Communication Expectations

  1. Keep a current contact information on file. The Department of Political Science uses email as the primary mode for sending information vital to the successful completion of your degree, as well as announcements for opportunities or events related to the department. It is extremely important that you keep your contact information, including your local phone number and email address, up to date in the Department’s records. If your email address changes or you stop regularly checking an email address you have given us, you must inform us. It is your responsibility to ensure that you are receiving emails from the program by keeping your contact information current.
  2. Read and respond. Graduate students are expected to be reachable by, and respond promptly to emails from, their course instructors, supervisor, and the graduate program. You should be checking the email address we have on file for you at least daily. It is professional best practice to respond to all messages from those you work with – in this case, your instructors, your supervisor, or the graduate program – within 48 hours. Non-responsiveness leads to concerns about your wellbeing and about your engagement with your academic work. In the event of multiple attempts to communicate via email without success, the graduate program will file a report to Early Alert to ensure that you are safe and have the opportunity to receive appropriate academic and personal support.
  3. Use an address for TA work. If you are working as a Teaching Assistant for the term, you must regularly check your account. This is the account assigned to you as an employee of the University. TA-related emails will thus come through your address, which is different from the account that you received when you registered as a new student. You can always have one UBC account forward to the other. However, under BC privacy law, you may only use an official UBC email account for TA or other teaching-related activities since such communications may include personal information about students.
  4. If you will be out of email contact: We understand that graduate students travel during their time in the program, both for academic/research purposes and personal reasons. Travel may sometimes leave you inaccessible via email for a period of time; however, it is important that we know when you plan to be unreachable. Students are expected to inform the graduate program (Graduate Program Assistant or Graduate Program Coordinator) and your supervisor if they will be out of email contact for a period of more than 4 days in a row. Consistent with standard professional practice, students should also set up an “away from email” auto-respond on the email account that we have on file and indicate in the auto-respond message when they will be resuming email use. Moreover, if there is an alternative way of reaching you during this period, such as phone or text, please let the graduate program and your supervisor know.


Graduate Student Responsibilities and Expectations:

As graduate students you are expected to take responsibility for the progress of your degree completion, including, and but not limited to (taken from

  • Make a commitment and show dedicated efforts to gain the background knowledge and skills needed to pursue your research project successfully.
  • In conjunction with your supervisor, develop a plan and timetable for completion of all stages of your thesis project, adhere to a schedule and meet appropriate deadlines.
  • Meet with your supervisor when requested and report fully and regularly on progress and results.
  • Maintain registration throughout the program and (for international students) ensure that study permits and (where applicable) employment authorization documents are kept up to date.
  • Keep your supervisor, graduate program advisor and Enrolment Services informed about your contact information.
  • Give serious consideration to the advice and criticisms received from your supervisor and other members of your supervisory committee.
  • Keep your work space tidy, safe and healthy; show tolerance and respect for the rights of others.
  • Be thoughtful and reasonably frugal in using resources provided by your supervisor and the University, and assist in obtaining additional resources for your research or for other group members where applicable.
  • Conform to University, Faculty and graduate program requirements, including those related to deadlines, dissertation or thesis style, conflict of interest.
  • When your degree program requirements have been met, terminate your work and clean up your work space.
  • Return borrowed materials to your supervisor, graduate program, library or reading room, etc. when your project has been finished or when return is requested.

The following suggestions can make your life a lot easier:

  • Review the literature regularly and keep your literature survey up-to-date
  • Maintain exemplary records of your experimental/theoretical work (so that others can replicate your results)
  • While your supervisor is required to be reasonably available for consultation, it is your responsibility to keep in touch with your supervisor
  • Make yourself available to your supervisor for regular meetings at mutually acceptable times
  • Follow the university’s policy regarding ownership of intellectual property

Any lapse from the above duties may result in delay of your academic progress, or may result in academic or financial penalties, disciplinary action, or withdrawal from your program by the University. Discussion of expectations can foster open communication between supervisors and students and prevent misunderstandings that might otherwise arise. It is very important for you to meet and discuss these expectations with your supervisor (or temporary faculty advisor) as early as possible, or at the first term of your graduate program.