PhD Milestones and Procedures

Prior to each term, be sure to check the University’s Important Dates and Deadlines.

*Important note on service requests:

Many of the milestones below are completed using service requests, which are electronic requests submitted by graduate students to their supervisors or faculty assist students in their academic progress and in meeting their milestones. For a full listing of service requests, and how to submit them, see the Service Requests Guide.

Registering a thesis supervisor

Before being admitted to the PhD program, the student will have contacted a professor who has formally agreed to act as the thesis supervisor. Thus, this step is normally completed before initial enrolment. If it is decided that a co-supervisor is desired or required, the student must use a service request to register the co-supervisor at any time before the end of the second term.

The School of Human Kinetics (SHK) requires that either the primary supervisor or the co-supervisor be a regular, full- time professor from the SHK unless an exception is made by the School of Human Kinetics Teaching and Personnel Committee (STPC) and approved by the director of the School.

In some circumstances, a student may wish to have a co-supervisor who is a professor or researcher from another institution. In such cases, the proposed co-supervisor’s dossier must also be submitted by email to the SHK graduate administrative assistant, and approved by the SHK assistant director of graduate studies and research, and by the vice dean, academic of the Faculty of Health Sciences. A student may also complete a joint program under a process known as a cotutelle (for more information, review the Types of Supervision section on the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies website).

Procedure:

  • To register a new thesis (co)supervisor, the student creates a new service request under Add a new supervisor, adding the name of the supervisor/co-supervisor in the comments box along with the preference (primary supervisor or co-supervisor). Service requests are found in uoZone under the Applications tab (see service request guide for more information).
  • The thesis supervisor must then approve the service request by logging into their VirtuO account, visiting their service request dashboard, and marking the request as D3-APPR_SUP (Approved by supervisor).
  • The assistant director, graduate studies and research will then review the service request for approval.
  • The academic office will then approve the service request.
  • To modify a thesis supervisor after admission, submit a Modify or Delete a Supervisor service request. The current supervisor, proposed supervisor, and director of the academic unit, or their delegate, must approve the request for modification.
    Course Enrolment

    Enrolment takes place online using the Student Centre in uoZone. Registration is your responsibility; be sure to check the important dates and deadlines calendar and carefully read the following procedures. Students should normally have completed all course requirements by the end of the second term of enrolment.

    *Important: Once they have completed all courses, students must enrol in the doctoral thesis course (THD 9999) to maintain continuous, full-time enrolment. Once enrolled in THD 9999,  the student will be automatically re-enrolled each following term until completion of the degree unless their enrolment is blocked for reasons such as non-payment of fees, not submitting a progress report, etc. If the student does not maintain full-time enrolment, funding may be interrupted and tuition late fees/penalties may be imposed.

    In some cases (e.g., directed studies, out-of-program courses), a student may not be able to enrol online through self-serve options and must take additional steps. For information and further details specific to individual circumstances, see the SHK enrolment instructions.

    Procedure for out-of-program courses:

    • Students wishing to take out-of-program courses must complete a Course Attendance form, available on the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies Forms webpage, and submit it by email to the SHK graduate administrative assistant. Note that the thesis supervisor must also sign the form.
    • The assistant director, graduate studies and research will then review the request for approval.
    • Approval from the host instructor and/or academic unit may be required (e.g., email approval).
    • The academic office will then approve the request and open enrolment for this course.
    • Note that these courses may not count towards the requirements of the degree program

     

    Procedure for directed studies (APA 5997):

    A directed studies course is a personalized course designed by you and a professor to expand your knowledge in a field of special interest. The course is an elective and counts toward your requirements.

    • Students wishing to take a directed studies course must complete an Abstract of Directed Study form and email the request along with the form to the SHK graduate administrative assistant. Note that the thesis supervisor must also sign the form.
    • The assistant director, graduate studies and research will then review the request for approval.
    • The academic office will then approve the request and open enrolment in this course.

    Procedure for auditing courses:

    Students who audit a course do not need to complete assignments or examinations. As a result, they receive no credit and their transcript indicates “AUD” as the grade. Full-time students do not pay extra fees to audit courses, while part-time students will be charged 15% of the cost of the audited course.

