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Research Guides

Submit and Publish Your Thesis

Thesis Defences

Doctoral students must defend their theses in a closed final oral examination, after their supervisory committee has deemed it ready to go forward. The thesis is reviewed by an external appraiser from another university/institution, and this individual provides the student and committee with a thoughtful critique of the thesis prior to the defence.

Doctoral Defences

The School of Graduate Studies (SGS) oversees the doctoral defence process. On average, a doctoral defence runs just under two hours, and students usually present their research in a 20 minute presentation at the start of the exam, and are then questioned by the committee. Students are sent out for the voting process, and are invited back into the room to learn the result:

  • As Stands - no corrections needed. You must submit your thesis to SGS in one week.
  • Minor Corrections: minor corrections are required. You must obtain your supervisor’s approval of the corrections and submit your thesis to SGS within a month.
  • Minor Modifications: modifications are required, and a subcommittee is struck. The subcommittee must approve the modifications and you have three months to submit your thesis to SGS.

Masters Defences

Exam practices vary for masters students, and are overseen by individual units and/or faculties; consult your Graduate Handbook for the practice in your unit.

The following are some common masters defence scenarios:

  • Defence takes place with supervisor and 2 other faculty members, 1 of whom must be a graduate faculty member from the student’s unit.
  • Defence takes place with supervisor and 2 other faculty members, as well as an appraiser that is external to the University of Toronto.
  • Approval of the thesis is completed by the supervisor alone.
  • Approval of the thesis is completed by the supervisor alone, followed by a public departmental seminar.