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Joint Masters and Doctoral Program at Ryerson in Communication and Culture
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Since a Faculty Advisor is not a student's research supervisor, the primary responsibility of a Faculty Advisor is to mentor MA and PhD students. To that end, Faculty Advisors should:

  1. Meet with a new student within the first four weeks of the program to complete a Program of Study, an overview of their program that is due only once.
  2. Thereafter, meet with that student each term to complete and submit a Graduate Student Progress Report, which is due each term shortly after grades are available on RAMSS (typically the end of January, May, and September).
  3. Discuss the student's course selection.
  4. Answer any program questions the student may have.
  5. Alert the Graduate Program Director to any difficulties the student may be experiencing.
  6. Generally, act as an ally to the student.

Where can I get information about the courses in the program?

See Curriculum and Course Listing

What are the differences between the Faculty Advisor role and Thesis/MRP/Project Supervision?

The role of the Faculty Advisor is (1) to support new students for course and program decisions, and (2) to assist them as they develop a Plan of Study. This advisory role does not normally include professional assistance - such as networking, or coaching grant and conference proposal development.

A Supervisor, who must be formally accepted by the ComCult Executive Committee as eligible to supervise in the Joint Program, is generally a more intense role. A Supervisor will ideally guide the student through academic and procedural concerns to develop, research, write and complete a dissertation, thesis, MRP or project. A Faculty Advisor may or may not be involved in the student's subsequent committee depending on their interests and availability in relation to the student's chosen topic.

What are the policies of the School of Graduate Studies on . . . ?

A collection of Policies and Guidelines specifically pertaining to Ryerson Graduate Faculty may be found on the Policies page of the Graduate Studies site.

What is the deadline for dropping courses without penalty (or other questions about dates)?

ComCult observes all dates and deadlines pertaining to Ryerson Graduate Studies. Visit Calendars and Dates on the Graduate Studies site.

Where can I (or the student) get the forms that I have to sign and submit?

All forms are collected at, and may be downloaded from, Forms & Administration. In most cases, Faculty Advisors will only need one of the following:

What is the difference between a Progress Report and a Program of Study?

The Program of Study is done only once in a student’s program, and is due in their first semester (typically the Fall term). The Program of Study lays out the entire plan for the student’s graduate degree, including a list of possible courses (indicating the estimated term during which each course will be completed).

For an MA student, the Program of Study will tentatively indicate whether they intend to complete their graduate degree with a Thesis, Major Research Paper or Project.

A Progress Report refers back to the original Program of Study, and is due every term (see Important Dates). Progress Reports list what the student has completed to date, and includes any comments from the Faculty Advisor (and, subsequently, their Supervisor) on the student’s academic progress.

What are the procedures for students wanting to do Directed Reading or Directed Research?

In general, ComCult discourages Directed Readings for both MA and PhD students, citing concerns over academic rigour and financial considerations. If a student is insistent on doing a Directed Reading or a Directed Research course, some preliminary criteria must be met:

  • The student must demonstrate that the topic is distinct from all existing courses. Proposals for topics that are too similar to existing course offerings will not be approved.
  • The student must meet with the GPD to propose the topic. This is necessary to receive preliminary approval.
  • With preliminary approval, a student must then identify a supervisor for the course, and complete and submit all necessary forms to the GPD for official approval. (These forms may be found under Forms and Administration.)
  • Students must observe all deadlines for standard courses, including 'ADD' and 'DROP' deadlines.

The Dean of Graduate Studies at Ryerson has advised all Graduate Program Directors to ensure that these types of courses demonstrate sufficient academic rigor at the graduate level before they are approved.

What are the procedures for MA students wanting to do a Field Placement?

ComCult continues to encourage students, particularly MAs, to consider the Field Placement option.

  • Note: Students must be aware that they themselves are responsible for coordinating and setting up this option. Course supervisors should have only an advisory role in any Field Placement.

As with Directed Reading and Directed Research, students must show how the Field Placement demonstrates academic and/or research activity appropriate to graduate level studies.

What are the procedures for comprehensive exams and dissertations?

Guideline and policy documents for the qualifying exam process, also called comprehensive exams or "comps," can be found at Forms and Administration.

Documents pertaining to Doctoral Committees and Dissertations may also be found at the Forms and Administration page, but supervisors and students should always consult the most recent Thesis, MRP, and Dissertation Guidelines on the Graduate Studies site.

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