Defences should not normally be scheduled during the last two weeks of August and the week before University of Waterloo closes for the Christmas break through to when it re-opens in January. Students must begin this process a minimum of one month prior to the desired defence date. 

Step 1: Approval of committee and scheduling of defence

As a reminder, this step should be completed a minimum of one month prior to the desired defence date. 

The Master’s Examining Committee shall be comprised of:

  • at least one tenured or tenure track faculty member of the student's home department who will normally be the student's supervisor(s).
  • an additional tenured or tenure track faculty member from the University of Waterloo.
  • and at least one additional examiner (reader) whose expertise can support the evaluation of the Master's thesis.

External adjunct appointments require the approval of the Associate Dean, Graduate from the student's home Faculty. No more than one adjunct faculty member (including Professors Emeriti) may serve on the Examining Committee. Adjunct requests are sent to the SERS Administrative Coordinator.

Supervisor and the committee member sign off on the Confirmation of agreement to proceed with a thesis defense form.

  • Once the reader has been determined, the student and supervisor(s) should select a date and time for the defence and ensure desired committee members are available to attend. This should be done as far in advance as possible. 
  • The student or supervisor(s) then will contact the graduate coordinator with the following information to set up the defence:
  • Thesis title
  • List of all committee members, specifying supervisor(s), department, or adjunct
  • Proposed date and time of defence

Once this information is received, the graduate coordinator will obtain approval by the graduate officer. The graduate coordinator will secure a chairperson for the defence and set up WebEx (or book a room once campus re-opens). Confirmation will be sent to the student and all committee members. Supervisors may serve as the Chair in some instances.

Students are encouraged to visit the GSPA website for information on preparing your thesis (formatting requirements, etc.). 

Step 2: Submission of thesis & agreement form

At least 10 days prior to the defence date the following must be submitted to the graduate coordinator:

  • Title and abstract (email a .txt or .doc file).
  • Electronic copy of thesis (email a .pdf file). A hard copy of the thesis is not required for submission purposes. 

​The graduate coordinator will forward the thesis to the committee/reader.

Step 3: Final thesis approval & submission

  • After the defence, if any revisions are required to the thesis,  the student must submit the final thesis to supervisor and/or committee members once completed for approval. These requirements will be agreed to at the defense.
  • The supervisor must advise graduate coordinator by email when the final version of the thesis has been reviewed and approved.
  • Completion paperwork will then be prepared and submitted to Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs (GSPA).
  • Once approved the student can submit the final thesis to UWSpace. Submissions to UWSpace will be reviewed within 3 to 5 business days of GSPA receiving the final completion paperwork from the department.  For details, consult the UWSpace submission instructions. Please visit the GSPA website for information on preparing your thesis (formatting requirements, etc.). 

Step 4: Apply to graduate in Quest

Immediately after submitting final thesis to UWSpace, the student should apply to graduate in Quest. Log into Quest, Navigate to My Academics > Graduation, and select Apply for Graduation. Students should select the term in which they will complete their degree requirements (not the convocation ceremony).

 Step 5: Degree completion

  • Once the thesis has been approved by UWSpace, the Graduate Coordinator will prepare a program completion form and submit to GSPA. Once processed, the degree will appear as "complete" on the student's unofficial transcript. 
  •  Students must return their office key to the Graduate Coordinator upon degree completion. 

Important deadlines:

100% and 50% tuition refund deadlines The thesis must be approved by UWSpace (step 3) on or before these deadlines for refunds to be automatically applied to your account. Approval by UWSpace can take up to 5 business days after submission. 

 Deadlines to apply to graduate in Quest: Spring Convocation - April 30; Fall Convocation - August 31.