Thesis and Defence


Completing your PhD thesis is the capstone of your PhD experience.  While we hope your thesis-writing experience is creative and rewarding, there are several details to keep track of along the way. In this section of the website you can learn more about our expectations, timelines, and forms that you need to be aware of.  In addition, these pages include links to Tip Sheets and other resources to support you during this exciting time.

If you're looking to see what previous IDPhD graduates have produced with their research, you can find thesis examples on our Alumni page.

Ethics Submission

All thesis research involving human subjects must be approved by a Human Ethics Review Board. Reviews are coordinated through the Office of Research Services, Room 231, Henry Hicks Academic Administration Building. Application guidelines are available from the Human Research Ethics Office. Students should allow six to eight weeks for processing. To ensure proper reporting, projects which require approval by a hospital research ethics board must be accompanied by a letter which identifies the proposal as a student thesis research project.

For many of us, acquiring the approval of an Ethics Review Board seems like an incredibly daunting task. However it doesn’t have to, nor should it, be complicated. This tip sheet [pdf 25KB] provides practical information and tips on how to navigate the ethics review process efficiently and “painlessly”.

Writing and Completing your Thesis

After a successful thesis proposal presentation, you will engage in the research and writing of your thesis. Once complete, the thesis is sent to FGS (where it will be checked for formatting). The supervisor, with the committee, selects three potential external examiners. The supervisor, with the committee, selects three potential external examiners. The CV of the preferred examiner is acquired by the supervisor and provided to FGS with the “Request to Arrange Oral Defence of a Doctoral Thesis" formAfter reviewing the proposed examiner's C.V., FGS will EITHER invite the proposed examiner to act in this role OR alert the supervisor and IDPhD Director that the proposed examiner is unacceptable. FGS contacts the external examiner, sends the completed thesis to the external examiner and sets the date for the oral defence. 

Thesis Defence

All doctoral theses must be examined in a public oral defence, to be conducted by an examining committee recommended by the department and approved by the Faculty of Graduate Studies. A candidate will not be permitted to proceed with the oral defence and examination until all of the following requirements have been met:

  1. all required class work completed successfully 
  2. comprehensive examination(s) passed
  3. thesis title approved
  4. Examining Committee established;
  5. the style and format of the thesis meets the requirements of the University and appropriate copies of the thesis have been submitted as per regulations and deadlines in paragraphs 1-10 in the Doctoral Defence Procedures section. Normally a candidate proceeds to oral defence with the approval of the supervisor and Supervisory Committee. A candidate may proceed without the consent of the supervisor and committee but a signed declaration included on the Thesis Submission Form is required by the Faculty of Graduate Studies.

Important timelines, forms, and documents

On the Faculty of Graduate Studies site, you will find you will find information on upcoming and past PhD defences, forms and documents relating to thesis defence and submission, and important information on the steps involved in preparing to defend your thesis.