School of Graduate Studies

School of Graduate Studies
School of Graduate Studies

Graduate Supervision

Graduate Supervision

Working closely with a supervisor in the development of a research project is an integral part of most degrees.

Clear understanding of expectations can help maintain the productivity of this essential relationship. Queen's offers several resources to help you manage this important relationship, including handbooks and advisory services.

Work with your supervisor to envision a research project that matters to you and your field, and that reflects the form of scholarship you wish to pursue. You can get some inspiration by reading some example theses, dissertations and culminating projects.


Graduate Supervision Policy – Invitation for Community Feedback

The School of Graduate Studies is seeking feedback on the Draft Graduate Supervision Policy (PDF 282KB).  

The purpose of the policy is to outline the roles and responsibilities of graduate students and faculty members, leave procedures, and conflict resolution process related to academic supervision. It pertains to all members of the Queen’s graduate community who are stakeholders in graduate supervision including: graduate students registered in research-based graduate programs, graduate academic supervisors, members of supervisory committees, graduate programs, and the School of Graduate Studies. Note, the policy focuses exclusively on supervision of graduate students’ academic activities (e.g., thesis/dissertation research) in relation to program degree completion and not employment related supervision.

In response to a joint Board and Senate Retreat in March 2018, the Working Group on Graduate Student Success was established to investigate the state of graduate training and current graduate student environment across the University. The Working Group released a final report in 2019, which provided a number of recommendations, one of which included the development of “a graduate supervisory policy based on current School of Graduate Studies (SGS) guidelines, keeping in-line with U15 policies on supervision." The report found that while the majority of graduate students are satisfied with their supervision, there are also areas of inconsistency and challenge. Both graduate students and supervisors have advocated for the creation of a formal policy given the central role supervision plays in graduate student learning. It is vital that both students and faculty members are well supported in this key area of graduate education.

In Fall 2020, the SGS constructed the Draft Graduate Supervision Policy after broad consultation with university partners, including:

  • Graduate Studies Executive Council
  • Centre for Teaching and Learning
  • Society for Graduate and Professional Students
  • Queen’s University Faculty Association
  • Faculty Relations
  • Human Rights and Equity Office
  • Queen’s University International Centre
  • Ban Righ Centre
  • Four Directions Indigenous Student Centre
  • Student Wellness Services
  • Queen’s Senior Leadership Team
  • Office of the Vice-Principal (Research)
  • Policy Advisory Subcommittee

This policy is intended to set university-wide expectations for supervision in order to facilitate supervisory success. The SGS now seeks feedback on the draft policy from the Queen’s graduate community: students, faculty, and staff. 

To provide feedback, please review the policy (PDF 282 KB) and provide feedback via this anonymous survey

Feedback will be accepted during the open consultation period from April 5, 2021 to April 30, 2021.

Handbooks and Workshops

The School of Graduate Studies has created the Guide to Graduate Supervision (PDF, 485 KB), which offers graduate students, faculty, and other departmental members the guidelines needed to foster productive working relationships between supervisors and graduate students. Additionally, you may wish to review the SGS Productive Supervisory Relationship guide (PDF, 962KB) on discussing expectations with your supervisor.

The Student Wellness Office has created the Supervisory Relationships (PDF, 2.08 MB) booklet for students that provides you with guidance and helpful tips about how to make the most of your supervisory relationship.

Expanding Horizons provides workshops on communication and interpersonal skills that help you to build and manage your relationship with your supervisor.

Advisory Programs and Counseling

Sometimes, problems arise with your supervisor. If this happens, try to seek help as early as possible. The SGS Habitat offers information on resources available on campus to ensure you get the guidance and support you need.