PhD and Dissertation

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By November 30th of their first year, each student must submit to the Program office a brief outline of their proposed research that has been reviewed and approved by the members of their supervisory committee.

The work must be original – it must contain your own argument, supported by research carried out by the student.

A declaration of the ethical issues around the underlying research must be made early in the student’s first year. An ethics review will be required without exception for all students who are interacting with outside individuals in any manner (interviews, questionnaires, consultations, observations, etc.).

The work must be prepared in accordance with the Faculty of Graduate Studies thesis and dissertation guidelines. This includes both stylistic requirements and requirements for handling copyrighted materials.

PhD students must submit an extended dissertation proposal, of some 60 to 70 pages in length, by the end of their third semester. This proposal is examined by the student’s supervisory committee. Except under circumstances requiring a delay, the examination and any required revisions to the extended dissertation proposal outline must be completed before a student is allowed to continue in the PhD program in Year 2.
The dissertation is an extended piece of scholarly writing that reflects both a substantial contribution to the existing literature and original research done by the student. It should be:

  • 300 pages long (about 100,000 words)
  • publishable:
    • as a monograph by a reputable publisher OR
    • in several articles appearing in reputable journals

Before the dissertation is written, an extended dissertation proposal outline must be submitted by April 30th of the student’s first year (in addition to the brief outline required earlier in the year). Both the extended dissertation proposal outline and the final dissertation will be examined by examining committees. The student will present and defend them orally before the committees.

With the permission of their supervisor and in consultation with the Graduate Program Director, PhD dissertation candidates may submit between three to five articles (depending on the length and ambition of the articles) published or accepted for publication in lieu of a conventional thesis for examination.