In order to receive a Doctorate you must complete all of your program's degree requirements. For a complete list of your program's degree requirements you should consult the Graduate Academic Calendar for the term in which you were admitted.

Note: Collaborative programs (i.e. Nano, Water, and Quantum) may have different degree requirements that your Department’s regular PhD program.

If you have any questions regarding the degree completion process, you should contact your Program Coordinator/Advisor. 

Recommended degree completion deadlines

Minimum completion deadlines as well as information on holidays can be found on the degree completion deadlines page.

Thesis Guidelines on Co-Authored Content

Doctoral theses can take various forms. It has become common in Engineering for students to publish outcomes from their research prior to completing their degree and subsequently to incorporate some or all of the published material within their thesis.  If you have co-authored content as part of your thesis you will need to follow these guidelines.

Steps to Completion

  1. Ensure your thesis revisions are complete to your supervisor(s)’ satisfaction and that you have followed the University of Waterloo thesis guidelines.
  2. Approximately one month before you intend to degree complete you will need to apply for graduation through Quest. You will not be able to apply to degree complete in a given term until that term has started.
    •  Navigate to My Academics > Graduation, and select Apply for Graduation
    • Note: You must select the term in which you will complete your degree requirements. If, for example, you will be done by the 100% refund deadline in the Fall, on September 1st you must select Fall term as your graduation term
  3. Review your program guidelines to ensure all courses and milestones have been completed. Consult with your Department Coordinator if you have any questions
  4. 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
    • Usually it is the responsibility of the external examiner to arrange their travel plans, if the supervisor wishes to assist more information for for travel and reimbursement can be found here.
  5. A date and time for your defence needs to be agreed upon by your entire committee
    • If one of your committee members is unable to attend your defence they will need to identify a replacement who will assume the responsibilities of a full committee member in their place and complete a PhD Committee Member Replacement form. Guidelines for this can be found in the Information for supervisors regarding PhD defences
  6. In order to begin the PhD defence process you need completed Nomination of the PhD Thesis Examining Committee form:
    • This form must be submitted to your Departmental Program Coordinator/Advisor at least 7 weeks before your defence date
    • If you plan to have a PhD thesis defence without public disclosure (closed) you will also need to submit Confidential Information Thesis Non-Disclosure Agreements - You will need one form for each member of your committee (including the External Examiner) completed and signed by the committee member BEFORE you give them a copy of your thesis 
    • Note: Students are no longer required to submit a Request to Restrict Circulation of Thesis form unless they are requesting an extension to a pre-existing embargo. Embargo discussions should now happen between student and supervisor at the end of the thesis defence and recorded on the examination report. If you are going to request that your thesis be withheld from the public domain (e.g., due to patent pending issues), you can now request a four-month, one-year, or two-year (new) embargo when submitting to UWSpace.  
  7. The Nomination of the PhD Thesis Examining Committee form should be accompanied by a complete, up-to-date curriculum vitae of the external examiner which should contain a publications list for at least the past six years as well as a list of current and previous supervised PhD students.
  8. Your Departmental Program Coordinator/Advisor will obtain the necessary Departmental approvals for your Nomination of the PhD Thesis Examining Committee form and submit it to the Engineering Graduate Studies Office (EGSO).
  9. The Associate Dean, Graduate Studies must review and approve the external examiner appointment and committee composition.
  10. When your committee has been approved you will receive an e-mail from the Faculty Graduate Studies Coordinator which will contain your Thesis Receipt
  11. 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
  12. 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 EGSO where the thesis will be on display for a minimum of 25 business days, not including holidays, before you defend your thesis
    • The EGSO will not accept the display copy of your thesis until all of your committee members have signed the Thesis Receipt
    • Your thesis can be unbound, 2 sided, black and white
    • It is during this five week display period that your readers will review your thesis and prepare their feedback
  13. Defend your thesis
  14. Approximately three days after your defence you will receive an e-mail with the official results
  15. It is likely that you will have to make some revisions and corrections to your thesis. The Faculty of Engineering expects the following completion timelines; if you cannot meet these expected deadlines, please speak with the Associate Chair, Graduate Studies in your department. 
    • Category 1 - 1 month
    • Category 2 - 4 months
  16. 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
  17. 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.
  18. Once you have received the Faculty Acceptance Notice, you can upload your final thesis to UWSpace (not before).
    • If an embargo was requested on your examination report (see step 6 above), you will have to select the thesis restriction pull down option when you are uploading to UW Space as well.
  19. 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
  20. When your thesis has been accepted, you will be notified by e-mail.