PhD thesis procedures

General information

The PhD student and supervisor(s) should reference the PhD thesis examination regulations on the GSPA website. In particular, the supervisor(s) should review the External Examiner criteria when selecting an examiner for their student. 

As a PhD student, there are several resources available to you when preparing your dissertation. 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.

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 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 2022: Wednesday, August 17, 2022 - Wednesday, September 7, 2022
  • Fall 2022: Monday, December 12, 2022 - Monday, January 9, 2023
  • Winter 2022: Monday, April 18, 2022 - Monday, May 2, 2022
  • 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 read the following steps required to complete a PhD defence by the student/supervisor(s)/MGO etc. or the Math PhD Defence Checklist: Steps to Completion PDF for a printer friendly version.