PhD Program

Supervisory Committee and Research Supervisor


The program of each student is overseen by a committee of no fewer than 4 committee members (normally at least at the rank of Associate Professor), one of which is the student’s Research Supervisor. One of the committee members (not the supervisor) should be designated as the chairperson. This role will apply to the supervisory committee and also to the Examining Committee.

The supervisor provides academic guidance directed toward the completion of Ph.D. dissertation of high quality, and assists with the financial planning associated with the program. In case of absence from the campus of a month or more, the supervisor must appoint an acting supervisor for each of his/her Ph.D. candidates.


The research supervisor or a co-supervisor must be a full-time, regular faculty (at least at the rank of Assistant professor) or associate faculty member in the School. Emeritus or Associate faculty are normally required to appoint a full-time regular or associate faculty member as a co-supervisor.

Supervisory Committee

Other members of the supervisory committee are nominated by the student’s supervisor. The Chair must be an Associate Member or Core Faculty of SBME. The Chair role will apply to the Supervisory Committee and also to the Comprehensive Examining Committee. The Chair of the Committee is responsible for ensuring the graduate project is grounded in the design components of biomedical engineering (see Appendix: SBME Thesis Guidelines). The committee should be as diverse as possible, including faculty members with primary appointments in Faculty of Medicine and the Faculty of Applied Science. At least 50% of the members of the supervisory committee must be members of The Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.

The supervisory committee membership may include senior instructors, honorary faculty, adjunct faculty, off campus professionals as well as faculty members from other universities. A request for approval for these members submitted to the Dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies must include a copy of the individual’s curriculum vitae and a letter from the graduate program supervisor.

Students must submit their Supervisory Committee proposal form within 8 months of starting their program. The form must be submitted on CANVAS. Form: SBME Supervisory Committee Approval Form April 2023. If you are not currently enrolled SBME Graduate Advising Canvas course, please contact SBME Student Services.

Annual Meetings

It is required that the supervisory committees meet regularly, at least once a year, to ensure student’s progress. Annual meetings require 3 people (of which the supervisor is one). If a committee member cannot attend, they will organize a one-on-one meeting with the student. The majority of cases with a very difficult doctoral examination or extended completion time occur when there are not regular meetings with the supervisory committee.

Expectations Document

All incoming MASc and PhD students and their supervisors will be given a set of expectation documents. Students are required to meet with their supervisors at the onset of their program to discuss the roles, responsibilities, and expectations of both student and supervisor.

Supervisors of students with program start dates prior to September 2018 are encouraged to use this document as well to facilitate a discussion on the graduate student-supervisor relationship.