Comité de thèses

The Role of the Thesis Advisory Committee

  1. Monitor progress of the student in the program and academic performance 
  2. Provide guidance on the conduct of the research project.
  3. Discuss and approve the student's Thesis Proposal. 
  4. To provide the Graduate Studies Director and Graduate Studies Committee with advice and recommendations regarding the student's progress in the program, and for transfer from the M.Sc. program to Ph.D. program through the completion and submission of an annual report (TAC report) after each meeting, which will be shown to the student and kept in his/her file. The report includes: 
    1. a rating of the student progress and performance (satisfactory or not satisfactory)
    2.  written comments on the student progress and performance

Composition of the Committee

The Thesis Advisory Committee (TAC) is established by the Supervisor in consultation with the student. The committee should consist of professors knowledgeable in the areas important to the research proposal who can provide useful feedback to the student on their project and can evaluate progress in the area of research.

For the M.Sc. program, the TAC is composed of the supervisor, and at least two other faculty members, including at least one from the CMM Program.

For the Ph.D. program, the TAC is composed of the supervisor and at least three other faculty members, including at least one from the CMM Program.

Once the TAC committee has been selected, the proposed committee is recorded on the Nomination of Thesis Advisory Committee Members form and submitted to the Graduate Program Director for approval.

Frequency of Meetings

M.Sc. students

The first meeting must be within four (4) months of initial registration. At least one week prior to the meeting, students must submit to members of the committee a Research Proposal (see Writing a Research Proposal in this document for guidelines). At this first meeting of the TAC, the student is expected to explain the research proposal and to demonstrate appropriate knowledge of the field of study.

The 2nd meeting and all subsequent meetings must be held annually and within the same semester (Fall, Winter or Spring) of the first TAC meeting. As such, TAC meeting are held every twelve months. Failure to schedule your TAC meeting on time can result in registration conditions.

For annual TAC meetings, at least one week prior to the meeting, students must submit to members of the committee a Progress Report (see Writing a Progress Report in this document for guidelines) that outlines your plan of action for completion of the degree. You should also bring a copy of your last TAC report.

Additional TAC meetings may be scheduled if deemed required by the TAC committee, or by a student seeking permission to write the thesis.

Ph.D. Students

The first meeting must be within five (5) months of initial registration. At least one week prior to the meeting, students must submit to members of the committee a Research Proposal (see Writing a Research Proposal in this document for guidelines). At this first meeting of the TAC, the student is expected to explain the research proposal and to demonstrate appropriate knowledge of the field of study.

The second meeting must occur within 12 months of the initial TAC meeting and subsequent meetings within one year of the last meeting. At least one week prior to the meeting, students must submit to members of the committee a Progress Report and a copy of the last Advisory Committee report.

Additional TAC meetings may be scheduled if deemed required by the TAC committee, or by a student seeking permission to write the thesis.

Writing a Research Proposal

These guidelines are intended to help students write the research proposal for their first Advisory Committee meeting. These guidelines do not apply for the progress report or the research proposal for the transfer from M.Sc. to Ph.D. program.  The research proposal must be submitted a minimum of 1 week prior to the Advisory Committee meeting.

Format: There are no page limits for the Research Proposal, but in general 10-12 single-spaced pages excluding figures and references should be sufficient.

Part 1: Introduction 

The Introduction must include a review of the pertinent literature and a critical evaluation of previous studies. The last part of your Introduction must clearly lead to the problems or questions you intend to study (the rationale). The Introduction is expected to be between 2-3 pages. 

Part 2: Objectives and Hypothesis 

The research proposal must include a hypothesis and the experimental objectives. These should be clear and concise. 

Part 3: Research Plan

Describe the experimental approach you intend to use to test your hypotheses. Describe in general the experimental conditions (e.g. drugs to be used, time of exposure, specific conditions that animals are exposed to) and the techniques to be used.  The Research plan is expected to be between 2-3 pages. 

Part 4: Results

If preliminary data are available, then present them as it is done in a manuscript to be submitted. That is, describe briefly and concisely your data in a "Results" section. Figures and tables must be added at the end of the proposal. Each table and figure must have a legend. The legend must briefly describe the methods used. Do not describe the results in the legends. If preliminary data are not available, then briefly describe the results that are expected. 

Part 5: Conclusion

A short paragraph that summarizes the objectives and significance of the research in terms of new knowledge to the field.

Writing a Progress Report

A progress report is a short document outlining your experimental progress since your last TAC meeting. It should be no longer than 5 single-spaced pages (not including figures or references) that includes a brief introduction to your research project, your hypothesis and experimental aims, and your results since your last meeting. It is appropriate to add also a plan of action for the upcoming year, highlighting the critical next experiments that you will concentrate on. Remember that you will make a brief presentation during your TAC and are available to remind your committee about any past experimental progress. Concentrate on the new.

Meeting Procedures

TAC meetings have a standard format. The following is a guide to help you prepare for this meeting.

    Preamble

    The members, if they wish, can have a short discussion before the meeting starts in the absence of the student. This meeting should be brief.

    Presentation by the Student

    When it is a research proposal, the student should present a short summary of his/her research proposal, a description of the hypotheses and experimental approaches and any preliminary data (if available) as well as their significance. When it is a progress report, the student then presents a summary of the hypotheses, his/her results obtained so far and their significance, describes future experiments (if any), and describes any changes in the research project from the previous meeting.

    Discussion

    During or after the presentation, the members of the Advisory Committee, can ask questions regarding the student's progress, can ask questions to assess the student’s depth and breadth of knowledge, can ask questions regarding the significance of the experimental procedures and results, can ask questions regarding his/her future experimental plans. TAC members are encouraged to challenge students in regards to the significance of the results. It is also very important that the committee members point out the strong and weak aspects of the student’s progress. Members should not hesitate to propose new approaches if they feel that the project has potential pitfalls. 

    Advisory Committee Report

    Following the Discussion, the student is invited to leave the room. Members discuss the student progress.  This is the time when the Advisory committee report is written and signed by all members of the Committee. The supervisor can then fill his part before he/she submits the report to his/her student. It is the responsibility of the graduate student to read the report, fill in the last section, sign his/her name and submit the report to the Graduate Program Academic Administrative Officer in room 2016.  Reports are kept in the student’s file.  

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