    • Students wishing to audit a course must complete the requisite form  and email the request along with the form to the SHK graduate administrative assistant. Note that the thesis supervisor must also sign the form.
    • Approval from the host instructor and/or academic unit may be required (e.g., email approval).
    • The assistant director, graduate studies and research will then review the request for approval.
    • The academic office will then approve the request and allow you to enrol in this course.
    • Note that audited courses do not count towards the requirements of the degree program
    Registration/Modification of the Thesis Topic

    For PhD students, the topic must be registered by the end of the third term. The thesis topic is to be determined in consultation with the student’s research supervisor.

    Procedure:

    • To register the thesis topic, create a  new service request under Add a thesis title. To modify the thesis topic, create a Modify a thesis title service request. Include the thesis title in the comments box. Service requests are found in uoZone under the Applications tab (see service request guide for more information).
    • The thesis supervisor must then approve the service request by logging into their VirtuO account, visiting their service request dashboard, and marking the request as D3-APPR_SUP (Approved by supervisor).
    • The academic office will then approve the service request.
    Completing the Annual Progress Report

    Important: Before the end of the first year of enrolment, and once a year thereafter, all students enrolled in a thesis program must complete and submit an annual progress report.

    The progress report helps professors monitor the progress of students in the program, evaluate the progress that has occurred over the past year, and define objectives for the coming year. The information provided in the report ensures that all students are making systematic and consistent progress in their research.

    It is also an opportunity for the student and the thesis supervisor to meet, take stock of the research, and adjust accordingly. It is important that students and supervisors take advantage of these meetings to review the research goals and agree on the expected progress in the months to come. The student may need to submit  several versions of the progress report before student and supervisor agree on a final version. 

    Note: A student that receives two (2) unsatisfactory progress reports shall be withdrawn from the graduate program.

    Procedure:

    • The student must complete the  progress report and submit it to the thesis supervisor. The supervisor will then assess the student’s progress. The supervisor will decide if the report is satisfactory or not by comparing the objectives achieved by the student with the objectives established in the previous progress report. 
    • When submitting a progress report for approval, take into account a minimum two-week delay to receive final approval.
    • Once the thesis supervisor has reviewed and approved the progress report, the student creates a new service request under Progress report. Make sure to attach the file that has been filled out by both the student and the supervisor. Service requests are found in uoZone  under the Applications tab (see service request guide for more information).
    • The thesis supervisor must then approve the service request by logging into their VirtuO account, visiting their service request dashboard, and marking the request as D3-APPR_SUP (Approved by supervisor).
    • The assistant director, graduate studies and research will then review the progress report service request for approval.
    • The academic office will then approve the service request.

    Note:    If the annual research progress report is not completed, the student’s enrolment in the following term will be blocked until the student remedies the situation, and the student will not be automatically re-enrolled in the thesis course (THD 9999). Failure to enrol can have major financial consequences and could lead to the student’s withdrawal from the program without further notice. Any scholarship(s) may also be suspended or cancelled.

    See the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies website section on progress reports for more information.

    Thesis Advisory Committee (TAC)

    The doctoral TAC must be composed of a thesis supervisor(s) and at least two examiners. At least one of the examiners (excluding the thesis supervisor) must be a regular full-time professor in the SHK. The composition of the TAC is normally decided during the student’s first year of the program. Once the TAC has been determined, and prior to the comprehensive examination, the student must a complete and submit the Composition of Thesis Advisory Committee (TAC) form (see procedure below).

    The TAC is responsible for guiding the student throughout the program, including the comprehensive exam, thesis proposal, and in most cases the thesis defence. In addition, the roles and responsibilities of the TAC are to guide the student in their thesis planning, research and writing and be available to discuss ideas or for consultation on any other matter related to the thesis.

    Thesis committees meet according to a schedule set by the committee itself. Meetings usually take place every 6 or 12 months, and the student is usually responsible for initiating them. When concerns about the progress of the research arise, the supervisor and/or academic unit may require meetings at more frequent intervals. Once the thesis topic is decided and registered, the thesis supervisor will normally approach colleagues who have the requisite expertise and invite them to join the student’s Thesis Advisory Committee (TAC).

