PhD thesis submission and acceptance procedure

PhD - thesis submission and acceptance procedure

General information

Candidates are expected to maintain continuous registration until the thesis is submitted to the Engineering Graduate Studies Office (EGSO). Under exceptional circumstances, inactive terms or a leave of absence may be requested for a specified period with departmental approval. The role of a supervisor is to assist a candidate in establishing a research problem with an appropriate scope, to suggest alternative general approaches to the solution of a problem, and to provide general advice on the instructor and content of a thesis.

Faculty of Engineering Graduate Studies Term deadlines can be obtained from your graduate coordinator. There are two sets of dates that we can work off of. The next convocation deadline or the 100% refund deadlines, please see your graduate coordinator for more information.

Student tasks

  1. Apply for graduation.
  2. Confirm completion of required courses and other criteria. Exemptions must be approved by the department prior to degree completion.

PhD thesis examining committee

  1. Appointment of the PhD thesis examining committee:
  • Must be submitted to the EGSO and approved at least nine weeks prior to the defence.
  • Your supervisor should arrange the date and time with your examining committee. This is normally scheduled around the availability of the external examiner. 
  1. Once the date and external examiner are finalized, submit the following information to your graduate coordinator
  • Name of your supervisor(s).
  • Title of your PhD thesis.
  • Proposed committee members (should be the same as your PhD comprehensive):


Two MSCI faculty members (internal members).

One faculty member from another department (internal/external member).

One external examiner (include current CV).

  1. If one of your original committee members is unable to attend the defence, your supervisor must find a replacement and you are required to submit a replacement form to your department coordinator. This form must be completed/approved prior to setting up the defence. 

    NOTE: As of January 2017, delegates are not an option.

  • Information for Supervisors regarding external examiners

  • A replacement is selected by the original committee member and approved by the remaining members and candidate. This can be in the form of an email (to all involved). The replacement becomes a full member of the examining committee and must read the thesis and generate their own questions. They then attend the defence and cast their own vote.

  1. Once the above is submitted, your graduate coordinator will prepare the appointment of PhD thesis examining committee form. This form must be approved by the Engineering Graduate Studies Office. Once approved a copy of the letter and acceptance form will be sent to you and the supervisor. You can then pick the thesis receipt form from the EGSO in DWE 3520.

Distribution and submission of your thesis

  1. Pick up the thesis receipt form from the Engineering Graduate Studies Office (DWE 3520), personally distribute a copy of bound thesis to each reader and supervisor, and have them initial the acceptance form for receipt of thesis. It is the supervisor’s responsibility to ensure that the external examiner receives a copy of the thesis. See your graduate coordinator for additional help if required.
  2. Once the readers have initialled the PhD thesis acceptance form, take the form and the final copy of your thesis to the Engineering Grad Studies Office (DWE 3520). The EGSO takes your acceptance form and will put a copy of your thesis on display. The display period is 25 business days and is a degree requirement.
  3. The EGSO will notify GSPA that a chair is required.
  4. Attend your defence

After the defence

  1. The chair will submit the results of the Defence to the EGSO. The committee must choose from the following decisions:
  • Accepted.

This means the thesis may require typographical and/or minor editorial corrections to be made to the satisfaction of the supervisor(s).

  • Accepted conditionally.

This means that the thesis requires some changes in substance or editorial changes which are to be made to the satisfaction of members of the examining committee designated by the committee. The report of the examining committee must include a brief outline of the nature of the changes required, and must indicate the date by which the changes are to be completed. In any case, the changes must be completed to the Committee’s satisfaction within one calendar year of the date of the defence, or the student must withdraw from the program.

  • Decision deferred.

This means that the thesis requires modifications of a substantial nature

  • Rejected.

The thesis is rejected. The examining committee shall clearly define the reasons for rejection. A student whose doctoral thesis has been rejected will be required to withdraw from the PhD program. 

  1. Now you are ready to upload the approved and final copy of your thesis to GSPA through UWSpace
  1. Once your thesis is submitted to UWSpace, the thesis will be reviewed for formatting by GSPA. You will be notified by email (to your uwaterloo e-mail account – check your SPAM email box) if there are any corrections required. It is your job to check the account indicated above for any correspondence from GSPA. Once all final corrections have been made and approved, GSPA will upload your thesis to UWSpace where it will be available for viewing through this public site.
  2. Final approval from GSPA and upload to UWSpace completes your degree requirements and thesis milestone. GSPA will then ensure your academic record will be updated.
  3. Submission of thesis for binding is no longer a Faculty of Engineering requirement. The Department of Management Sciences requires students to submit one bound copy for your supervisor(s). The Department of Management Sciences will pay printing and binding costs of one bound copy for your Management Sciences supervisor(s). When ready to submit your thesis for binding, obtain a signed Graphics requisition form from the department to include with your submission.
  4. The thesis approved date (GSPA) is the date the department will use to process the intent to graduate/program completion form.