I am MASc (two year program with a thesis) student in a Canadian university. Right now, I've finished my course requirements and I want to graduate in five academic terms. I have two supervisors. One of my supervisors has said my research accomplishment is good enough to start working on my thesis. But my other supervisor isn't willing to let me work on writing my thesis. He doesn't give any specific reason why my accomplishment is not good enough or what I can do to get his approval. He said he wants me to stay for six terms and then he will approve my graduation. He is also pushing me to do PhD under his supervision. Whenever I want to discuss my masters graduation, he diverts the whole discussion into doing PhD with him. Sometimes he ends up threatening he won't approve my masters. So discussing this issue has become pointless. Anyway, I've contacted two other faculties; they said my research accomplishment is already good enough for research milestone set by university. What should I do?

Relevant question: My MS thesis advisor wants me to delay my graduation for one semester. What should I do?

My situation is different because it's not the issue of time or my supervisor is careless. My supervisor wants to delay my masters for his own benefit.

  • Have you actually written a complete thesis? Has the advisor given you specific tasks to complete the thesis or fix problems? – Brian Borchers Oct 19 '14 at 22:15
  • @BrianBorchers: No, I haven't written an actual thesis. I have two publications, one as a first author, another as second author. My other supervisor and two other faculties agreed it's good enough for research milestone that is required by the university. I've mentioned in post, he doesn't give me any specific reason why he won't approve it or what can be done to get his approval. He isn't saying directly but he is implying I have to complete six terms no matter what I've accomplished. So the actual written thesis doesn't matter here, I guess. – user Oct 19 '14 at 23:02
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    Is it a funded masters program? It could give a clue to why he is doing this. If it is funded, it could be that he spent money on you (he is invested in you), and expects to get a full 6 terms of contribution out of you. If it is not funded, there may be other reasons, or he doesnt believe it is good to have students graduate early, a topic that has been discussed on this site, usually for PHD's – user-2147482637 Oct 20 '14 at 1:57
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    If you haven't actually written your thesis, then you're not ready to graduate- this is more than a formality. – Brian Borchers Oct 20 '14 at 2:32
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    @Pete if a student came to me and told me that he wanted to graduate this semester (within the next 7 weeks) and that he hadn't started to write his thesis, I'd tell him that it wasn't possible. I've had students in similar situations who though that I was treating them unfairly when in fact I was simply being realistic about how long it would take to produce an acceptable thesis. I don't have any way of knowing whether something like this is going on here, or whether the advisor wants to keep the student around for another semester as a grad student slave... – Brian Borchers Oct 20 '14 at 3:37

Based on your description, one of your supervisors is behaving in an unethical manner. A faculty member must not delay a student's graduation purely for personal benefit. Nor should they coerce a student into beginning a PhD under their supervision. Most programs have a procedure for removing or replacing a supervisor. I recommend you use it if your supervisor is behaving unethically.

You might get a better answer if you said why you have this supervisor or what your goals are.

  • When I chose him, he was very nice and cordial to me. But when I've started my masters, he has been very rude, no respect for his students. Right now, I just wanna finish my masters if things don't get uglier than right now, be done with him forever. If things get uglier which is very probable, I really don't know whether I will have the courage to drop off my masters. – user Oct 20 '14 at 0:44
  • @user the courage to drop off my masters -- Do not do that! It sounds to me almost like suicidal thoughts, but you are certainly not in that stage. You can surely prolong your masters, it's much better than dropping it. – yo' Oct 20 '14 at 7:44

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