsible for approving cross-program supervisors at the point of admission.

b.  Supervision by those external to the Department (e.g. primary appointment is outside of ECP or McGill):

External faculty may only co-supervise. Therefore, such students are required to have a core ECP faculty member as their primary supervisor. External faculty must also hold an academic appointment in the unit (i.e. Associate Member, Adjunct Professor, etc.), which must be approved by the Department Chair. Should the student lose their external co-supervisor, the primary ECP supervisor will be responsible for either assuming full supervision of the student or find a new suitable co-supervisor for the student.

ECP Guidelines for Doctoral Dissertation Preparation and Supervisory Committee Responsibilities

The following guidelines, pertaining to doctoral dissertation preparation and the roles and responsibilities of the supervisory committee, are based on GPS policies and regulations as well as the ECP Graduate Supervision Policy, above.

  1. Doctoral supervisors must be full-time, tenure-track, tenured, or ranked contract academic staff, who have research as part of their duties. Retired, Emeritus, or Adjunct Professors cannot act as sole supervisors but may serve as co-supervisors with ECP and GPS consent. (GPS Graduate Student Supervision Policy items 2.3, 2.4, 2.5).
  2. Doctoral students must have a doctoral supervisory committee consisting of at least one faculty member in addition to the supervisor(s) for a minimum of 2 people (GPS Graduate Student Supervision Policy item 2.7) – with the option for additional members, as needed, following consultation between the supervisor and student. The choice of committee members should be based on the unique and complementary expertise necessary to guide the student through the research and can be modified as the student progresses. However, membership must include at least one core faculty member from the student’s program area (i.e. the supervisor OR the 2nd person must be from the student’s program of study).
  3. The Doctoral Supervisory Committee must be established by the end of the doctoral students’ first year, using the PDF icon ECP Doctoral Supervisory Committee Form
  4. Committee members must provide regular and constructive feedback on the progress of the dissertation research and document their presence and approval of activities by signing relevant forms (GPS Graduate Student Supervision Policy items 2.7, 2.8) including at least one annual meeting of the committee (GPS Research Tracking Policy) held either in person or via teleconference. Mechanisms to facilitate this include: 

    a. A formal Letter of Understanding, which is required, effective Fall 2019, for all newly admitted doctoral students. The Departmental File ECP Supervision Letter of Understanding Template, which may be adapted in accordance to needs, must be completed and signed by the student and their research supervisor.

    b. Use of myProgress, a web-based tool administered by GPS, to monitor student course and program requirements and academic milestones specific to their program of study (GPS myProgress Portal and Information)

    c. The annual PDF icon Graduate Student Research Progress Tracking Form 

    d. The PDF icon ECP PhD Dissertation Proposal Defense Approval Form

    e. Additional meetings related to the dissertation research

    f. The PDF icon ECP PhD Dissertation Submission Approval Form

  5. Dissertation committee members who fail to provide sufficient student support may be removed from the committee by the Graduate Program Director (GPD) or Chair, and replaced by another member.
  6. In the case of manuscript-based dissertations where a portion of the dissertation has been published prior to the formation of the supervisory committee (e.g., publications that are based on work carried out as a master’s student or as a doctoral RA), the supervisory committee must be apprised of that research and approve all aspects of it, if that work is to be included in the final dissertation. The previous work cannot, however, have been a requirement of a previous degree. A manuscript-style dissertation must include a minimum of two published, submitted, or to-be-submitted manuscript components. (GPS Preparation of a Thesis item 5).
  7. All committee members must formally approve the final draft of the dissertation and complete the PDF icon ECP Doctoral Dissertation Submission Approval Form before being submitted to the Department Chair by ECP Internal Deadlines and prior to submitting to GPS.

Note: The Department Chair is ultimately responsible for workload assignments (i.e., the total number of students faculty may supervise).

Graduate Student Tracking

Further to McGill's Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (GPS), ECP has a unit-based policy that requires all registered graduate students pursuing a Thesis or Research Program (MA thesis, MA Non-Thesis Project Concentration and PhD programs) to complete mandatory progress reporting for each academic year.

In compliance with this policy, all students must meet with their supervisor(s) at the beginning of each academic year in face-to-face meetings to complete a GPS Graduate Student Research Progress Tracking Form which can be found on the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies website.  Once completed, all forms must include the signature of the student and supervisor(s). In the case of PhD students only, their forms must also include an additional signature of a Supervisory Committee Member who was included in the face-to-face meeting to review the student progress. When completing forms prior to the establishment of a Doctoral Supervisory Committee, a program representative from ECP may also sit in of these meeting to review progress.

The GPS Graduate Student Research Progress Tracking Forms are to be submitted no later than the September 30th of each year.* Copies should be kept by both parties. A high quality colour scan is to be submitted in one of two ways:

  1. for students in MA/MEd Non-Thesis Project Concentrations or those admitted to thesis programs in Fall 2016 or earlier are required to submit via email to to the student’s program email account by the deadline (see program emails below);
  2. for thesis program students admitted in Fall 2017 or later may now upload the form via myProgress  (PDF icon myProgress Milestones Document Upload Instructions. The Department support staff will ensure the at the GPS Graduate Student Research Progress Tracking Form is reviewed and approved by the Graduate Program Director.

Students are to review each year’s previous report during their annual face-to-face meetings with their supervisor (and other unit representative in the case of PhDs), in order to assess the student’s progress towards objectives and goals, and to set the upcoming academic year’s goals. In the event that a student may not be progressing according to the objectives set out in the “Graduate Student Progress Report”, interim meetings should be held to review any issues that have arisen.