    *In some cases, and granted that the University of Ottawa will not incur additional costs, a TAC member may be a professor or a researcher from another institution. In such cases, the proposed TAC member’s dossier must also be submitted and approved by the SHK assistant director of graduate studies and research. In such cases, the student, in collaboration with the thesis supervisor, is responsible for ensuring that the SHK graduate administrative assistant receives the names of the TAC members along with (1) the external member’s updated CV including a list of relevant publications, and (2) a letter of support from a regular, full-time professor from the SHK. Final approval is at the discretion of the assistant director of graduate studies and research.

    Procedure:

    • Once the composition of the TAC has been decided on, the student must a complete the “Composition of Thesis Advisory Committee (TAC) ” form and email it directly to the SHK graduate administrative assistant (*not as a service request).
    • If a TAC member is from another institution, the external member’s current CV, including a list of relevant publications, and a letter of support from regular full-time professor from the SHK must also be attached to the email.
    • The SHK graduate administrative assistant will then forward the TAC form (and dossier if required) to the assistant director, graduate studies and research, who will then review the TAC form for approval.
    Comprehensive Exam (APA 9998)

    The Comprehensive Examination (CE) is a take-home exam with an oral component. The written portion must be written solely by the individual enrolled in APA 9998. The student must answer two of the three questions submitted by the TAC and approved by the SHK Graduate Studies Committee.

    The CE is intended to test the candidate’s comprehensive knowledge of concepts, principles, and theories as they relate to the student’s specific field of study within human kinetics. Questions may pertain to a literature review of the area, can be methodological or theoretical in nature, and are intended to have the candidate discuss, integrate, and critically analyze the appropriate literature within the response.

    The CE takes place after the student has completed all of the required courses. By the end of the fourth term, PhD students should have completed their first attempt (written and oral) of the CE. If the first attempt is not satisfactory, students must complete their second (and final) attempt of the CE (written and oral) by the end of the sixth term, with a pass/fail decision rendered prior to the deadline to enrol in the seventh term.

    In order to give students sufficient time to prepare for the CE, the TAC and student should meet by the end of the second term. At this meeting, the student will present an overview of the thesis topic and possible research directions. With the student absent, the TAC will then determine suggested readings and formulate the CE questions. The questions are at the discretion of the TAC but are subject to oversight by the Graduate Studies and Research Committee. The CE will normally include one question directly related to the thesis topic, one question indirectly/peripherally related to the thesis topic, and one question concerning methods. The supervisor, in collaboration with the other members of the TAC, must complete a “Comprehensive Examination Questions” form and return it to the SHK graduate administrative assistant following the CE meeting (normally via email). The student shall not be present while the questions are being formulated and will not be provided with the content of the questions until the examination start date.

    The SHK Graduate Studies and Research Committee provides oversight of the CE questions, and thus the requested CE start date may be delayed if the Committee requests changes or clarifications.

    Procedure for the CE written component:

    • The student must first enrol in Comprehensive Examination course APA 9998. This enrolment will be automatically renewed until the student passes the CE (unless enrolment is blocked – see Course Enrolment section).
    • The supervisor must send the Comprehensive Examination Questions form by email to the SHK graduate administrative assistant no fewer than 10 business days prior to the requested examination start date.
    • The SHK Graduate Studies Committee will review the questions and, if necessary, request modifications. Note that if modifications are required, this may delay the CE start date.
    • Once the CE questions are approved, the SHK graduate administrative assistant will send the questions to the student on the CE exam start date indicated on the form. The CE questions are typically emailed to the student’s uOttawa email address.
    • During the CE process, the student must not discuss the exam questions with any members of the TAC, faculty, or other graduate students.
    • The student has 28 days (four weeks including weekends, but not holidays) to complete the written component of the exam.
    • The student must email the written portion of the CE to the SHK graduate administrative assistant from their official uOttawa email address on or before the due date.

     

    Evaluating the CE written component
    • Once the SHK graduate administrative assistant receives the CE’s written component, the SHK graduate administrative assistant will email the written responses, as well as the “Comprehensive Examination – Written Component” evaluation form, to the CE examiners. The examiners (excluding the supervisor) must submit their independent evaluation of the written component of the CE within fifteen (15) business days by completing the “Comprehensive Examination – Written Component” evaluation form and sending it by email to the SHK graduate administrative assistant.
    • If all examiners deem the answers to the CE written component to be Satisfactory (S), then the SHK graduate administrative assistant will schedule the oral component.
    • If one or more of the evaluators deems that one or more of the answers in the CE written component as not satisfactory (NS), the thesis supervisor must schedule a meeting with the TAC within ten (10) business days of receiving notice of the student’s completed exam to discuss the evaluation outcome. The thesis supervisor chairs the meeting and does not evaluate the written responses. Following this meeting, the committee will inform the SHK graduate administrative assistant if the student is able to proceed to the oral component.
    • In all cases, the SHK graduate administrative assistant will immediately inform the student, the thesis supervisor, and the SHK assistant director of graduate studies, of the evaluation verdict and include the evaluation comments.

