The Graduate Program

 

 

The ISGP Faculty Advisory Committee (FAC) is a cross-disciplinary committee with representatives from the faculties of Applied Science, Arts, Education, Forestry, Land and Food Systems, Medicine, Business, and Science. The major role of the FAC is to ensure the continued high quality and integrity of the graduate programs in the ISGP. The FAC helps to set priorities, procedures, and direction for the ISGP program.

Coursework is decided in consultation between the student and their Co-supervisors, and is intended to increase student's knowledge on the research subject matter.

Committee Meetings

The student is strongly advised to form their Supervisory Committee by the end of their second term, after enrolling in the degree. The Committee must be approved by the fourth term of study.

ISGP Annual Progress Report is required from the student by June 30th of each academic year. Regular contact between students and their committees is strongly encouraged.

"A comprehensive examination is normally held after completion of all required course work, and intended to test the student’s grasp of the chosen field of study as a whole. The Candidate’s Committee will set and judge this examination in a manner compatible with the policy of the department concerned. A department may require a formal examination of the thesis before it is transmitted to the Faculty of Graduate Studies for Final Oral Examination."

-- Required Examinations Ph.D., UBC Calendar.

There is no general requirement of a comprehensive examination in the case of Master’s degree with thesis. Comprehensive exams are mandatory for Ph.D. programs. In order to advance to candidacy, students must also defend a thesis proposal.

Examples of Exam Formats:

  • 2-4 formal written examinations, 3-4 hours each, followed by an oral exam
  • 1-2 longer examinations, 4-5 hours, open book or closed, along with oral exam
  • 1 or more take-home examinations, followed by oral submission of article or articles
  • oral defense of a written thesis proposal

Some Advice:

  • Use the administration of the examination and the preparation to promote and extend the interdisciplinary nature of your program
  • Urge your committee to meet face-to-face to discuss the format of the exam(s), in particular, how they can be created and administered to enhance the transcending of disciplinary boundaries
  • Resist any inclination to have the exams formatted along disciplinary lines (i.e. one paper on Physics, one on Fine Arts); similarly, resist the tendency to have each member of the committee prepare a discrete exam in her/his own area
  • Demand an oral examination, and use the opportunity to encourage your committee members (once again) to exchange ideas.

ISGP encourages students, in collaboration with the members of their supervisory committee, to explore innovative comprehensive examinations. These should combine appropriateness to the course of study and research topic, the qualifications of both graduate and committee, and intellectual rigour. Usually, this will involve more or less written and oral presentation, and study directed toward reinforcing areas of the graduate’s knowledge or material in preparation for the problems or issues to be considered in the thesis topic research.

Students are advised to present options for the consideration of their supervisory committee which demonstrate their knowledge of their research and related subject areas and which may best exploit the expertise of the supervisory committee in relation to the thesis topic. Students are encouraged to establish with their committee early something of the format and topic areas of the exams.These examinations can be assigned over a period of time or on a particular date according to the negotiated decision of the graduate and their supervisory committee.

Students should also have the Chair of their committee report in writing to the ISGP—as early as possible—the form their exams will take.

Once the Comprehensive Exams are completed and the prospectus is approved by the student's Committee, their Supervisor is required to complete the Faculty of Graduate Studies "Recommendation for Advancement to Candidacy" form provided on the Faculty of Graduate Studies website. The form should then be sent to the ISGP Office for the ISGP Chair's review and signature, prior to being submitted to Graduate Studies for processing.

Master's
There is no oral exam. Normally, the supervisor and one other member of the committee read the thesis and submit the Master's Thesis Approval form. The student then submits thesis to cIRcle (UBC's Information Repository) to complete/close program.

Doctoral
An oral defence is required. Normally, the examining committee consists of one external examiner, two examiners from the supervisory committee and two university examiners. The Chair of the committee may also participate.

The Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies regulations provide for a three-month lead time for the selection of an External Examiner and provide further that the External Examiner will have at least six weeks to review the thesis.

Giving as much lead time as possible, the Chair of the student’s supervisory committee should fill out a Nomination of External Examiner Form and submit it to the ISGP for signature. The form will then be directed to Graduate Studies for processing.