Completing your Dissertation

Once you have passed your Portfolio, you will begin your Dissertation research. The first step will be to prepare and submit a Dissertation Proposal for oral defense.

Your Proposal

Around six months but usually no more than one year after you have passed your Portfolio, you will write your Dissertation Proposal. Your Proposal must:

  • Identify the research question(s) and aims/objectives of the proposed dissertation research;
  • Highlight the significance of your topic;
  • Review literature pertaining to the topic;
  • Discuss your proposed methodology;
  • Situate your topic in theory;
  • Describe your research design;
  • Address ethical considerations and requirements;
  • Assess resource requirements and availability;
  • Indicate prospects for publication of research;
  • Offer timetable of proposed stages of work;
  • Provide references
Thesis Guidelines March 2015

Title Page for Doctoral Dissertation

When your proposal is completed, your Committee Supervisor will advise the PhD Administrative Office to schedule a meeting where you can publicly defend your proposal. You will provide your Supervisory Committee with a copy of your proposal at least three weeks prior to this defense date. The PhD Administrative Office will notify the public of the defense two weeks prior to its scheduled date. You are not required to have a face-to-face meeting for your proposal defense. Web-based conferencing technology can facilitate this meeting. 

At your proposal defense, you will present your proposal, answer questions from the Supervisory Committee, and discuss the implications of the research.

Your Committee will inform you of the result of your defense at the conclusion of the meeting. Within two weeks, the PhD Administrative Office will confirm the outcome of the defense in writing.

Your Dissertation Defense

Normally, you will defend your dissertation within three years after your portfolio examination. The final defense of your completed dissertation will take place no later than five years after you have passed your portfolio, unless an extension is granted by the IDGC and your home university. Your final dissertation defense must be conducted face-to-face.

Prior to scheduling your defense, your Doctoral Supervisor will consult with your Supervisory Committee to identify a list of at least four suitable scholars at arm's length from you who might serve as an External Examiner for your dissertation. Your Supervisor will provide this list to IDAC who will rank order the scholars and submit its recommended list for approval by the Graduate Studies Office at your home university.

The External Examiner will serve as a third reader. The External will read the near final (penultimate) draft of your Dissertation and send written approval to the Supervisory Committee that s/he feels it is ready for defense.

When the External Examiner has approved the thesis as ready for defense, the PhD Administrative Office will schedule a dissertation defense date.

The defense will be scheduled only if you are currently registered, have completed all academic and program requirements, and have paid all due fees.

The PhD Administrative Office and your home university will post public notification of the dissertation defense two weeks prior to the date.

Leading up to the defense, your Supervisory Committee and External Examiner will review your Dissertation in preparation for your defense. Although the Dissertation Defense is a face-to-face meeting, arrangements may be made for the External Examiner to attend using video or teleconference technology.

At the defense, you will present your dissertation and discuss its implications. You will answer questions from the External Examiner, from the Supervisory Committee and, in closing, from the public gallery.

In a private session immediately following the presentation and question period, the External Examiner and Supervisory Committee will decide on the acceptability of the dissertation. The examiners will return with one of the following four assessments:

  • Unconditional pass : You. can submit dissertation to the Faculty of Graduate studies for printing without revision.
  • Conditional pass with minor revisions: You are required to complete minor revisions that do not require substantial alteration of the content, argument or implications of the thesis before submitting the dissertation to the Faculty of Graduate Studies for printing.
  • Conditional pass with major revisions: You are required to complete major revisions that include alteration of the content, argument or implications of the thesis before submitting the dissertation to the Faculty of Graduate Studies for printing.
  • Fail: You are required to withdraw from the Ph.D. program and are not permitted to resubmit the dissertation for approval.

You will be informed about the outcome of the dissertation defense immediately following the committee decision, on the same day. The PhD Administration Office will confirm this outcome in writing within two weeks of the defense date.

As a final step in your degree, you will submit a final and approved copy of your dissertation to library at their University of Record, according to the requirements for thesis submissions at that institution.