PhD thesis procedures

General information

When the thesis is nearing completion both the student and supervisor must review the PhD thesis examination regulations. The supervisor(s) must ensure the External Examiner meets the requirements listed in the regulations. 

There are several resources available to students preparing their dissertation:

  • Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs (GSPA) has information on how to prepare and submit your thesis. Your thesis formatting must conform to the 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 thesis.
  • The Library website includes more information regarding UWSpace and copyright issues.
  • Information Systems & Technology (IST) thesis guide  contains everything you need to know about electronic theses.

Selecting your defence date

When scheduling your defence it is important to pay attention to the deadlines found on the Graduate Studies Academic Calendar. In particular, consider fee refund deadlines and convocation dates. Remember, you may need a month or more to finish revisions. Also pay attention to University closures, especially around holidays as these will add to MGO's processing time for your approvals and completion documents. 

Blackout dates and holidays

There is a blackout period for defences in the Fall, Winter and Spring terms. There will be no PhD thesis defences during this period. UW Space final uploads are acceptable. The blackout periods are as follows:

  • Fall 2022: Monday, December 12th, 2022- Monday, January 9th, 2023
  • Winter 2023: Monday, April 17th, 2023 - Monday, May 1st, 2023
  • Spring 2023: Monday, August 21st, 2023 - Monday, September 4th, 2023
  • Fall 2023: Monday December 18th, 2023 - Monday January 8th, 2024
  • 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

Please see below for a detailed overview of the steps to completion, including the responsibilites of the student, supervisor, and Math Grad Office.