In order to receive a PhD degree in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering you must complete all of your program's degree requirements as outlined in the Graduate Academic Calendar for the term in which you were admitted.

This document serves as a simplified step-by-step guide to the PhD degree completion process. It will review the steps required to complete your Seminar and Thesis Milestones. After reading this document, if you have any additional questions, you should contact the PhD Program Coordinator/Advisor. A package of all necessary forms can be found here . For assistance in determining thesis completion timelines please consult the Degree Completion/Defence Date Planner.

Don't want to read? A “How To” video on these steps can be found here.

Sample Procedures
Nomination of the PhD Thesis Examining Committee FormConfirmation of PhD Thesis Examination Committee Membership                                                   
  1. Prior to submitting the forms to start your PhD Defence process your supervisor(s) will need to confirm an external committee member
    • Your defence committee should be the same as the committee for your Comprehensive Exam with the addition of an external examiner
    • The external examiner must not have collaborated with you or your supervisor in the last 6 years
  2. A date and time for your defence needs to be agreed upon by your entire committee before you submit the paperwork for the defence
    • If one of your committee members is unable to attend your defence they will either need to assign a replacement who will assume the responsibilities of a full committee member in their place. Guidelines for this can be found in the Guidelines for Supervisors
  3. In order to begin the PhD defence process you need to bring the following completed forms to the PhD Program Coordinator/Advisor:
    • Nomination of the PhD Thesis Examining Committee Form
    • Confirmation of PhD Thesis Examination Committee Membership
    • Graduate Studies Intention to Graduate / Program Completion Form
  4. In addition to these forms you will also need a copy of your external examiners CV with at least the last 6 years of publications. You will also need to e-mail a copy of your abstract (.docx preferred) to the PhD Program Coordinator/Advisor
Request to Restrict Circulation of Thesis Form
  1. If you plan to have a PhD thesis defence without public disclosure (closed) you will also need to submit the following with your defence package;

Note: This option is not the norm and is only, typically, used where there is a patent or copyright pending. A “How To” video on preparing a thesis without public disclosure can be found here.

Sample Thesis Receipt
  1. Once all of the completed paperwork has been submitted the PhD Program Coordinator/Advisor
    • This process typically takes about a week
  2. When your committee has been approved you will receive an e-mail from the Faculty Graduate Studies Coordinator which will contain your Thesis Receipt
  3. You will need to give a copy of your thesis to each of your readers and they must sign your Thesis Receipt to confirm they have received it
    • Your readers can have a soft copy of your thesis if they prefer this to a hard copy
    • At any time an e-mail confirmation from your reader is an accepted substitute for their signature
  4. After your readers all have their copy of the thesis, a hard copy of the thesis and the Thesis Receipt must be taken to the Engineering Graduate Studies Office where the thesis will be on display for five weeks
    • The EGO will not accept the display copy of your thesis until all of your committee members have signed the Thesis Receipt
    • It is during this five week display period that your readers will review your thesis and prepare their feedback
Sample Procedures
PhD Thesis Defence Report
  1. On the day of your defence you will be able to get into the room half-an-hour early to set up.
  2. Keys for the room and projector box can be signed out from the ECE front desk
    • You will have to leave your student card as a deposit for the key and will get it back when you return the keys
  3. The Chairperson will have all of the forms necessary for the defence proceedings so you will not need to pick anything up
  4. After the examination, the Committee Chair submits the PhD Thesis Examination Report to the GSPA who then informs the EGO of the examination decision.
Sample Procedure
Sample Defence Results
  1. Approximately three days after your defence you will receive an e-mail with the official results
  2. It is likely that you will have to make some revisions and corrections to your thesis. Once your revisions have been completed and your thesis is completely finished your supervisor(s) needs to e-mail the Faculty Graduate Studies Coordinator confirming that your thesis is ready for its final submission
    • To save time it would be helpful if, in their e-mail, your supervisor(s) also confirmed the final title of your thesis
    • If you have two supervisors, both must e-mail the Faculty Graduate Studies Coordinator
Sample Procedure
Sample Faculty Acceptance Notice
  1. Once your supervisor(s) e-mail has been received by the Engineering Graduate Studies Office, they will issue a Faculty Acceptance Notice for your thesis which will be sent to your UW e-mail.
    • You cannot upload to UWSpace until you have obtained this e-mail.
UWSpace Website
  1. Once you have received the Faculty Acceptance Notice, you can upload your final thesis to UWSpace (not before).
  2. UWSpace may require you to make revisions to the formatting of your thesis, so check your UW e-mail regularly after you submit for any feedback they might send.
    • Formatting guidelines for theses can be found on the GSPA website
  3. When your thesis has been accepted, you will be notified by e-mail.
  4. Only when your thesis has been accepted to UWSpace will you be considered done.
Sample Procedure

Graduate Student Space Allocation Sign-Off Form

Post Degree Space Request Form

  1. Upon your acceptance to UWSpace, you will need to clean out your office and return your keys to the Facilities Coordinator with the Graduate Student Space Allocation Sign-Off Form.
  2. Faculty members who wish to request an extension of space allocation (office space) for students who are degree complete (post degree students) can do so through the Post Degree Space Request. These requests are subject to space availability and limited for up to 90 days
    1. Due to space constraints, priority will be given to uses which support ECE’s Faculty, Staff and Students in their teaching, research and support activities. Each request will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.