The thesis will be examined by a committee of not fewer than three members (including the supervisor and an examiner external to the supervisory committee) who will be appointed by the Department/Program Chair. The thesis will be defended by the candidate in an oral examination before this committee. The Associate Vice-President & Dean of Graduate Studies may appoint members to these committees. The time of the defense will be set by the Department/Program chair; normally this will be about two weeks after the completed thesis has been submitted to the Department for examination.
Masters Thesis or Project Submission
The Masters thesis or project should be prepared according to the School of Graduate Studies' Guide for the Preparation of Theses. The full and complete thesis or project should be approved for submission by the candidate's supervisor prior to submission to the examination committee. To meet the requirements for a Master's degree, the thesis or project must be submitted in electronic form or as a hardcopy prior to the defense by the student. It must be delivered to his/her department no later than the date specified in the Sessional Dates for the degree to be recognized at the appropriate convocation. Sessional Dates are found in the School of Graduate Studies Calendar.
It is the responsibility of the candidate and supervisor to schedule the defence date and time. The oral defence will normally be scheduled at least two weeks after submission of the document and must be scheduled no later than two months after submission. The candidate should inform the Graduate Secretary of the department or program of the intended defence date and time in order to book a defence room and prepare the paperwork.
Oral DefenceThe defence consists of a short (15-20 minutes) presentation by the student of the rationale, findings and contributions of the research. This is followed by questions from all members of the Committee based on the thesis research. The examination should last no more than two hours. The defence is a public examination. Audience members are welcome to observe the oral presentation and questioning; however, they may leave the examination room after the initial presentation. Questions from the public audience may be allowed at the end of the examination, time permitting.
At the end of the oral defence the candidate and the audience will leave the examination room. The Committee will make separate judgements on the written thesis or project and the oral defence by majority vote. Possible judgements on the written thesis are:
1. Pass as submitted or subject to minor revision only.
2. Resubmit after major revision possibly requiring a second defence.
On the oral defence, the possible judgements are:
2. Unsatisfactory requiring adjournment and a second oral defence scheduled within one month.
In the event that either the re-submitted thesis or project or the second oral defence are judged unsatisfactory, the student fails.
After a successful defense, the Chair of the Examination Committee will inform the student of thesis changes required by the examiners. The Chair will initial and give the student a form [entitled Final Thesis Submission Sheet] indicating whether minor or major changes are required to the thesis. After all changes have been made, the student must submit this completed form to the School of Graduate Studies for his Final Submission to be published to Digital Commons.
The regulation of a PhD Thesis is covered in the School of Graduate Studies Calendar under section 4.4.The School of Graduate Studies has outlined the PhD Thesis Defense Timeline. Further, please see the Guidelines for preparing your PhD thesis at the School of Graduate Studies website.