     

    Procedure for the CE oral component
    • If the written component is deemed satisfactory by all examiners, the SHK graduate administrative assistant will schedule the oral component as soon as possible after the student and thesis supervisor have been notified that the written exam is satisfactory.
    • The content of the oral defense pertains only to the written component of the CE (scope of questions and/or content provided in written answers).
    • The TAC will notify the student in advance of the format expected for the oral defence.
    • All members of the TAC and the student must be present at the oral defence.
    • In the event that an examiner cannot attend the CE oral component in person, they must submit a request to attend via teleconference by sending an email to the assistant director, graduate studies and research.
    • The thesis supervisor chairs the oral examination and does not ask questions during the oral examination.
    • The CE oral examination is not open to the public.

     

    Evaluating the CE oral component
    • With the student absent, all TAC examiners (excluding the thesis supervisor) will discuss their independent evaluation of the oral component of the CE immediately following the student’s defence and determine one of two final verdicts based on a majority: 1) Satisfactory or 2) Non-Satisfactory.
    • In the event of a tie verdict, the chair (thesis supervisor) will cast the deciding vote.
    • The student is invited back into the room and notified of the verdict.
    • The supervisor will then submit a completed “Final Report on Comprehensive Examination” form to the SHK graduate administrative assistant.
    • The final grade for the CE is either satisfactory (S) or non-satisfactory (NS). The two questions must both receive a passing grade to constitute a pass.
    • The SHK graduate administrative assistant will then forward the “Final Report on Comprehensive Examination” form to the assistant director, graduate studies and research, who will then review it for approval.
    • The SHK graduate administrative assistant will then send a copy of “Final Report on Comprehensive Examination” form to the academic office to attach to the student’s record.
    • In the event that the written and/or oral component of the CE is non-satisfactory, the TAC must provide the reasons in writing in the “Final Report on Comprehensive Examination” form. The student must then complete a new and final CE by completing two of three new questions selected by the TAC.

    *Note:  Successful completion of the CE is a prerequisite to enrol in the PhD thesis proposal.

    Thesis Proposal and Procedures

    SHK doctoral programs require students to submit a formal thesis proposal. The thesis proposal is an excellent planning tool. It helps bring the thesis topic into sharper focus. A thesis proposal may start out being vague, but as the student works on the proposal and discusses it with the supervisor, the proposal becomes clearer.

    The proposal should outline:

    The topic or the central research question; the background literature and resources from which the topic or research question is drawn; and, where relevant, the strategies and instruments used to collect and analyse data.

    The research conducted to write the proposal will be a useful foundation in preparing the thesis. With this in mind, during the proposal writing stage, the student should start “building” what will eventually become footnotes or endnotes, and a full bibliography or list of references. This means taking meticulous notes and keeping track of the author, title, place and date of publication, and any relevant page numbers in works consulted.

    Where appropriate, it is helpful to outline in the proposal the actual papers that will be submitted should the work proceed as planned, including authorship in the case of collaborative projects. This will give the student and the supervisor a clear idea of responsibilities and expectations.

     

    The student will also need to present the proposal formally as part of the approval process. This is an opportunity to sharpen the student’s focus and to set out exactly how to proceed.

    Some research projects require other approvals, such as ethical clearances. The thesis supervisor should know what approvals are required and how they can be obtained, but the student is ultimately responsible for obtaining these approvals.

    The thesis proposal is normally a two-stage process:

    1. In the first stage, the thesis supervisor schedules a TAC meeting, which can occur simultaneously with the initial Comprehensive Examination meeting in which readings are suggested to the student. Normally, the student presents a brief outline of the proposed project (3-to-5 pages, double-spaced) to the TAC. This meeting should occur within the first two (2) terms of the student’s registration in the PhD program.
    2.  The second stage consists of developing the written proposal document. This stage can only occur after successful completion of the Comprehensive Examination. The document must include a literature review, the objectives/hypotheses/research questions, the proposed methodology, a theoretical framework if applicable, and the significance of the research. The maximum length of the thesis proposal, excluding title page, figures, references, and appendices, is 25 pages.

