Find a Thesis Supervisor

Faculty of Graduate Studies

Find a Thesis Supervisor

In search of a supervisor

Finding the right supervisor will lead you to one of the most important relationships of your academic life. Think of it as a research project in itself.

The search begins with you. Do you have a good sense of your research and scholarships interests. Do you have a thesis area/topic in mind?

You need to narrow down what it is you want to do and then begin looking for the supervisor who best matches your academic and research profile.

Click here for links to faculty lists of each of our graduate programs.
Some programs provide lists that indicate those faculty members who are accepting new graduate students to supervise.

If you need to find out more about the availability of faculty for supervision, contact the graduate program director within the program that you are interested in.

As you review faculty profiles, some questions to keep in mind

• Compare your interests with a potential supervisor:

- research area and expertise: do you share common ground; is the researcher involved in collaborative projects
- publishing record and conference presentations: are they active in their fields and valued for their contributions; are they sharing their research and interacting with other experts in their fields; do they encourage their students to attend conferences and submit proposals for presentations

• Other criteria to consider:

- research facilities and resources: will you be able to access the best available equipment and resources that you require
- lab training: is the supervisor available to help you become proficient with lab processes, practices and operations
- the supervisor’s track record in graduate education: how many students has this individual supervised; what is the completion time for students
- funding: does the supervisor have existing grants that provide possible funding for graduate students

Make contact with potential supervisors

Of course, research profiles and websites can only tell you so much. It’s important that you make direct contact with potential supervisors. A face-to-face meeting, either live or virtual, is best and gives you an opportunity to see the research environment that you may be working in.

As well, it’s important for both of you to speak directly about expectations, and to have a candid conversation about your compatability to work together.

You will also want to speak with others — faculty colleagues and graduate students — for their experiences in working with a potential supervisor.

If an onsite visit isn’t possible, arrange to talk by phone or by SKYPE. Be prepared with a list of questions and issues that you would like to discuss during the conversation.

A quick list of ideal supervisor qualities:

- a mentor
- someone who will challenge you
- someone who values independence
- someone who will nurture self-sufficiency
- enjoys teamwork
- is respectful of your goals
- will advance your academic, career and professional goals