Graduate Faculty Memberships (GFM)

At U of T, members of teaching staff do not automatically have supervisory privileges in graduate programs. Authority to teach or supervise graduate students is a separate layer of responsibility with specific criteria. Responsibility for directing all elements of graduate teaching and supervision rests with members of the graduate faculty.

To be eligible for graduate faculty membership (GFM), an individual must hold a faculty appointment at the University of Toronto (tenured, tenure-stream, status-only, visiting, adjunct, etc.) This university appointment must be entered on the Human Resources Information System (HRIS).

Graduate faculty membership is also recorded on the HRIS. Because the data is accessed by users for multiple purposes, it is critical that information is both complete and current. For a list of your unit’s graduate faculty members, ask your business officer to download a report​ from Administrative Management Systems (AMS).


Categories of Membership

Graduate faculty membership is initiated by the Chair/Director of the graduate unit. With the approval of the School of Graduate Studies, the Chair confirms graduate membership to the faculty member. Membership is offered in the following categories:

Full members may act as the sole or major supervisor of a doctoral or master’s thesis, and as a member of thesis committees; serve as chair or voting member of a final oral examination committee, where such examinations are required by SGS, and perform all associated duties; assume responsibility for the setting and marking of comprehensive (general) examinations; teach, set, and mark examinations for a graduate course and give such other graduate direction as may be required.

Associate members shall be permitted to undertake all the duties of a full member but shall not serve as a sole or major supervisor, whether formally or otherwise, of a doctoral student nor act as the chair of a final doctoral oral examination.

Associate (restricted) members may be permitted to undertake the duties available to an associate member, but only as specified in writing at the time that the graduate membership is offered.

Members emeriti may perform all duties of a full member, but may only take on new supervision with the approval of the graduate chair or director.

Multiple Graduate Faculty Memberships

A professor with a full primary graduate membership (in the home graduate unit) may be offered a secondary graduate membership (cross-appointment) in another graduate unit in the category of full or associate member. A professor with an associate primary graduate membership is not normally offered a full membership in another unit. Graduate faculty with an emeritus appointment should be emeritus across the board.

End of Graduate Faculty Membership

An individual’s graduate faculty membership ends if, through death, retirement, resignation, or for any other reason, the individual is no longer eligible for the graduate faculty.


Graduate Faculty Membership is initiated by the Chair/Director of the graduate unit. With the approval of the School of Graduate Studies, the Chair/Director confirms graduate membership to the faculty member.

  1. Each graduate Chair or Director should establish a committee or the equivalent to advice on graduate faculty membership. The composition of the committee should be known to the graduate unit and should, if appropriate, change over time.
  2. Upon the committee’s recommendation, the Chair/Director sends the faculty member a letter outlining the terms of membership including the category, duties, and the start date and end dates. See Eligibility Guidelines for more details.

Template 1: Letter offering full graduate faculty membership

Template 2: Letter offering associate graduate faculty membership

Template 3: Letter offering associate graduate faculty membership with restrictions

Template 4: Letter offering emeritus graduate faculty membership to retired faculty members who have previously held full graduate faculty membership

In cases where graduate faculty membership is offered by units other than a faculty member’s “home unit” (location of the University of Toronto appointment), written approval from the Chair or Director of the home unit should be obtained before graduate faculty membership is offered.

3. For new and renewal of graduate faculty memberships, complete the form online.

Useful reference documents can be found at:

GFM Web Tool User Guide

Graduate Faculty Membership FAQs

4. For change in membership level (i.e., Associate to Full) or membership termination, fill out the graduate faculty membership Checklist. Note: this is a fillable pdf form.

When the form is complete, click “print” and within the Print dialogue box, select “Adobe PDF.” This will allow you to save the completed form as a .pdf file. Please use the file naming convention “surname.gradunit.pdf” (e.g., Smyth.CTL.pdf).

Forward the completed checklist as an attachment to the SGS Vice-Deans’ Office at Incomplete forms will not be accepted.


In the case of a disagreement over graduate faculty membership, a faculty member should refer first to the Chair or Director of the appropriate graduate unit. If unsatisfied, he or she can cont​act​ the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies for a final decision.

The Chair or Director is responsible for the professional development of junior colleagues and should be cognizant of their needs when offering membership in the graduate faculty. Similarly, a member emeritus should be permitted to assume additional responsibilities only if he or she remains actively engaged in research and is accessible to graduate students.

The Dean of the School of Graduate Studies has the responsibility to alert the Provost if problems exist with graduate faculty memberships in a particular graduate unit.

The criteria for eligibility for graduate faculty membership within each graduate unit should be clear to all members of the graduate unit and should, of course, be appropriate to it. In some units, for example, it may be appropriate for newly appointed assistant professors to assume the duties and responsibilities of full members while in others, junior faculty may first be appointed as associate members.

Representatives of the Office of the Vice-Dean Programs at SGS are available for consultation and will assist in determining the acceptability of proposed graduate faculty memberships. This does not alter the statutory responsibility of the Chair or Director in initiating graduate faculty memberships.


Professor Vina Goghari
Vice-Dean, Research and Program Innovation
65 St. George Street


Angelique Plata
Executive Assistant to the Vice-Deans
65 St. George Street, Rm 103