    Procedures:

    • The student must first enroll in Thesis Proposal APA 9997.
    • Normally before the end of the eighth term of enrolment, an electronic copy of the doctoral thesis proposal is submitted to the SHK graduate administrative assistant (normally via email; *not as a service request) along with a completed Composition of TAC form if members have changed. The student is responsible for providing hard copies of the thesis proposal to examiners who prefer hard copies.
    • The SHK graduate administrative assistant will then forward the TAC form (and dossier if required) to the assistant director, graduate studies and research, who will then review the TAC form for approval, if not previously approved.
    • The SHK graduate administrative assistant will send the proposal to the TAC examiners. Examiners have 30 business days to read and evaluate the proposal. In certain circumstances, an examiner may require more time. This should be discussed with the TAC, and the student should be informed if more time is needed.
    • If, following the 30-day evaluation period, all examiners find the document adequate to proceed to oral presentation, the SHK graduate administrative assistant will schedule the oral presentation as soon as possible. This oral presentation will consist of the student and members of the TAC. The thesis supervisor chairs the oral defence. The oral defence may be open to the public and this decision is at the discretion of the thesis supervisor. In the event that the thesis proposal document is deemed not acceptable by one or more examiners, it will be returned to the supervisor and student with comments and the process may begin anew.
    • The purpose of the oral presentation of the thesis proposal is to give the student an opportunity to present the research plan (normally a maximum 15 minutes) and to seek approval of this plan (with or without modifications) from the TAC. At the end of the meeting, the student and the TAC must sign the “Report on Thesis Proposal” form (provided to the supervisor at the oral defence by the SHK graduate administrative assistant) and return it to the SHK graduate administrative assistant. Revisions may be required and the TAC may ask to review the document before a final approval.
    • After the oral presentation of the thesis proposal, and once the required modifications have been made, students whose research project requires ethics approval must prepare an ethics application and submit it to the Research Ethics Board (REB) for approval. In this case, a copy of the signed “Report on Thesis Proposal” form is compulsory and must be submitted to the REB with the ethics application.
    • The SHK graduate administrative assistant will then send a copy of the signed “Report on Thesis Proposal” form to the academic office to attach to the student’s record.

     [Tc1]ditto

    Thesis Writing

    The PhD thesis is based on original research carried out while enrolled in the PhD program and builds on the expertise and substantive interests of the student, under the direction of the thesis supervisor and the other members of the TAC. The thesis involves the generation of new knowledge within the disciplinary areas of human kinetics and is expected to be of publishable quality. The thesis must demonstrate the student’s detailed understanding of the field of study and ability to apply knowledge independently to a specific problem. The thesis should also make a significant contribution to the literature.

    The doctoral thesis is often up to 75,000 words long, excluding the bibliography, but there is considerable variation between disciplines, and the text may be shorter. It may be advisable to consult other previously completed doctoral theses in your specific domain of study. Students are encouraged to review theses in their domain by contacting the SHK graduate administrative assistant and the library. A doctoral thesis may build upon and continue the work done by a student in the master’s thesis, but must go significantly beyond the master’s thesis and be substantially different from that thesis. Students should discuss the thesis requirements with their supervisor. There is an oral examination for a doctoral thesis, in presence of examiners.

    The thesis may be written in a monograph format or article format (one or more articles, as determined by the TAC). Regardless of its format, the same ethical and quality standards apply.

    In a monograph, the student presents a proposition or “thesis” as well as related research findings. The student draws on existing research, which may be supported or refuted. The monograph is described in detail by Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies and includes:

    • A preface that specifies the approvals obtained to conduct the research and clearly identifies the student’s contribution, distinguishing it from those of collaborators, co-authors, or other researchers, if any;
    • An abstract;
    • A general introduction;
    • The main body of the text, which can be divided into sections;
    • A conclusion;
    • A bibliography/reference list;
    • All the necessary appendices, the content of which will depend on the thesis, but could include: the REB approval letter and ethics documents (e.g., consent form, payment form, etc.), the research instrument(s) (e.g., questionnaire, interview guide, research protocol, etc.) as well as other materials necessary but not contained in the articles or previous chapters.
    • Note that it is also necessary to include: a title page, table of contents, list of tables, list of figures, and it is customary to provide acknowledgements.

