Part 8: Thesis Route

Thesis Supervisors

Note: The following policies and guidelines apply to both Thesis Supervisors and Co-Supervisors.

Criteria for Thesis Supervisors

Thesis Supervisors must:

  • Be members of the SGS
  • Have a record of distinguished and ongoing scholarly research
  • Be currently active in a research area broadly related to the student’s research interest
  • Possess research expertise in the student’s research area

Role & Responsibilities of a Thesis Supervisor

In general, the role of the Thesis Supervisor is to act as both an academic mentor, and an evaluator of the student’s performance. The Thesis Supervisor must provide professional guidance and help the student acquire the skills and knowledge necessary to plan and conduct original research.

The Thesis Supervisor’s responsibilities include:


  • Make a commitment to supervise the student throughout his or her program

Mentorship & Respect

  • Give the student ongoing guidance on expected academic standards and the nature of research
  • Be open and accessible to the student
  • Give the student advice and constructive criticism, in support of high academic standards
  • Respect the student as a junior colleague in research
  • Acknowledge the student’s contributions to presentations and publications, including joint authorship if appropriate
  • Respect the University of Lethbridge’s policies on intellectual property and the ownership of data and information

Regulations & Requirements

  • Share with the student at the start of the program, the expectations of the Thesis Supervisor, the program, and the SGS
  • Ensure all SGS and program regulations and requirements are met, including those related to coursework, funding, thesis examination, and thesis oral defence


  • Keep in contact with the student and meet with the student and other members of the Thesis Supervisory Committee according to the program requirements
  • Hold regular progress and standing meetings to evaluate student progress and report on progress to the SGS
  • Notify the student and Thesis Supervisory Committee members of any anticipated change and subsequent approved change of the structure of the MN Program Committee by the SGS


  • In consultation with the student, establish a realistic work schedule for the program with specific milestones;
  • Fulfill all duties related to completing the Statement of Progress and Standing
  • Help ensure there are sufficient financial and material resources to perform the research and support the student. Where required, write statements of commitment of financial support for the student
  • Ensure the student has adequate supervision at all times during the program

Research Environment

  • Help ensure an environment conducive to research and intellectual growth
  • Help ensure a research environment free from harassment, discrimination, and conflict


If a conflict arises between the student and the Thesis Supervisor that cannot be resolved by discussion between both parties, then the student or faculty member contacts the MN Program Committee Chair. If the conflict cannot be resolved at that level, the student or faculty member contacts the SGS Dean who will attempt to resolve the problem through mediation and discussion.

If the student or Thesis Supervisor is unable or unwilling to continue in the student/supervisor relationship, the MN Program Committee Chair will endeavor to find alternate supervisory arrangements.

Selecting and Appointing the Thesis Supervisor

If the student is opting for the thesis route, he or she must commence the process of finding a faculty member in Nursing from the Faculty of Health Sciences as the Thesis Supervisor by the end of the first semester. To begin this process, the student should review the faculty profile section of the Nursing website to identify faculty members who have similar areas of interest. Subsequently, the student must contact the MN Program Committee Chair, who will serve as a liaison to connect with the potential Thesis Supervisor.

Once the MN Program Committee Chair has confirmed a faculty member’s agreement to serve as a student’s Thesis Supervisor, the MN Program Committee Chair contacts the faculty member to sign the Approval of Thesis Supervisor form and sends this form to the SGS. Once the form has been approved by the SGS, the SGS sends letters to the student and the Thesis Supervisor informing them of the approval. Once the Thesis Supervisor has been approved, it is the Thesis Supervisor’s and student’s responsibility to ensure they meet (in person or via teleconference or videoconference) regularly to plan for the student’s program of study and completion of the Thesis. Regular meetings between the student and Thesis Supervisor—at least once or twice a semester (and more, if needed)—will help to assure successful completion of the program. The student and the Thesis Supervisor are also expected to be aware of the suggested timelines and milestones for thesis completion.

It is the shared responsibility of the student and the Thesis Supervisor to review the student’s planned research methodology and to determine the best available option for the required Nursing elective course related to research design. The student will also have opportunities to develop his or her proposed research during the NURS 5160–Thesis Proposal Seminar.

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