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Thesis defence & submission information

Instructions for arranging your thesis defence

  1. In collaboration with your supervisor & graduate coordinator set your thesis defence date.
  2. Your department coordinator will arrange to have the Appointment of MSc or PhD Thesis Examination Committee Form completed when the supervisor and student are ready to appoint the Thesis Examination Committee and the date, time & location of the defence have been arranged.
  3. This form is to be received by the Faculty of Science Graduate Dissertation Coordinator at least 3 weeks prior for MSc or 6 weeks prior for PhD to the defence date.
  4. Once this form has been received by the Faculty of Science Graduate Dissertation Coordinator a chairperson will be arranged either by Science (MSC) or GSO (PhD).
  5. Thesis Submission by the Student
    1. MSc students are required to submit an electronic version of their thesis to the Faculty of Science Graduate Dissertation Coordinator by noon at least 15 business days prior to the chosen defence date.  Earlier submission is preferred.  Submissions received later than this will require the defence to be rescheduled.  The soft copy can be emailed to science.dissertations@uwaterloo.ca. The Dissertation Coordinator will distribute a soft (electronic) copy of the thesis to all members of the examining committee once the thesis has been formally deposited in the Faculty of Science Graduate Office.  
    2. PhD students are required to submit a soft copy of their thesis to the Faculty of Science Graduate Dissertation Coordinator by noon at least 30 business days prior to the chosen defence date.  Earlier submission is preferred.  Submissions received later than 6 weeks prior to the arranged defence date will require the defence to be rescheduled.  The soft copy can be emailed to science.dissertations@uwaterloo.ca.  The Dissertation Coordinator will distribute a soft (electronic) copy of the thesis to all members of the examining committee.  
  6. The defence is not formally set until the Appointment of MSc or PhD Thesis Examination Committee Form is received and the student has submitted their thesis to the Faculty of Science.

Blackout dates and holidays

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

The blackout period is necessary and is supported by the Graduate Studies 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 Faculty of Science Dissertation Coordinator. All requests to hold an examination during the blackout period must be approved by the Associate Dean of Science Graduate Studies before they can be scheduled.

Blackout dates and holidays:

  • Fall 2018: Monday, December 17, 2018 – Monday, January 7, 2019

  • 2018 Holidays: January 1, February 19, March 30, May 21, July 2, August 6, September 3, October 8, December 24 – December 31

  • Winter 2019: Monday, April 22 – Monday, April 29, 2019

  • Spring 2019: Monday, August 19 – Monday, September 9, 2019

  • Fall 2019: Monday, December 16, 2019 - Monday, January 6, 2020

  • 2019 Holidays: January 1, February 18, April 19, May 20, July 1, August 5, September 2, October 14, December 24 - December 31

You must determine if your thesis will need to be kept confidential before you intend to submit your thesis for defence. To restrict online posting complete the Request to Restrict Circulation of Thesis Form

This approved form must be received by the GSO before you submit your thesis for examination.

Closed Defense requests, where all attendees must sign a confidentiality agreement, must go to the Associate Dean, Graduate Studies for approval in advance of the thesis submission.

You will need a detailed explanation about the rationale for the request, such as protecting intellectual property and/or patents pending, and this should be supported by your supervisor.  

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