Doctoral Supervision in North America: Perception and Challenges of Supervisor and Supervisee

  •  Constance Denis    
  •  Nicole Rege Colet    
  •  Christelle Lison    


The completion rate for graduate studies is around 50% in some programs, and several authors suggest that doctoral supervision in a key factor in explaining this. Existing research on doctoral education reveals an uneven international landscape made up of the perceptions of both doctoral students and their supervisors. In the French-speaking North American context, exploration of doctoral supervision practices still remains unchartered. As a part of the first author’s doctoral thesis, interviews were conducted with 20 supervisors and 20 doctoral students from 8 different faculties. The purpose of these interviews was to capture their perceptions and experiences around doctoral supervision, and to explore with them the main issues related to doctoral supervision. Four dimensions for framing doctoral supervision have emerged from these interviews: a) scientific, b) personal, c) administrative and d) professional. Three main issues stretch along a timeline: 1) admission into a doctoral program, 2) mastering of scientific writing, and 3) employability. This study is an attempt to unpack the complexity of doctoral supervision and, in doing so, to construct a shared language for all concerned parties. The overall purpose of the doctoral research is to identify practices that support effective doctoral supervision and reduce the dropout rate.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
  • Issn(Print): 1925-4741
  • Issn(Onlne): 1925-475X
  • Started: 2011
  • Frequency: quarterly

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