An Advisory Committee is established for each student by the Program Committee in consultation with the student and supervisor. A member of the Program Committee is assigned to each advisory committee, serves as Chairperson of the committee and is responsible for completing the report form of the meeting and monitoring student progress. At least two advisory committee members are chosen for their expertise in the area of the proposed research topic. Appropriate experts from outside the Neuroscience Program and the Western University may be included.
The Advisory Committee: i) guides the scientific progress of the student and ensures that the objectives of the graduate program are met; ii) is responsible for making recommendations to the Program Committee for the transfer of master's students to the doctoral program; iii) is responsible for establishing the scope of the comprehensive examination for PhD students, in consultation with the Program Committee; v) approves the thesis before it is submitted for examination to the Program in the case of MSc students or SGPS in the case of PhD students.
Within one month of entering the graduate program, students and their supervisors select two other faculty members to serve as an Advisory Committee and an additional member of the Program Committee is assigned by the Neuroscience program if none of the two advisors are program committee members. Each student meets with their Advisory Committee within the first term (3-4 months of entering their program). At the first meeting students will give a short presentation (5-10 slides) and have completed a written thesis proposal, covering background, hypothesis, context, objectives, and methodology (maximum 1 page). This thesis proposal must be submitted to the advisory committee at least 1 week before the meeting. The purpose of this initial meeting is to familiarize the Advisory Committee with the proposed research project. In addition, course work will be discussed at this meeting.
Subsequently, each student meets with their Advisory Committee at approximately six-month intervals; this schedule is particularly important for MSc students because of the short duration of their training program. The advisory committee meetings are normally initiated and organized by the student with the support of the program coordinator. The student is responsible for bringing a prefilled advisory committee report form to the meeting, as well as the one from the previous meetings (if applicable). 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 15-20 min oral presentation of their project and recent research findings. A written report (no longer than ~5 pages) must be distributed by the student to members of the Advisory Committee at least one week before the meeting. The member of the Program Committee serving on the Advisory Committee prepares a written report of each meeting which goes into the student's file; a copy is given to the student and the supervisor.
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. The supervisor and advisory committee members are also expected to attend presentations made by students in program seminars.
At each meeting a rating will be given regarding your progress. If a student receives a second unsatisfactory rating a mandatory meeting will be scheduled with the Director of the program. A second unsatisfactory rating could result in a withdrawal from the program.