    A thesis by articles consists of one or more articles written by the student for publication in peer-reviewed journals. All articles comprising the thesis must be written while the student is enrolled in the program in which the thesis is being submitted. When an article format is used, the thesis must consist of:

    • A preface that specifies the approvals obtained to conduct the research and clearly identifies the student’s contribution, distinguishing it from those of collaborators, co-authors or other researchers, if any
    • An abstract;
    • A general introduction including an updated and corrected version of the literature review / introduction sections from the thesis proposal document, which introduces the topic and a review of the literature and/or a theoretical framework. Note this is often a more generalized literature review, while each subsequent article usually includes a more focussed introduction leading to the proposed aim and/or hypotheses.
    • Three more regular feature articles. Each article must be ready to be submitted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal. The format of each article can follow the specific requirements of the selected refereed journal. In some cases, the student may include a supplementary chapter before the general discussion.
    • A general discussion as well as a conclusion that integrates the material previously addressed in the articles in the thesis. This section will usually situate the study / research in the broader context of the literature and synthesize the results of multiple studies if applicable. This section often also includes general limitations.
    • A list of references based on the whole thesis, excluding the article(s).
    • All the necessary appendices the content of which will depend on the thesis, but could include: the REB approval letter and ethics documents (e.g., consent form, payment form, etc.), the research instrument(s) (e.g., questionnaire, interview guide, research protocol, etc.) as well as other materials necessary but not contained in the articles or previous chapters.
    • Note that it is also necessary to include: a title page, table of contents, list of tables, list of figures, and it is customary to provide acknowledgements.

    For further details and information see the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies website section on thesis writing.

    Thesis Submission / Evaluation and Procedures

    Important: For detailed and current University of Ottawa Thesis Regulations please consult Academic Regulation II-7.

    A hypothetical timeline is presented in the figure below:

     

    Evaluation Committee

    At least one month prior to the submission of the thesis, the student, in collaboration with the supervisor (and co-supervisor when applicable) must decide upon and submit the list of proposed examiners. The list of examiners must include the names of at least three internal examiners and two potential external examiners (only one of the potential externals will eventually examine the thesis). The proposed external examiners should be at arm’s length from the PhD candidate, from the thesis research, and from the thesis supervisor. Examiners must be seen to be able to examine the student and the thesis free of substantial conflict of interest. In addition, the complete CV (including all publications and grant information) must be attached for any potential external examiners. The doctoral thesis Evaluation Committee must be composed of a minimum of four and maximum of seven examiners (supervisor not included), one of whom must be an external examiner approved by the Faculty of Health Sciences’ Office of the Vice-Dean of Academics. Proposed external examiners must not be in conflict of interest, must have expertise in the field of study of the thesis, and must have experience with thesis evaluation. Proposed external examiners must meet the criteria specified in Academic Regulation 11-7– Theses.

    Procedure:

    • Create a new service request under List of examiners for thesis evaluation and attach the “List of Examiners for the Evaluation of the Thesis” form, including a current CV for each potential external examiner. Service requests are found in uoZone under the Applications tab (see service request guide for more information).
    • The thesis supervisor must then approve the service request by logging into their VirtuO account, visiting their service request dashboard, and marking the request as D3-APPR_SUP (Approved by supervisor).
    • The SHK assistant director, graduate studies and research will then review the service request for approval.
    • The vice dean, academics will review the List of Examiners to approval the external examiner(s).
    • The SHK graduate administrative assistant will then approve the request.

    *Note:  Any delays in submitting or approving the List of Examiners for the Evaluation of the Thesis form may result in delays in the evaluation process and defence dates. *If such delays occur, the thesis supervisor must then approve the service request by logging into the VirtuO, visiting their service request dashboard and marking the request as D3-APPR_SUP (Approved by supervisor)

     

    Submitting the thesis

    Once the thesis supervisor deems that the thesis is acceptable for evaluation by the examiners, the thesis can be formally submitted for evaluation. *Please note that deadlines to submit the thesis are imposed to meet enrolment requirements. Please refer to the Important Dates and Deadlines (under Reports, major research papers, and thesis) to find out if you must enroll or whether you are eligible for a 50% or 100% tuition fee credit.

