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MMath Thesis Procedures

General information

As a graduate student, there are several resources available to you when preparing your thesis. Please review the following links should you need further support in the following:

  • The GSPA thesis information website: includes information on how to prepare you thesis and how to submit your thesis. Your thesis must conform to the thesis standards established by the University of Waterloo and Library and Archives Canada.
  • The Writing and Communications Centre: provides writing support and a healthy space to keep you on track with your writing.
  • The Library: includes more information regarding UWSpace and copyright issues.
  • Information Systems & Technology: provides everything you need to know about electronic thesis.

<--break->When selecting a date to defend, the student may want to schedule their defence before important deadlines found on the Graduate Studies Academic Calendar (e.g., the Fall or Spring convocation deadlines, the 100% and 50% refund deadlines, etc.).

Blackout dates and holidays

There is a blackout period for defences in the Fall, Winter and Spring terms. There will be no MMath or PhD thesis defences during this period. UW Space final uploads are acceptable. The blackout periods are as follows (defences should not 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):

  • Spring 2021: Wednesday, August 18, 2021 - Wednesday, September 8, 2021
  • Fall 2021: Monday, December 13, 2021 - Wednesday, January 5, 2022
  • Winter 2021: Monday, April 19, 2021 - Monday, May 3, 2021
  • Holidays: Please refer to the Graduate Studies Academic Calendar for a table of holidays.

The blackout period is necessary and is supported by the Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs office as a result of limited faculty member availability to attend and to chair examinations during this time period.

In exceptional cases where committee members and/or external examiners are available only during the blackout period and the examination is required to be completed by the end of the term, the supervisor must contact the Mathematics Graduate Office. All requests to hold an examination during the blackout period must be approved by the Associate Dean of Graduate Studies before they can be scheduled.

Steps to completion

The master’s thesis requirement consists of writing an expository or research thesis.

By the end of the first term, a student should have arranged for supervision with a faculty member in the unit, and arranged with the proposed supervisor the general area of the proposed research topic. The student must inform the Graduate Officer/Director of Graduate Studies, in writing, of the arrangements for supervision by the first week of the second term.

The topic of research for the thesis should be selected, in consultation with the supervisor, by the end of the third term.

Two readers knowledgeable in the research area, in addition to the supervisor, must also be chosen and once this committee has been mutually agreed upon it is to be reported in writing to the Graduate Officer/Director of Graduate Studies. The agreement must state the title of thesis and the expected completion date. The readers must be approved by the departmental Graduate Committee (Graduate Officer/Director of Graduate Studies).

A final version of the thesis is to be given to the examining committee at least two weeks before the scheduled defence/presentation date. The master’s thesis is to be submitted electronically to the Mathematics Faculty Graduate Office ( with Agreement to Read MMath Thesis Form for a display period of two weeks (please give 1-2 business days for processing and CC your Graduate Coordinator).

The thesis defence/presentation consists of a 20-minute presentation by the candidate, followed by detailed questioning by the committee members. Some programs do not require a master's thesis defence but a presentation/seminar instead; however, the thesis must still be on display for at least two weeks. Credit for the master’s thesis is assigned when the supervisor and the two readers approve the thesis and the supervisor returns the signed “Thesis Acceptance Certification” form to the Graduate Officer/Director of Graduate Studies.

When all degree requirements have been met, the student submits an electronic copy of the accepted thesis, in the format prescribed in the official University of Waterloo thesis regulations and guide, to UW Space for formatting review. When approved, this copy will be accepted as the official thesis deposit. Once this step has been completed, then you may prepare to graduate. Go to Prepare to Graduate/Convocation for more information.