The Graduate Program Director’s roles and responsibilities include:

  • Advising students on course selection and program requirements
  • Providing general advice concerning students’ studies and future career advancement
  • Advising students on their choice of Principal Advisor and Supervisory Committee
  • Serving as a mediator in case of problems between students and their supervisors
  • Being knowledgeable about program requirements, the composition of committees, the procedures for the thesis and the oral defense examination, and other policies related to graduate studies
  • Establishing and meeting regularly with the Graduate Program Committee
  • Overseeing and reporting on the progress of graduate students to the Associate Vice President, Research and Dean, Graduate Studies
  • Establishing program-based dates and deadlines, particularly regarding the Major Research Project/Paper and Thesis, and being sensitive to students’ graduation deadlines
  • Overseeing space administration and allocations
  • Chairing the Admissions and Scholarships Committee for the program
  • Leadership in curriculum, faculty teaching assignments, and periodic review of the program


Except in the case of Graduate Diploma programs, each student will work with a Principal Advisor, and in some programs a Supervisory Committee, to guide his/her program of study and culminating Thesis or Major Research Paper/Project (MRP). Members of the Supervisory Committee must be appointed members of OCAD U’s Graduate Faculty.

Supervisors advise students on all aspects of their graduate work. The advising process is monitored by the Office of Graduate Studies and the Graduate Program Director. To ensure that all students are treated equitably, any questions or problems with the advising process should be addressed to the Graduate Program Director.

All Principal Advisors and Supervisory Committee members are expected to contribute to the progress and development of the graduate student on a regular basis throughout the graduate student’s residency period. The following basic principles should apply:

  • Regular meetings—not less than once per semester (more frequent contact is strongly encouraged)
  • Timely review of submitted material
  • Adequate notice of prolonged absence
  • Adequate notice of impending deadlines
  • Courteous, respectful, and clear communication


As a graduate student at OCAD U, you will assume a number of roles, which may include:

Student: By taking courses and conducting research, you will gain new skills and knowledge that will help you complete your degree and contribute to society through your work after graduation, whether this is inside or outside academia.

Researcher: As a graduate student, you will be responsible for contributing original research to your field. This means you will be responsible for designing and carrying out a research project.

Research Assistant (RA): During your graduate career, you may hold a paid position supporting an OCAD U faculty member’s research.

Teaching Assistant (TA): You may have the opportunity to be a teaching assistant, whereby you will lead undergraduate discussion seminars or studio classes or otherwise participate in undergraduate teaching. Teaching will provide valuable experience, especially if you want to pursue a career in academia. It also can be a valuable source of funding.

Member of the broader academic community: By participating in conferences, collaborating on research, publishing, etc., you make yourself a part of the broader academic community, both within and outside OCAD U.

Graduate students at OCAD U also have rights and responsibilities including:

  • Keeping informed of and working within program requirements and deadlines.
  • Communicating regularly with your Principal Advisor and (when applicable) your Supervisory Committee members.
  • Setting up regular appointments with your Principal Advisor and when applicable, your Supervisory Committee.
  • Being treated with respect by your Principal Advisor, Supervisory Committee, other faculty, students and OCAD U staff.
  • Conducting graduate work free from harassment by any member of the OCAD U community.
  • Having sufficient access to your Principal Advisor and, when applicable, members of your Supervisory Committee so that you are able to complete your program requirements in a timely fashion. Adequate accessibility means that you can expect scheduled meetings to take place, phone calls and emails to be returned, adequate meeting time, and reasonable turnaround time for getting comments on your written work.
  • Communicating openly with your supervisor(s) in the event that your working relationship or other aspects of your graduate program need to be discussed or renegotiated.
  • Discussing problems with your Supervisor(s) without fear of retribution.
  • Changing Principal Advisors if you are unsatisfied with your student - supervisor relationship, decide to pursue another area of study, or for any other valid reason. (Please note that changing supervisors is subject to approval by the Graduate Program Director and may only take place within established deadlines).
  • Treating your Principal Advisor, Supervisory Committee, members of your department and faculty, other students and staff of OCAD U offices with respect.
  • Keeping informed of and working within program requirements and deadlines.
  • Communicating regularly with your Principal Advisor and (when applicable) your Supervisory Committee members.