    Procedure:

    • Create a new service request under Submission of Thesis for Evaluation and attach the thesis (PDF format). Service requests are found in uoZone under the Applications tab (see service request guide for more information).
    • The thesis supervisor must then approve the service request by logging into their VirtuO account, visiting their service request dashboard, and marking the request as D3-APPR_SUP (Approved by supervisor).
    • The academic office will then approve the service request.
    • Remember to account for a delay of up to two weeks to receive final approval and for the evaluation process to begin.
    • The SHK graduate administrative assistant will then send the thesis to the examiners for evaluation through the professor or examiner’s VirtuO account. An email will provide instructions for completing the evaluation. Examiners have thirty (30) business days (typically 6 weeks) to read and evaluate the thesis, and submit a written report and verdict.
    • To facilitate organization of the oral defence, the assistant to the vice-dean, academics of the Faculty of Health Sciences will suggest dates for the oral defence in the case that all verdicts are satisfactory to proceed to oral defence.

     

    Written Thesis Evaluation

    There are three steps in evaluating a thesis: 1) the written evaluation, 2) the oral defence and, 3) the final submission. A failing grade, namely NS (not satisfactory) or EIN (incomplete), may be assigned to any of these steps.

    If two grades of NS or EIN are assigned during the evaluation process, the student will be withdrawn from the program. The student will not be withdrawn from the program if only one mark of NS or EIN is assigned during the thesis evaluation.

    Procedure:

    • The thesis document is provided to the examiners via the faculty VirtuO portal. The thesis can be located by clicking the Applications tab, clicking Evaluations Worklist, clicking Select next to the appropriate student’s name, and then locating the View Attachments link.
    • Examiners have thirty (30) business days (typically six weeks) to read and evaluate the thesis, and submit a report in the form of comments on the faculty VirtuO in the Evaluations Worklist application. Each examiner must submit a detailed, written evaluation report. All these reports, including the name of each examiner, will be sent to the student, to the thesis supervisor(s), and to the other examiners, including the chair of the jury, before the thesis defence. The examiners’ reports must contain enough detail to enable the student to prepare for the defence. Reports must clearly indicate whether the examiner feels that the thesis is ready to be defended. If an examiner’s report does not contain sufficient detail, the dean (or delegate) of the faculty (or equivalent) may ask that the report be rewritten. Examiners may write their reports in the official language of their choice.
    • Once evaluation forms have been received from all examiners, one of three verdicts is determined:
      • The thesis is accepted for oral defence
      • The thesis cannot be accepted for oral defence and must undergo extensive revisions before an oral defence is considered. In this case a revised version must be submitted
      • The thesis fails to meet the standards required for the degree
    • *A TAC meeting may be needed if one or more examiners deem the final thesis document unacceptable for defence. At this meeting the TAC will determine what modifications are needed to make the thesis acceptable.

    Important: For details on the evaluation process, see the Evaluations Worklist User Guide.

     

    Thesis Oral Defence

    The purpose of the oral defence is for the student and the examiners to discuss the thesis. This is a valuable time when experts in the area of research will provide feedback to the student. In the spirit of academic discourse and the advancement of knowledge, they will ask questions, mention positive aspects of the thesis, and make suggestions for further work.

    The oral thesis defence provides the student with an opportunity to present their research results during a presentation normally lasting at maximum 15 minutes followed by direct questioning by the Evaluation Committee, also known as the jury. The chair of the jury, the student, the thesis supervisor, and all examiners should be physically present at the oral defence. In most cases, costs for the external examiner to attend the oral defence will be paid for by the Faculty of Health Sciences; in some cases, the dean (or delegate) may allow an examiner to participate in the defence remotely. The thesis oral defence is open to the public except in the case of a confidential thesis.

