Policies and procedures

Master's program procedures

For information on master's programs, policies and procedures, including program requirements, information about master's thesis advisory committees, and planning your thesis defence, consult your program website:

Doctoral comprehensive exams

Preparing for your comprehensive examination

Setting up the comprehensive examination committee

The procedures for setting up the comprehensive examination should begin within four terms of the student's initial enrolment in a doctoral program (or eight terms for a student who is admitted on a part-time basis). At this point, required coursework will normally be completed. The comprehensive examination varies between departments, so students should check the requirements of their own department. However, all doctoral students need to set up their comprehensive examination committee, in consultation with their supervisor, and determine the dates and times for each component of their examination.

Student's responsibility

Discuss comprehensive exam procedures and committee composition with supervisor. Check with all committee members to determine the dates and times of the exam. Book the room(s) for the exam as required. Complete Faculty of Health PhD Form 1, "Comprehensive Examination: Approval of Committee and Date of Examination" (Word .doc) and submit to Departmental Graduate Officer for approval. This form must then be given to Faculty of Health Graduate Coordinator for information and distribution.

The comprehensive examination

The comprehensive examination usually culminates in an oral examination(s). At this examination, the committee determines whether the student receives a pass, conditional pass, re-examinations, or (if re-examination is not successful) fail. Either the chair of the examination committee or the supervisor must provide a written report of the examination, which includes the signatures of all committee members, and a memo outlining any conditions that still need to be fulfilled by the student, or any required areas of re-examination.

Doctoral thesis defence

Preparing for you doctoral thesis defence

Student and supervisor

View this as a three month planning process.

Note: These timeslines are necessary to ensure that all the steps required at the Department/School and the Faculty Graduate Office can be completed. In addition, the timeline provides the necessary time for the external examiner to properly review and prepare a report that must arrive one week prior to the defence.

 12 weeks before the anticipated defence date (recommended)


Discuss with your supervisor the planning process, particularly the need to identify and contact a potential external examiner


Contact potential examiner

Note: this selection can be done in consultation with the student - but the student is not to contact the potential examiner

8 weeks before the anticipated defence date (required)


Immediately following approval of external examiner:

Secure possible dates and times for the final defence from your examination committee.

Advise Faculty Graduate Administrator of date/time; Book a room (if hybrid or in-person) with Faculty of Health Reception.

Please refer to the additional policies and regulations governing remote participation that should be considered.


Submit the following documents/forms (approval must go through Faculty Graduate Committee and can take a week or more):

Confirmation of Examination Board will be relayed to the student and supervisor from the Faculty Graduate Administrator.

5 weeks before the anticipated defence date (required)


Provide electronic copies of your thesis to the examination committee including the internal/external member and email a copy to the Faculty Graduate Administrator to send to the External Examiner.

If you haven't already, book a room (EXP 1686 suggested) for your defense through Faculty of Health Reception.


Note: If for some exceptional reason there are complications that prevent the thesis from being ready 5 weeks before the defence, then the supervisor is required to:

  • Email a request to the Associate Dean, Graduate Studies for approval for the delayed submission and then following approval,
  • Solicit emails (forwarded to the Faculty Graduate Office / Associate Dean) from the examiners and committee obtaining their approval for a shortened period for appraisal

1 week before scheduled defence date (required)

External Examiner

Provide confidential written report to the Faculty Graduate Administrator who will share with supervisor. (Without receipt of the report, the defence may have to be postponed). Report remains confidential until after the defence has taken place.

For information on doctoral programs, policies and prodecures, including program requirements, information about comprehensive exams, master's advisory committee, and planning your thesis defence, consult your program website: 

Department of Kinesiology and Health Sciences

Kinesiology (PhD)

School of Public Health Sciences

Public Health Sciences (PhD)

Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies

Recreation and Leisure Studies (PhD)

Program checklists/timeline

Use your program checklist to plan and track procedures, requirements, and timelines for your progression:

Department of Kinesiology and Health Sciences

Kinesiology (MKin - coursework)
details coming soon

Kinesiology and Health Sciences (MSc - thesis) 
details coming soon

Kinesiology and Health Sciences (PhD)
details coming soon

Collaborative program

The Aging, Health and Well-being program spans all three academic units. 

Extension of program time limit

If you receive notification from your supervisor regarding program time limits and need to request an extension, see Petition for Extension of Program Time Limits.

Travel and travel claims

See Faculty of Health Travel assistance and travel claims.