Biology Defence Checklist - Doctoral Degree

Note: If you will be defending after the blackout dates, please contact the Biology Graduate Office to confirm submission dates (request form and final thesis).  

  Step Timeline People Involved Details Links
1 Beginning to Write Anytime Student, Supervisor, Committee You can begin to write once you (and your supervisor) feel you have enough material for your thesis. Students will have a committee meeting to go over their plans with the committee before writing to get their support and approval (Pre Defence meeting). Thesis Formatting
2 Thesis Review Ongoing  Supervisor, Student Your supervisor should be looking at your draft material as you prepare you thesis. They can give you guidance regarding your writing and how your material is presented.   
3 Finding an External Examiner and an Internal/ External minimum 4 months before the defence date Supervisor, Biology Grad Office (BGO), Faculty  Your Supervisor (not you) should be contacting and submitting your potential External Examiner's CV for review by the BGO and the Faculty. If the first choice is not approved, another potential External Examiner would need to be found. Your Supervisor should also be contacting and confirming the interest and availability of your Internal/External committee member for your defence. The Internal/External must be found before the External Examiner is suggested to avoid any conflicts of interest with the External Examiner and the supervior, committee, or Internal/External. Your Internal/External must be at UW, outside of Biology. Contact the BGO for the form.
4 Set Up Defence Date minimum of 7 weeks (35 business days) before defence Student, BGO, Supervisor, defence committee In order to begin the paperwork for your defence, the BGO will need you to complete the Thesis Defence Meeting Request Form.  Please submit it in person or by e-mail a minimum of 7 weeks (35 buisness days*) before your defence. You should contact all of the members of your examining committee (excluding the external) to confirm availability. Your supervisor should be the person contacting your External Examiner. You should not be in contact with the External Examiner before your defence. Thesis Defence Request Forms
You must determine if you will have an open or closed defence. Closed defence requests, where all attendees must sign a confidentiality agreement, must go to the Associate Dean of Graduate Studies for approval. You will need a detailed explanation about  your rationale for your request. This should be supported by your supervisor.  Closed Defence Guidelines
5 Paperwork, Meeting Set up  Soon after you set your defence date BGO, Faculty Office The BGO begins the defence set-up using the information you provided on the defence request form. Once confirmed, an e-mail will be sent confirming the date, time and room. Please note that this will be the only email sent by the BGO. All remaining communication will be from the Science Faculty Office.  
6 Thesis Submission minimum of 6 weeks (30 business days) before your defence  Student, Faculty Grad Office ** Your Thesis must be completely finished to GSPA standards before you send the electronic copy to to the Faculty Office and the Biology Graduate Office.**  PhD students are required to submit  a soft copy (PDF) of their thesis to the Faculty of Science Graduate Dissertation Coordinator by noon at least 30 business days prior to the chosen defence date. Earlier submission is preferred.  Submissions received later than 6 weeks prior to the arranged defence date will require the defence to be rescheduled. You will need to fill out the online form and submit your Thesis using this link: Thesis Submission for Faculty of Science Dissertations. If you are having any issues please contact, and cc the Biology Graduate Coordinator.  
Optional Change of Enrollment Status After thesis is distributed Student, BGO, Faculty You are able to complete the Change of Enrollment Status Form to change to part-time status at this point. The change to part-time must be done before the end of the first month in the term you are defending in (Sept 30, Jan 31, May 31). In addition to switching to part-time, you may want to consider the tuition refund deadlines (100% and 50%),  but note that the faculty requires everything approved a minimum of 1 week before those deadlines.  Change of Enrollment Status Form
Important Dates/ Refund Deadlines
7 Apply to graduate 1 month prior to completion Student In Quest - 1. Apply to graduate; 2. Verify your name for your diploma; 3. Verify your mailing and email addresses; 4. Verify your degree status; 5. Pay any outstanding fees Graduation and Convocation
8 Thesis Defence
9 Make Required Thesis Changes After defence Student, (Supervisor, Committee) The committee will complete paperwork after your defence where they may suggest changes which need to be made before submitting your thesis. This form will be given by the Chair to Krista in the Faculty office, this can take 3+ days, but once received she will send you a copy along with instructions. Please review the THESIS REGULATIONS. Thesis Regulations
10 Upload to UW Space After changes completed/ approved Student Following the thesis regulations from the last step, upload your thesis to UWSpace. If you are having a closed defence and/or you wish your thesis to have limited circulation, when uploading your thesis to UWSpace ensure that "yes" is selected from the drop-down list on the "Submit:Describe Your Item" page.  Note that your abstract will be visible to everyone, even if you limit your circulation. From GSPA: Students can apply a short term (approximately 4 months) or long term (one year) restriction to their thesis. In either case, when students are submitting their thesis to UWSpace, it is critical that they choose ‘YES’ to the ‘Patent/Copyright or Publication Pending’ question. The attached ‘Request to Restrict Circulation of Thesis’ form (see Step 3) is required for all long term restrictions.  Requests must have been previously approved by the Associate Dean, Graduate Studies in Step 3. The completed form should be received by GSPA in advance of the student submitting the thesis to UWSpace. UW Space
11 Thesis Reviewed by Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs (GSPA) Less than 1 week after submitted to UW Space  GSPA GSPA will not review your thesis until they have received your Thesis Acceptance Form - if it is still in process you will receive an e-mail from GSPA stating this fact. DO NOT WORRY.  If you know your supervisor/committee has signed off on your work, everything is OK. It can just take time for the paperwork to be processed. Be sure to check your UW e-mail as that is how GSPA will contact you with changes, and some forwarding systems do not properly forward those e-mails.   
12 Submit changes to thesis to UW Space ASAP Student Make any changes suggested by GSPA and re-submit to UW Space.  UW Space
13 Thesis approved and uploaded After GSPA changes are approved GSPA GSPA will upload your approved Thesis to the Faculty of Science Theses and Dissertations Collection online and notify the BGO by email.   
14 Program completion paperwork After thesis is approved by UWSpace BGO, GSPA The BGO submits the Program Completion in Quest. To convocate in June, all these steps must be completed by April 30, to convocate in October the deadline is August 31. If those days fall on the weekend, the deadline is the preceeding Friday.  Important Dates/ Refund Deadlines
  You're Done! (you're considered "finished", but there's one more step that's unrelated to deadlines and graduation)
  Printing your thesis After thesis is approved/ uploaded by GSPA Student, New Media Services (campus printer) This step does NOT have to be completed in order to be 'program completed'. Biology does not require a copy of your thesis to be printed for the Department. Should your supervisor want a copy of your thesis, you will need to have one printed and bound for them by Mediadoc on campus. To answer FAQs:  New Media Services
* On the order form under "Graduate Department Contact" put "April Wettig, Biology Graduate Office"; "Depositor" is you.
* You can use any paper stock, and you can single or double side the printing.  'Colonial Bound' is the common stock to use if you want a more premium paper.  
* Students are responsible for the cost of the copies, but in some cases supervisors will pay for them to be printed; talk to your supervisor
  * remember that university holidays are not counted as a business day  

Revised: January 2024