Thesis and Dissertation Regulations | Graduate Studies


6.1 Thesis Requirement

A doctoral thesis is required for the PhD programme and must embody the results of original investigation conducted by the student on the approved topic of research, and must constitute a significant contribution to the furthering of existing knowledge in the field.

A thesis may be required for the Master's programme. The research must demonstrate the student's ability to carry out a significant research project.

6.1.1 Thesis Format

All graduate theses must conform to the current Thesis Preparation Guidelines

6.2 Thesis Registration

A student, who is actively working on their thesis, must have completed a registration form and registered for either TH500 for the Master's Thesis or TH600 for the Doctoral Thesis or Dissertation.

Once students are registered in their thesis, both full-time and part-time students are required to re-register on a continuous basis for three terms (Fall, Winter, Summer) per academic year until completed (includes corrections), with an overall minimum thesis registration of not less than two terms.

6.3 Thesis Supervision

6.3.1 Master's Level Thesis

The student's research programme shall be under the direction of a thesis supervisor or co-supervisors. The supervisor or at least one of the co-supervisors shall be a full-time member of the student's major department and of the Graduate Faculty.

The thesis supervisor shall be appointed as early in the student's programme of studies as possible, consistent with the readiness of the student to elect the desired research topic and supervisor. Normally this is done by the end of the first year of full-time study in the Master's Programme.

6.3.2 Doctoral Level Thesis/ Dissertation

The student's research programme shall be under the direction of a thesis supervisor or co-supervisors. An Advisory Committee shall also be appointed, consisting of the supervisor or one of the co-supervisors as Chair and normally two other members, which will periodically review the progress of the research.

The thesis supervisor or at least one of the co-supervisors, and at least one other member of the Advisory Committee shall be full-time members of the student's major department and of the Graduate Faculty.

The appointments shall be approved by the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research upon the recommendation of the head of the major department.

The thesis supervisor(s) shall be appointed as early in the student's programme of studies as possible, consistent with the readiness of the student to elect the desired research topic and supervisor. Normally this is done by the end of the first year of full-time study. The remainder of the committee will be appointed either at the same time or as soon after as possible.

6.4 Doctoral Comprehensive Examination

The doctoral student will be required to pass a comprehensive examination, which may contain a number of both written and oral components. This examination is for the purpose of assessing a student's academic appreciation of the field of study and scholarly qualifications for the degree. The results of this examination determine whether or not the student will be permitted to continue in the programme. It is normally held after all coursework requirements are completed at the end of the first year and must be completed within 24 months of registration in the programme. An extension may be granted upon written request to the Graduate Studies Committee. The examination must be held at least one calendar year before the submission of the thesis. Under exceptional circumstances, and upon written request from the Head of the student's major department or programme, the Dean may waive the one year minimum requirement.

The student must register in CP600 Comprehensive Examination until its completion and pay appropriate tuition fees while studying to prepare for the examination.

The major department conducts the examination. The examining committee shall be chaired by the head of the major department or delegate, and will normally consist of the student's supervisor(s) and other members of the major department, as appointed by the examining committee chair. The method adopted for examination and evaluation, and the areas to be examined shall be specified by the major department. A thesis research proposal may form part of this examination.

The examining committee shall determine the result of the examination. If the result is not favourable, the examining committee may recommend to Faculty Council through the Graduate Studies Committee either that the examining committee reconvene at a later date to re-examine the student, or that the student be required to withdraw. Re-examination, if authorized, shall not take place before the elapse of at least three months, but no later than twelve months, from the date of the first examination. A 12 month extension of the 24 month limit is implicit in this authorization.

If the result is favourable the major department advises the Registrar and credit for the comprehensive examination is entered on the student's transcript as "AC" or "Accepted".

6.5 Doctoral Thesis/Dissertation Proposal

Where a thesis research proposal does not form part of the student's comprehensive examination, the student, under the supervision of his or her supervisor and upon satisfactory completion of the comprehensive examination, will present a thesis research proposal to the advisory committee for approval.

6.6 Examination of the Thesis (Master's and PhD)

The thesis will be examined by an Examining Committee appointed by the Dean of Graduate Studies. This committee will consist of:

  • A chair, appointed by the Dean, charged with the conduct of the Examination.
  • The Candidate's supervisor
  • Co-supervisors (if any)
  • A representative from the Graduate Faculty in the Candidate's Department or Programme.
  • An examiner, internal to the College, but not from the Candidate's Department or Programme. This examiner should have some general knowledge of the area of research of the thesis,
  • For a Doctoral Examination, an examiner, external to the College, who is an acknowledged expert in the subject matter of the thesis, either an academic qualified to supervise graduate student research, or industrial or military professional with normally a doctoral degree in the general field of study of the thesis,
  • For a Masters examination, an examiner who is an acknowledged expert in the subject matter of the thesis. This examiner may be a member of the Graduate Faculty, internal or external to the candidate's department or program, who has not collaborated with the candidate on the material presented on the thesis. Alternatively, an examiner external to the College and who meets the requirements for the Doctoral external examiner may be selected.

Committee members other than the chair are appointed by the Dean upon the recommendation of the supervisor and Head of Department or Programme. All members of the committee have voting privileges, with the exception of the Chair.

