Advisory Committee

An advisory committee is established by the student in consultation with the supervisor. At least one member of the Program Committee is included on each advisory committee and will act as the committee chair. At least two other members are chosen for their expertise in an area related to the proposed research topic. Appropriate experts from outside the Neuroscience Program and Western University may be included.

Within one month of entering the graduate program, email the names of your chosen advisors and your thesis topic to The neuroscience program committee will assign a program representative and has to approve the final advisory committee (this is mostly done by email and should take no more than 3-5 days).

Each student meets with their Advisory Committee within their first term. Subsequently, each student meets with their Advisory Committee at approximately six-month intervals; this schedule is particularly important for M.Sc. students because of the short duration of their training program. These meetings, which generally last for about 1 hour, focus on the proposed research, progress to date and future plans. Students should be prepared to make a short (5-10 minutes for first meeting, ~15-20 min for subsequent meetings) oral presentation of their project outline and recent research findings.

First Meeting

At least one week in advance of your meeting, please submit a brief thesis proposal to your committee members (1 page maximum). Provide an outline of your thesis proposal, including background, hypothesis, context, objectives, and methodology. Be prepared to give a 5-10 minute presentation.

Subsequent Meetings

In addition to the brief oral presentation (15-20 mins), a written report (no longer than ~5 pages), along with your previous meeting report, must be distributed by the student to members of the Advisory Committee at least one week before the meeting. It should be structured in the way outlined below and should also highlight milestones reached since your last meeting. Your first progress report might also focus more on the background, methods and anticipated results, rather than on results.

Progress report outline:
a. Cover Page – self-reflection (see page 2 of advisory committee meeting form)
b. Abstract (200 words)
c. Introduction (500 words)
d. Results – just figures and legends
e. Discussion less than 500 words

Meetings can be convened by the student, the supervisor, or any member of the Advisory Committee. In addition to these formal meetings, members of the Advisory Committee can monitor the progress of the student by attending laboratory meetings at which students present reports on research. Advisory committee members should also attend presentations made by students in seminars.

Gantt Chart

What is a Gantt chart?

A Gantt chart is commonly used in project management. It is a useful way of showing activities displayed against time and tracking project schedules. This allows you to see at a glance:

• What the various activities are
• When each activity begins and ends
• How long each activity is scheduled to last
• Where activities overlap with other activities, and by how much
• The start and end date of the whole project

It is highly recommended that all students create a Gantt chart for their research project. For new students, we suggest that you have a first version completed for your second advisory committee meeting.

This exercise is for planning purposes only. In the early stages of your project, these will be your best estimates. It will be expected that you update this information and provide a copy with each meeting report.

Online Resource:

MSc to PhD transfer

After discussing this option with your supervisor, you will need to arrange a committee meeting. When scheduling the meeting please plan for 1.5 hours. In addition to your progress report (5 page limit waived) you will also need to send your advisory committee a one page plan for your PhD project, and you should be prepared to discuss the rationale and conduct of the proposed project. A transfer must be approved before the end of your fifth term of Master's registration

Every member of the advisory committee has an important role to play. Here we have outlined the roles and expectations of all members.

Before every meeting, students must provide their Program Rep with a copy of the applicable Advisory Committee Form and pre-fill the first two pages. At least one week before your meeting, a copy of your previous meeting report should be circulated to your advisory committee with your pre-meeting report and Gantt chart. After the advisory committee meeting, students must ensure that the Neuroscience office receives a signed copy of the most recent meeting report.

Pages 1-4 are mandatory. Review additional pages and use those that are applicable.  Formatting of form works best when used in Adobe.

At each meeting your progress will be reviewed. If a committee indicates that a student needs improvement on more than one occasion, a mandatory meeting will be scheduled with the Director of the program. A student that receives this rating on more than one occasion may be required to withdraw from the program.

1. RECOMMENDED: Schedule your next meeting at the end of each meeting.    
2. Schedule at least two months in advance
3. Speak with your supervisor first to determine their availability.  This will help you send a more limited Doodle Poll to your advisory committee.  Faculty receive a lot of meeting requests – be considerate and try to limit your options to a maximum of 10 dates/times.