    Procedure:

    • For PhD programs, the assistant to the vice-dean, academics of the Faculty of Health Sciences will work to set a tentative thesis defence date shortly after the evaluation period has begun. There is a minimum interval of nine weeks between the beginning of the evaluation period and a potential defence date. Note that if the thesis was submitted (in acceptable form) before the deadline dates, the student will not be required to be enrolled during this timeframe. Refer to the Important Dates and Deadlines (under Reports, major research papers, and thesis) to find out more.
    • Within five working days of receiving the evaluation reports, the student must confirm via the Student Centre in uoZone using a service request whether they wish to (a) defend the thesis, (b) amend the thesis before defending it, or (c) withdraw from the program. See Academic Regulation II-7 for the repercussions of these latter two options (section 7.11.1.3).
    • Once the student confirms the wish to defend the thesis, the assistant to the vice-dean, academics of the Faculty of Health Sciences, in consultation with the student, the TAC, and the defence chair will: (a) set a date for the defence; (b) reserve a room; and (c) publicly announce the oral defence, which will include a title of the thesis as well as the date, time and place of the defence. The oral thesis defence will be scheduled as soon as possible once the thesis is deemed acceptable.
    • Videoconference requests can be made to the assistant to the vice-dean, academics of the Faculty of Health Sciences (fssvd@uottawa.ca).
    • If possible, the examiners will render one of the following three unanimous verdicts:
      • Verdict 1. The thesis meets the requirements of the degree but minor corrections may be required. The thesis supervisor(s) or other individuals named by the jury will ensure that all the corrections required by the jury are made. The corrections must be completed and the final version of the thesis submitted  (see below) no later than thirty (30) days after the defence. After this period, the student must be enrolled and the corrections and the approved final version of the thesis must be submitted no later than one hundred and twenty (120) days after the defence.
      • Verdict 2. The thesis meets the requirements of the degree, but major corrections/revisions are required. The jury, in consultation with the thesis supervisor(s) must decide whether these revisions and corrections must be verified by the thesis supervisor(s) alone or by the thesis supervisor(s) and one or more examiners. The student will have one hundred and twenty (120) days after the date of the defence to complete the required revisions and to submit the final version of the thesis. The student must be enrolled for at least one term within this 120-day period. An enrolled student, who completes the corrections/revisions and submits the approved final version of the thesis within thirty (30) days of the defence, may be entitled to a reimbursement of the tuition fees portion of enrolment (see Frequently Asked Questions).
      • Verdict 3. The thesis DOES NOT meet the requirements of the degree. The thesis must be amended and the evaluation process and defence before the same jury must be repeated. Verdict 3 is equivalent to a failure and will appear on the student’s transcript as a grade of NS (unsatisfactory). The student must submit the revised thesis for evaluation within three (3) consecutive terms after the initial defence. The student must be enrolled for any and all of these terms and must make satisfactory progress during each term. If the submission deadline is missed, or if the student does not enroll, a second failure for the thesis (NS) will be recorded on the student’s transcript and the student will be withdrawn from the program.

    Important: Regardless of verdict received for the defence, if the student does not submit the final version of the thesis within 120 days, the student’s transcript will reflect a failure for the thesis and will be marked as NS (not satisfactory).

    For more information on defence procedures and evaluation outcomes, please refer to Academic Regulation II-7

    Final Submission of Thesis

    After the successful defence and correction of the thesis, the student must obtain the approval of the thesis supervisor and the academic office. Once the service request is approved, the student must submit the final version electronically to uOResearch, the institutional repository of the University of Ottawa. The University of Ottawa participates in Thesis Canada, a program through which the electronic version of the thesis is collected by Library and Archives Canada and added to their online collection.

    Important: Be sure to note final submission deadlines depending on verdict above.

    Procedure:

    • In order to obtain approval to submit the final version of the thesis, the student must submit the final corrected version thesis online by creating a service request. Create a new service request under Approval of Final Version of Thesis. Attach a PDF copy of the final version of the thesis. Service requests are found in uoZone under the Applications tab (see service request guide for more information). The student will also need to register to receive the degree by using the Apply for Graduation tab in uoZone (if online registration is open) or filling in the corresponding paper form.
    • The thesis supervisor must then approve the service request by logging into their VirtuO account, visiting their service request dashboard, and marking the request as D3-APPR_SUP (Approved by supervisor).
    • The academic office will then approve the service request.
    • Once the service request is approved, the student must submit the final version electronically to uOResearch, the institutional repository of the University of Ottawa.
    • The final version will be rejected by uOResearch if the student submits the thesis without its prior approval by the academic office
    • For more details on the formatting requirements of final submissions, visit the uOResearch website.

    Note: that all requirements for the doctoral degree must be completed within six years of the student’s initial enrolment in the program.

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