The Annual Report may form the basis of a Supervisory Committee Meeting. If the student has had a Supervisory Committee meeting within the previous three months, the Committee's report from that meeting may be attached to the Annual Report form. It is advisable for students to start organizing a Supervisory Committee meeting early in the year in order to ensure that the meeting can be held by the deadline.
The Annual Report is an important tool used to monitor:
- students' progress within their programs
- that supervisory committees are in place and appropriate
- students' financial arrangements
- completion of PhD program requirements
- time to degree completion (refer to regulations set out in the School of Graduate Studies Handbook)
Annual Reports are also used as the basis for reports of student funding required by the Provost's Office.
Please note that the Graduate Coordinator will not sign scholarship applications or other forms for students who are delinquent in submitting their Annual Report, and he will request that registration be blocked for the next registration period for students who have not submitted their Annual Report to the Graduate Office by the June 30 deadline.
The Student's Annual Report
The student prepares (with assistance from the Supervisor) a report similar to that for other Committee meetings that informs the committee members about what the student is doing or will do. This document should be circulated to committee members 1 week before the meeting to allow them time to think about it.
An effective committee meeting document has these elements:
- Names of student, supervisor and committee members
- Degree program, start date and proposed completion date.
- Date, Time and location of meeting
- Title of research
- Rationale (Why you are interested in this work, why it is important, what is its significance)
- Current status of literature; a concise and germane review.
- Hypothesis. You may provide several hypotheses with a scheme for ranking them.
- Predictions from hypothesis
- Proposed tests of predictions
- (Can tests distinguish competing hypotheses?)
- Data (if available) or possible outcomes
- Possible interpretations of results
The Time Line
How long will it take to do the work? Try to predict when your experimental phase will finish. This can be done if you know the duration of each type of experiment and the number of repetitions required. The required number of repetitions should be arrived at after deciding on statistical tests to be employed. It is best to think about necessary statistics before committing experiments. It is very important that the MSc is not expanded to include side issues. The MSc should be completed in 18-24 months. Those students wishing to arrange a transfer to the PhD program must have a substantial piece of work completed first and should transfer after about 18 months. The MSc really only needs to have one hypothesis tested well with outcomes examined critically in the thesis. This will demonstrate mastery of the Scientific Method. It is a common mistake to add more projects or to change projects.
The annual report should be a critical document that assesses the work to date.
The Committee's Signature on the Annual Report
All committee members must read the student's report and the committee report before they sign the Annual Report form. If committee members disagree with statements in either document then it is their responsibility to file a dissenting opinion with the student, supervisor and graduate coordinator.
Role of Graduate Studies Committee (GSC)
The GSC reviews each Annual Report. This committee looks for the elements mentioned above and will reject incomplete reports. The committee may also investigate cases in which there may be perceived problems with the student or committee.