The GPS Graduate Student Research Progress Tracking Form, along with policies and detailed instructions related to completing this form, can be found on the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies website.

*Please note: Certain programs require separate program-specific Annual/Progress Reports that are to be completed by the student and their supervisor that may be required in addition to the GPS form above. 

ECP Social Media Policy

Thoughtful and intentional engagement on social media can serve as an important complement to academic and professional development. Accordingly, students are strongly encouraged to determine how they can best balance the benefits of sharing, self-disclosure, and community engagement with the potential adverse consequences of violating the privacy of others, breaching codes of conduct, or having your beliefs and opinions misrepresented online. The goal is to communicate online as thoughtfully as we communicate in person.

  1. Thoughtful professional engagement
    Students who use social networking sites (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) and other forms of online communication should be mindful of how their communication may be perceived by colleagues, faculty, professional organizations, and the public. Each student should make every effort to minimize sharing text or visual content that may be deemed inappropriate by the university and one’s professional associations. Simply taking a few seconds before posting to re-read, edit, or save for later posting (e.g., after consultation) can help you better spot potentially problematic content and avoid adverse repercussions.
  2. Professional vs. personal accounts
    Social media and networking sites can be valuable to establishing a professional development network. Creating separate accounts for personal and professional use is strongly recommended for students in professional degree programs. However, as nothing posted online is ever truly private (e.g., screenshots being reposted by others), students are strongly encouraged to think about how posts from personal accounts may affect them professionally. Students should exercise reasonable caution when posting on personal accounts to not violate McGill policies for student conduct and not risk employment or professional complications with affiliated organizations.
  3. Reviewing privacy settings
    Students in all programs are strongly encouraged to review the privacy settings for their social media accounts to ensure they are aware of what content is visible to others and who specifically is permitted to view their content (e.g., posts, images). Students should avoid posting information, photos, or using language that could jeopardize their academic standing and may wish to set their security settings to “private” (e.g., Facebook) to increase protections for personal information shared (e.g., family photos). Caution is also recommended when posting on anonymized or personal accounts given the potential for unintentional self-identification or identification by others (doxing).
  4. Developing professional vs. personal voices
    Social media can be an excellent tool for building a professional network and personal brand as well as provide a meaningful connection to online communities of support and shared interests. Creating separate accounts (e.g., on separate platforms) may be helpful in allowing you to tailor content on a specific account to a specific audience. Sharing separate content to your professional vs. private online communities can often help to avoid oversharing and facilitate creating more meaningful interactions with each community.

    Professional voice: Professional accounts are useful for conveying content that is primarily reflective of your professional endeavors and consist of communities (followers, accounts you follow) having a shared interest in this content. Such accounts may be used to convey academic or professional interests and avoid nonprofessional content including, but not limited to, politics, family, religion, relationships, and hobbies that may be more suitable to personal or anonymous accounts. As these topics may result in academic or professional conflicts when posted on public self-identified accounts (e.g., via screenshots), students are strongly advised to develop clear guidelines as to the types of content to be addressed (and not addressed) on one’s professional account (e.g., as informed by professional association guidelines). Although discussions of socially important issues (e.g., politics, public policy) can be a meaningful avenue for engagement on professional accounts, students are advised to limit their online participation concerning such issues to topics related to their disciplinary expertise and consider their postings to reflect their documented professional opinion on the topic.

    Personal voice: Private and anonymous accounts are typically less restrictive with respect to content (e.g., politics, family, religion, relationships, hobbies, and work) and tend to consist mainly of communities with similar nonprofessional interests, family, and friends. However, it is important to remember that content posted on a personal account may nonetheless reflect on you as a student and professional if the content becomes public. Personal accounts may often convey information about yourself (accurate or otherwise) due to content that is shared by members of the community (e.g., posts/pictures in which you are tagged by a friend). Even if you did not share it, online content can still reflect on you professionally. To build a community of consent, please ask others’ permission before tagging them in online posts and review your privacy settings as they apply to being tagged by others.
  5. Consider power dynamics
    When serving as a teaching assistant, instructor, supervisor, researcher, or practitioner, you are in an unequal power dynamic with others. An opinion you share about another student or research participant thus can have significant implications for both yourself and these individuals. It is your responsibility to consider this power differential in your social media use. When serving in a position of power in affiliation with the university, social media posts about other students or those over whom you have influence is not permitted. Students are also discouraged from using personal accounts to follow or interact with students whom they currently teach or supervise in a personal capacity on social media (i.e., beyond academic engagement as outlined in approved curricula). Please note that failure to follow the above social media guidelines can place a student in violation of ethical or conflict of interest standards for McGill policies and/or professional associations and may result in disciplinary action or program dismissal.

NOTE: For social media policies specific to ECP students in professional programs (School Psychology, Counselling Psychology), please refer to the corresponding professional program handbook.

Program Contact Email Accounts

For questions related to your specific programs, please use the following email accounts:

  • Counselling Psychology students: [at] (subject: GPS%20Graduate%20Student%20Research%20Progress%20Tracking%20Form)
  • School Psychology students: [at] (subject: GPS%20Graduate%20Student%20Research%20Tracking%20Form)
  • Human Development, Learning Sciences and Master of Education Project Concentration students: [at] (subject: GPS%20Graduate%20Student%20Research%20Tracking%20Form)
Back to top