Policies, guidelines and advice

McGill policies relevant to supervision and graduate studies can be found on the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies webpage, particularly the McGill Regulations on for Graduate Student Supervision which lists the official expectations of supervisors and who can be a co-supervisor.

See below for more detailed links to McGill-specific information, policies from governing organizations, as well as guidelines and advice from other universities.


General policies: McGill

In addition to the Regulations on Graduate Student Supervision, there are several documents listed below which provide important guiding principles applicable to supervisors and students.

The University Regulations and Resources - Graduate page contains detailed information on many aspects of graduate studies including:

The Student Rights and Responsibilities page contains detailed information on both personal and academic rights and responsibilities, including those related to research supervision.


General policies: National associations and governing organizations

The Canadian Association for Graduate Studies have created guiding principles for graduate student supervision, as well as evidence-based strategies for supervisors and students.

The ministerial statement on quality assurance of degree education in Canada provides details on the characteristics of bachelor's, Master's and doctorate degrees and can help in distinguishing the expectations for each.

As a member institution of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC), McGill has pledged its commitment to the AUCC principles of institutional quality assurance in Canadian higher education. Quality assurance and accountability of McGill programs are ensured through cyclical academic unit reviews in accordance with the framework established by the Conference of Rectors and Principals of Universities of Quebec (CREPUQ). CREPUQ is a member of the International Network for Quality Assurance Agencies in Higher Education.


Resources from other universities

This website was adapted from the University of Oxford's research supervision website. Additional resources from the University of Oxford include:

The University of Western Ontario's guide to graduate supervision describes characteristics of effective supervision, and provides documents for reflection on expectations and roles in the appendix.

Queen's University's Graduate Supervision Handbook includes information on roles and responsibilities, authorship, and conflict resolution. Queen's also has an informative document on maintaining motivation in graduate school

The University of British Columbia's handbook of graduate supervision contains information on roles and responsibilities of students and supervisors, time management and common challenges.

The University of Washington provides guides on mentoring for both students and faculty, as well as short 'mentor memos' on topics such as motivation, conference presentations and collaboration.

The University of Auckland's self-help options for dealing with problems in supervision provides suggestions for reflection on perceived problems, considering action options, and facilitating problem-related discussion.


Degree timelines: From recruiting students to graduation

Recruiting and selecting students

Depending on your department or program, students may look for supervisors before being admitted into a graduate studies program. Here are some resources relevant to recruiting and selecting supervisees, and can also be used to help supervisees learn what supervisors are looking for.


Starting out

Prospective and new students should familiarize themselves with the information on McGill's Future Graduate Students website, which has information on the graduate experience, connecting with a supervisor, and the application process. Information about McGill orientation can be found here.

Keeping in touch with McGill news can be helpful for new students, as well as current students and faculty- see the research and international relations page, newsroom, and social media. The Grad Life blog is a great place to get real stories about what grad school is like from current students. 

Information on registration and courses can be found on the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies' registration and courses page.

Information for postdocs can be found on the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies' postdocs page.



  • The most up-to-date Regulations on Graduate Student Research Progress Tracking and Graduate Student Research Progress Tracking Form are on the GPS website



The Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies' thesis guidelines page provides detailed information on all relevant topics including:

Are you a thesis examiner? McGill's PhD and Master's examiners reports and these definitions of originality, significance, and quality from the University of Oxford may be helpful.



Information on on graduation can be found on the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies' graduation page. Be sure to follow the time limitation policy.



Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies offers information on funding for graduate students, postdocs and faculty including:

The Graduate Fellowships and Awards Calendar lists many funding opportunities within McGill, including departmental awards and travel awards. The Scholarships and Student Aid page provides information on McGill financial aid, government aid and financial advice.

Not sure about the difference between a student stipend and research assistantship? Check out this link.

For information on some external funding sources, see:


Academic integrity and research ethics

McGill offers a variety of resources and learning opportunities on the topics of academic integrity and research ethics, including:

In case of research misconduct, the Research Integrity Officer at the Office of the Vice-Principal Research and International Relations is available for consultations based on the Regulations concerning investigation of research misconduct.

Additional information on academic integrity and research ethics can be found at the following links.



McGill strives to ensure equity across students and faculty. The Social Equity and Diversity (SEDE) office is a great resource on this topic, which conducts a variety of equity projects and offers training on diversity issues.

Policies and laws regarding diversity and related topics such as harassment can be found on the SEDE's policies and law page and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Here are some additional resources on diversity from McGill and beyond:



Research on bias and assumptions compiled by The University of Wisconsin provides empirical evidence of bias in academic contexts and suggestions to reduce bias

McGill International Student Services

SEDE's race and cultural diversity page

The University of Western Ontario's Guide to Mentoring Graduate Students Across Cultures

The Canadian Education Association and the Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion, which have special interests in race, ethnicity and education.

The Universities Scotland's Race equality toolkit and the University of Oxford's ideas to help international students.



Statistics Canada's Canadian postsecondary enrolments and graduates provides information of gender ratios in postsecondary education.

The Council of Canadian Academies has a useful resource that address gender issues about the gender dimension in Canadian academia.

Engineers Canada and the Society for Canadian Women in Science and Technology have sections of their websites directed to gender.



Statistics Canada's Trends in the age composition of college and university students and graduates.

An article entitled Challenging ageism in the academy published by the Canadian Association for University Teachers in its bulletin.


Sexual orientation

McGill's Sexual Identity Centre, part of the McGill University Health Centre

McGill's Equity Subcommittee on Queer People, which focuses on the history of changes at McGill related to sexual orientation and associated policies.

SEDE's LGBTTQ* page.


Religion and belief

McGill's Office of Religious and Spiritual Life.

McGill's Policy for the Accommodation of Religious Holy Days is to ensure that the University provides an environment in which its students can fulfill both their university and religious commitments.

McGill's Pluralism, Religion and Public Policy project.



McGill's Office for Students with Disabilities.

The Library's resources for clients with disabilities.


Pregnancy and parenting

McGill's Leave of absence & vacation policy.

McGill's Resources for students with children.

Canada's Employment insurance and parental benefits.

SEDE's family care page.


There may be faculty- or department-specific information that is relevant to your supervisory relationship. These lists of faculties and schools, graduate program contacts, and partners and centres can help you find this information.