McMaster Centre for Software Certification

Student / Supervisor Agreement



Degree Program:

Start Date:



This document aims to specify general responsibilities and expectations for graduate study within McSCert to provide clarity and reduce potential for confusion amongst students and supervisors.  Specifically, it provides some key guidance regarding a) student/supervisor meetings and communication, b) funding and c) expectations regarding dissemination of research outcomes (e.g., via publication).

The McMaster Graduate Calendar (particularly section 2.7.1 – Graduate Work Supervision Guidelines for Faculty and Students) also provides useful information for understanding Supervisor and Student expectations and responsibilities.


Meetings and Communications

The supervisor meets regularly with the student to provide advice and guidance on the student’s research and the preparation of the thesis, including agreeing on work plans and schedules, and to provide constructive feedback on written work.


  • Student-supervisor meetings typically occur at least monthly, although meeting regularity will vary (due to varying level of guidance needed, student and supervisor work styles, the student’s phase of research and writing and so on).
  • Either the student or the supervisor may request the meeting (but see the next point).
  • Students should note that supervisors are often busy, so students should take the initiative to:
    • schedule meetings
    • provide email updates when a meeting isn’t necessary or possible
    • initiate discussions on topics such as thesis topic identification, potential publications and conferences of interest
  • Student/supervisor conversations should regularly feature thesis topic identification (and refining) and steps needed to ensure “on time” program completion.



  • In the case where financial support is provided through industry-sponsored research proects:
    • McSCert students are expected to contribute towards the goals of the industrial research project that is funding their work.
    • The student (with the supervisor’s guidance) should work to align their thesis work with the work they are already contributing toward the industry-sponsored research project.


  • If the student does not complete his/her PhD within 4 years or their Masters within 20 months, further funding is possible but not guaranteed.


  • Confidentiality
    • With industry-sponsored projects, there will be an agreement between the industry partner and the university covering topics including ownership of project results, confidentiality considerations and the handling of publications arising from the research.
    • The student should expect to sign a ‘research participant agreement’ related to their industry-sponsored research.  This agreement will typically include non-disclosure of the industry partner’s confidential information and may include publication restrictions as well as information about intellectual property rights.
    • The student and the supervisor should discuss the agreement to identify any obligations that could impact the student’s thesis or use of the research results.

Dissemination of Research Outcomes

Publication and presentation of research findings in scholarly journals and at industry or academic conferences and workshops is a McSCert priority.


  • The student and the supervisor will both work to identify opportunities for publication.
  • The student is normally first author of work based on their thesis.
  • The student is very strongly encouraged to take advantage of the writing resources provided by the School Graduate Studies, e.g. technical writing courses, thesis boot camps, etc.


We have read and discussed the points made in this document.

Student name (print):

Student signature:


Supervisor name (print):

Supervisor signature: