Thesis, Defence and Graduation


Students must consult the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies instructions on preparing a graduate thesis.  Contact Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies with questions before beginning your final draft. The supervisor should read the complete thesis in draft form, and the appropriate revisions be made before the other members of the student’s Supervisory Committee read the thesis. The examination copy of the thesis should not be prepared before the revisions suggested by the rest of the Committee have been incorporated.

Doctoral candidates should begin preparing for the thesis defense at least three months before the completion of the theses. Prior to submission to the Faculty of Graduate Studies, the thesis must be read by at least two of three supervisory committee members of which one (1) will be on the final thesis examination committee.


The Master’s (MSc) thesis defence is a public presentation of a student’s thesis, followed by questions from the examiners.  Students must have completed all course work, exams and other program requirements by the time of the defence. It is the student’s responsibility to arrange the time, date, and location of the defence. Defences can also be done virtually on Zoom. Students can use the Master’s Thesis Checklist to help them plan for their defence.  See the Forms page to download additional resources.

The Examination Committee consists of:

  • A minimum of 3 examiners
    • At least two members from your committee (your supervisor plus one other)
    • An external examiner who selected by the supervisor. This person must be at arm’s length from the supervisor (meaning they have not published together in the past 6 years, and have never been in a supervisory relationship) and cannot be from the same department as the supervisor.
    • One person will serve as Chair who is nominated by the supervisor. The Chair cannot be the supervisor.

Quorum for the Oral Examination consists of:

  • One external examiner
  • Two supervisor Committee members, one of which will serve as chair (Note: your supervisor cannot serve as chair)


Students must follow the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies oral defense procedures. It is the student’s responsibility to ensure that all these procedures are carried out by the appropriate person (the student, the Research Supervisor, or the Chairman of the Graduate Program in Neuroscience) and in a timely fashion.

The Neuroscience GSA provides a free mock defence service.  If you need help, please contact the GSA.


Review and follow the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies graduation procedures.