Women & Gender Studies Institute

Advising/Supervising Process


The potential student’s initial contacts with WGSI are usually with the Graduate Coordinator and the Graduate Administrator. Opening conversations and e-mails focus on whether the student is prepared for the Ph.D. program and whether supervision can be provided for the intended area of study. During the application process the conversation may expand to include professors whose research interests are similar to those of the applicant. Incoming students will be provisionally assigned a Supervisor, or Co-Supervisors, chosen on the basis of expertise in the student’s stated area of scholarly interest. A student will normally work with the Supervisor(s) throughout the programme of study.  Either the student or the Supervisor(s) may initiate a change, if they believe that a change is in the student’s best interest. Normally, the student and Supervisor(s) would have the first conversation about a change; one or both may then approach the Graduate Coordinator for assistance in effecting any change.

In the first weeks of the first year, the student will meet with the Supervisor and the Graduate Coordinator to discuss the student’s program of study; both must sign off on the student’s proposed program of study. At the end of each year, the student will meet with the Supervisor to complete an annual progress report. By the end of the first year, the student will also constitute a Comprehensive Exam Committee consisting of the Supervisor and two other faculty members for the purpose of defining and conducting examinations in one major field and one minor field. During the second year, the student will also constitute a Dissertation Committee consisting of the Supervisor and at least two other faculty members, which may or may not be the same committee as the Comprehensive Exam Committee.  The Dissertation Committee will be responsible for approving the student’s dissertation proposal and reading and evaluating the dissertation itself. It is recommended that the student and the Supervisor begin to construct the Dissertation Committee in January of the second year; in order that the dissertation proposal may be reviewed well before the June 1st deadline. Students are required to meet with the members of their Dissertation Committee at least once a year to establish that they are making satisfactory progress in the programme.  Students should plan to submit drafts of their dissertation to their Supervisor(s), and potentially to other committee members, for comments before officially submitting the final version.