Forms and milestones

Please refer to the Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs (GSPA) forms website for University forms. Department forms are listed below.


You are required to meet with your committee at least once per year. Meetings are monitored by the Associate Chair; therefore, please complete the appropriate webform when setting a date for your meeting. You can use a scheduling tool, like Doodle.com, to schedule the meeting with your committee members.

Please note the meeting request webforms will send a confirmation email to both yourself and the Biology Graduate Office once submitted.  If you do not receive a confirmation email, please contact the Graduate Office Assistant or April Wettig.

When arranging a meeting, 30 minutes is added to the start time to allow you to set up. If you will be requiring Skype or Teleconference, then 1 hour is added to the start time to allow for set up. Therefore, the earliest you can have a meeting start (with an 8:30 am set up) is 9:00 am (if everyone will be attending in person) or 9:30a (if someone is joining remotely). Meetings must be held during regular University business hours (8:30 am-4:30 pm) to allow you access to equipment (projectors and laptops) and access to rooms.

M.Sc. and Ph.D. Thesis Proposal Examination

Thesis Proposal Guidelines (February 2003)

Please complete the Thesis Proposal Request Form a minimum of one week prior to the meeting date after you have confirmed the details with your supervisor and committee.

Committee Meetings 

At your committee meeting, you should expect to present an account of your research plans and research activity to date. It is the responsibility of your committee to both approve and advise on your program of studies.

Please complete the Committee Meeting Request Form a minimum of one week prior to the meeting date so the necessary paperwork can be prepared.

Transfer Meeting (MSc to PhD)

The application for a transfer from a MSc to a PhD must be done before the end of the fourth term and is usually initiated after the MSc thesis proposal examination.

Please complete the Transfer Meeting Request Form a minimum of one week prior to the meeting date so the necessary paperwork can be prepared.

Comprehensive Exam

Comprehensive Exam Regulations (May 2017)

Please complete the Comprehensive Exam Meeting Request Form a minimum of seven (7) weeks prior to the meeting date so the necessary paperwork can be prepared.

Pre-defence Committee Meeting

When your active research is at or near an end, you and your supervisor should call a pre-defence meeting to seek approval for the writing up of your thesis. This meeting is not required, but strongly recommended.

Please complete the Pre-defence Committee Meeting Request Form a minimum of one week prior to the meeting date so the necessary paperwork can be prepared.

This meeting is to bring the committee together and ensure that everyone is on the same page regarding the thesis and that the student and the committee feel that the student has enough to proceed with completion of their degree. This will also give the student an opportunity to present their data, highlight major findings, ask questions of their committee and receive suggestions on key points that the student may be struggling with. This meeting should take place when the student has substantially completed their research and are ready to complete their writing. It is recommended that for M.Sc. students this meeting will take place just prior to the last term and for Ph.D. students, at least two terms prior to the defence. We also want to stress that if a student receives a “no” on the form, that it has no implications in terms of standing in the program, nor does it imply failure in anyway.

External Examiner

The External Examiner Request Form must be completed by the supervisor at least 4 months before PhD defence date. The potential External Examiner's full and current CV must also be submitted to April Wettig

Thesis Defence

Thesis Defence Request Form must be submitted by the following deadlines:

  • M.Sc.: Minimum of 4 weeks (20 business days) before the defence
  • Ph.D.: Minimum of 7 weeks (35 business days) before the defence

MSc Thesis Defence Checklist (PDF) (Updated April/18)

PhD Thesis Defence Checklist (PDF)  (Updated April/18)

Program Extension

Students who are over their program time limits will be asked to complete the Program Extension form available on the Graduate Studies forms website. The official name is the "Petition for Extension of Program Time Limits."

Be sure to attach a report indicating your progress and a plan for the completion of your degree program (including a time line).

The Biology Graduate Office will contact all students who will require a Program Extension each term with the necessary form and deadline provided. These forms are due on the 15th of the month before your extension term (April, August, December) to the Biology Graduate Office. 

Updated July 2018