The supervisor will ensure that a copy of the thesis is delivered to each member of the thesis Examination Committee no later than two weeks prior to the oral examination of a Master's thesis, and three weeks prior to the oral examination of a PhD thesis. Specific departments or programmes may require longer lead times. The thesis will be provided to committee members in electronic format (PDF or equivalent). A paper copy of the thesis shall be provided to any committee member upon request.

The student shall then defend the thesis at a final examination, which will be conducted by the Division of Graduate Studies and Research, that will consist of an oral presentation by the student and an oral examination by the Examining Committee. The scope of the examination shall be limited to the subject and contents of the thesis, and subjects related to them. A written assessment from an external examiner will be required.

The public will normally be welcome to attend the oral presentation, where questions may be asked of the student, and the oral examination, at the discretion of the Chair, acting on the wishes of the student, where only the Examining Committee is permitted to ask questions.

Following the oral examination, the Examining Committee will decide if the candidate has successfully defended the thesis.

Security considerations for the research may require the final examination to be open only to the Examining Committee.

6.7 Acceptance of the Thesis

Acceptance of the thesis is based on the successful completion of the oral examination, and approval of the thesis document.

The Examining Committee will decide if the thesis document is acceptable, requires revision, or is rejected. A thesis is acceptable if no revisions or additional work relating to the thesis are required of the student. Should the thesis require revision, the Examining Committee shall determine if the revised thesis requires approval of the entire committee, a portion of the committee, or just the supervisor(s). A thesis requiring revision shall remain unaccepted until all revisions are completed and approved and the Supervisor has informed the Chair of the Examining committee of the approval. A rejected thesis may be revised and submitted once for re-examination, but not sooner than three (3) months from the time of its rejection.

A thesis whose revisions have not been submitted to the Supervisor within twelve (12) months of its oral examination will be deemed to be "abandoned". An "abandoned" thesis may be revised and re-submitted, but will require the formation of a new Examining Committee, and another oral examination.

6.8 Submission of Thesis Results

The thesis acceptance will be reported in writing by the Chair of the Thesis Examining Committee to the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research with a copy to the Registrar.

No grade, whether numerical or letter, will be assigned to a thesis credited toward a graduate degree. An accepted thesis will be recorded on the transcript as "AC" for "Accepted" for courses TH500 or TH600.

6.9 Reproduction of the Thesis

6.9.1 Procedure for Thesis Approval and Deposit

Following acceptance of the thesis, the candidate must submit a final copy, in PDF form, through RMC's eSpace electronic submission process. Where an electronic copy cannot be submitted (e.g., for classified theses or theses containing commercially sensitive information), permission must be sought from the Dean of Graduate Studies to submit a paper copy for secure archiving.

With the thesis, the candidate must submit one copy of the signed Library and Archives Canada Theses Non-exclusive License available from the Library's Binding of Theses for Graduate Students at RMC web page.

6.9.2 Bound Copies of the Thesis

The major department of the candidate will provide the Library with the two complete copies, ready for binding, conforming to the instructions regarding paper copies in the current Thesis Preparation Guidelines. These must be accompanied by a completed copy of the Thesis Binding Checklist available from the Library's Binding of Theses for Graduate Students at RMC web page. Once bound, these copies will be returned to the department for distribution to the candidate and primary supervisor. If the candidate or supervisor(s) require additional bound copies, they must make arrangements with the library and assume all costs relating to duplicating and binding of those copies.

6.9.3 Non-exclusive License to Publish

As mentioned in section 6.9.1, the candidate must complete the "Non-exclusive License to Reproduce Theses" form. The College Library will arrange for submission of the thesis to the National Library of Canada.

6.9.4 Copyright

The title page of the thesis will include the following statement at the foot of the page:

"This thesis may be used within the Department of National Defence but copyright for open publication remains the property of the author".

It is important here to note that copyrighted work by other authors, as well as publication of proprietary material or data, must not appear in thesis without proper reference and permission from the authors or companies involved.

6.9.5 Confidentiality Status

In general, the thesis is open to the public domain. However, there are cases where the whole thesis, or parts of it, includes protected information. These documents must be fully identified with appropriate warning messages, according to the procedures used in the Department of National Defence for protected and classified documents. If no such warning messages are displayed, the thesis is then considered as unclassified.

6.10 Convocation

A graduate student wishing to be considered as a candidate for receiving a Master's degree or a Doctoral degree at a particular Convocation will, no later than eight (8) full weeks before the date on which the Convocation is scheduled to be held:

  • Inform the Head of the major department in writing.
  • Complete an "Application to Graduate" form and submit it to the Office of the Registrar.

All requirements for the degree must be met by a date published by the Office of the Registrar, normally approximately four (4) weeks before the Convocation.

For each Graduate Degree student, the Graduate Studies Committee shall adjudicate whether or not the requirements for the degree have been met, and will report its recommendation to Faculty Council.

6.11 Publication of Results of Research

Publication of results of research is encouraged.

Agreement on publication must be reached between supervisor and graduate student prior to publication.

All CAF members are reminded that the provisions of Queen's Regulations and Orders for the Canadian Forces, Articles 19.36 and 19.37, govern publication of theses and journal articles.

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