Some institutions have courses for supervisors, and guidelines for supervision and those being supervised.  Here are the guidelines for McGill.

General observations about supervisions

  1. Each supervision is different, but every one begins by defining the aim clearly, and establishing a workable plan to achieve it.  As a supervisor, my first job is to ensure that you have a clear and achievable aim. We will work together to establish your research question, hypotheses, defined concepts, outline of sources and methods, and to ensure that your work is relevant.  Project planning is a useful skill to help keep your work on schedule. Regular contact is a mutual responsibility.

MPA, WS(MA), and MDS theses and project supervisions

  1. For Masters level theses and projects, I try to build on a student’s interest and make the work professionally relevant. The thesis or project should not be an end in itself, never to be read by anyone but the committee. Relevant professional research should be pushed towards publication and dissemination, for personal satisfaction and career benefit. For a small minority planning to go on to doctoral work, the thesis or project is an opportunity to practice the skills that will be necessary to prepare for comprehensive exams, thesis research and writing.

PhD supervisions and examinations

  1. Ask your potential supervisor about their own doctoral experience. Consider contacting current or former students so you know what to expect. Think carefully before embarking on a PhD. Completion rates have been low for more than a decade, and job prospects in universities are limited. It is not just another course of study (see, What is a PhD?). If you are applying for the PhD in War Studies at RMC and considering me as a supervisor, I will want to see your research proposal, your academic plan, and a sample of published writing. Please consider these notes for applicants,  and compare other programs before deciding that the RMC program is right for you.

Choosing an advisor

  1. Choose carefully if you have the opportunity to do so. Don’t get stuck with an advisor by accident. Ask around, and check references. How would you describe the perfect advisor?


Captain Jean-Luc Plante, Intelligence Collection Reform in Canada. MPA, October 2016, in progress

Major Jean Leroux, State of Confusion: The Canadian Search and Rescue Reputation, August 2016

Ashley Jestin, French Intervention in Rwanda, Research project for MPA. Completed May 2016.

Guy Marcoux, “Comment augmenter la qualité de l’entrainement de l’armée canadienne, au niveau de formation des unités de manouvres en utilisant les outils de simulations disponibles ou en encadrant d’avantage l’entrainement en champagne,” MDS, December 2015

John Gilmour, PhD Candidate War Studies, co-supervised with Joel Sokolsky. In progress. January 2015.

Major Antony Sumner, New Zealand Army, “The Role of Reserve Forces in New Zealand Defence Force Operations,” Research Project for Master of Defence Studies, Canadian Forces College, 2015 In progress. Lost contact August 2016

Captain Joe Hentz, “Canada’s Engagement and Local Governance in Kandahar Province,” Research Project, MA(SDMP), complete, June 2011

Frederic Labarre, “Military Education and European Security Integration,” RMC War Studies PhD Candidate – withdrawn 2010.

Janice Malainey, “Beyond Safe And Secure Environment: A Case Study In Transitioning Responsibilities Between Security Forces – Bosnia And Herzegovina 1995-2000, Royal Roads University, completed July 2009.

Andrew Ho, “Ordering Disorder: An Evaluation of the Effectiveness of International Civilian Police Training in Haiti, 1994-2001,” Royal Roads University, completed April 2009

Guillaume Grenier-Lachance, “Systematic Credibility Evaluation: An Analysis of a Canadian Red Cross Housing Project on Niass Island and its Supply Chain Management,” Directed Study for MBA, completed January 2008

Ruth Taronno, “CIMIC: The preparation and training of Canadian Forces personnel for Civil-Military Cooperation” Masters of Anthropology, University of Manitoba, co-supervised with Dr. Brian Schwimmer, University of Manitoba, 2007. Lieutenant-Colonel Alan Benson, “Other Arms and Services in the Contemporary Operating Environment:  Resolving Limitations in Employability and Improving Task Force Combat Capability,” Master of Defence Studies, Canadian Forces College, 2008

Major Ron Miller, “Vigilantism and Community Violence” Masters of Peacebuilding and Human Security, Royal Roads University, 2006

Lieutenant-Colonel Scott Clancy, CD, “Rules of Engagement: An Architecture for the Battlespace of Today” Master of Defence Studies, Canadian Forces College. 2004

Major Tim Dunn, “The Evolving Military-Media Relationship,” War Studies MA thesis, registered 2003, converted to coursework 2004.

Captain Rohan Maxwell, “CIDA-DND Cooperation in Peacebuilding” Master of War Studies, RMC, 2003

Colonel Hillary Jaeger, ““Humanitarian Interventions: A Legitimate Undertaking of States and their Armed Forces” National Security Studies Course, registered 2002, completed 2003.

Lieutenant-Colonel T.M. Endicott, CD, P. Eng, “The Social Evolution of the Canadian Forces – Post Somalia” Master of Defence Studies, Canadian Forces College. 2002


  1. Major Jean Leroux, “State of Confusion: The Canadian Search and Rescue Reputation,” Directed Research Project, MMAS400, completed September 2016.

  2. Officer Cadet Chris Radl, “Negotiation and Mediation behaviour in Peace Support Operations,” Honours MSS research project, registered 2002 completed 2003

  3. Colonel Tim J. Grant, “Canada: to lead or not to lead…” National Security Studies Course, registered 2002, completed 2003.

  4. Marie Braswell, “Warriors as Peacekeepers:  The Competing Demands of “Armed Humanitarianism” Royal Roads University, MA Conflict Analysis & Management, registered 2002, transferred programs, 2003

  5. Colonel F.M. Boomer, “The Relationship between Natural Resource Availability and Conflict: Yes, No, Maybe, Sometimes,” International Peacekeeping Summer Institute (IPSI) Directed Research, registered 2001, complete 2003

  6. Officer Cadet Barrett Bingley, “Mediation by Peacekeepers” Honours MSS Thesis, registered 2002, completed 2003

  7. Lieutenant Daniel Villeneuve, “The Changing Face of Military Intelligence: The Impact of Peacekeeping in the 1990s,” International Peacekeeping Summer Institute (IPSI) Directed Research, registered 2001, complete 2002

  8. Lieutenant Louise St. Jacques,  “Impact of Development on the Conflict in Cyprus,” BMASc thesis, registered 2001, incomplete

  9. Captain Claude Vadeboncoeur, “Improving Demobilization During a Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration Programme,” BMASc thesis, registered 2000, complete 2001

  10. Captain John P. Van Oosten, “Readiness States for Canadian Forces Search and Rescue” BMASc thesis, registered 2000, completed 2001

  11. Major Cameron Ross, “Bled White and Bone Weary: Personnel Policy for the Canadian Forces” BMASc thesis, registered 1999, complete 2001

  12. Major Bart Gauvin, “Mission Command: The Implications of Adopting a New Philosophy” BMASc thesis, registered 2000, completed 2001

  13. Captain Brian Crosier, “Canada’s Strategic Airlift” BMASc thesis, registered 2000, completed 2001

  14. Major Clifford A. Jamieson, “Light Infantry in a Mechanised Environment”  BMASc thesis, registered 1999, completed 2000


Thinking about Supervisions...

Supervisors should open opportunities for students, keep them on track to finish, and learn from them. RMC and Norwich University students at ICNC event, Toronto, February 2016