A thesis is the final report on a comprehensive research program that meets accepted scholarly criteria and is of a cohesive, unitary character. All written components of a thesis must meet the scholarly requirements of the research discipline and be formatted in accordance with the Thesis Preparation Guide.
If it is necessary to include non-text materials in a thesis, the content must conform to standard usage in the student’s field of research, and be in a format that allows for submission via Spectrum: Concordia University’s Research Repository.
The student’s supervisor shall fully inform the student of any and all contractual obligation(s), as they may pertain to the student, which may affect the public defence and/or publication of his/her thesis.
In order to meet a particular graduation date, a student must submit his/her thesis to the Thesis Office at any time before the specified deadline set out in the Academic Calendar. It should be noted that some programs have established deadlines earlier than those of the Thesis Office. The initial submission of the thesis to the Thesis Office begins the official examination process.
A thesis submitted to the Thesis Office must be ready for formal evaluation according to requirements set out in the Thesis Preparation Guide. Any deviations from the stated requirements must have prior written approval of the Dean of Graduate Studies.
The student’s supervisor shall review the thesis before the initial formal submission to the Thesis Office. In the event that the student and supervisor cannot reach an agreement on the readiness of the thesis for submission, the Graduate Program Director and the Dean of Graduate Studies may be required to arbitrate. Although it is not recommended, the student has the right to defend his/her thesis without the supervisor’s approval.
At Concordia, theses are normally written in English. However, a student who intends to submit their thesis in French must inform their supervisor when submitting the thesis topic for the supervisor’s approval. In the event that a student wishes to submit his/her thesis in a language other than English or French, where the program does not have prior approval, the thesis supervisor must make such a recommendation, with an appropriate justification, to the Graduate Studies Committee when the student’s thesis topic is submitted for approval. The decision of the Departmental Graduate Studies Committee on such a recommendation shall be communicated to the Thesis Office. Students in the MA Hispanic Studies program may write their thesis in Spanish.
A thesis written in a language other than English or French must include a comprehensive summary of its contents. This comprehensive summary/description must be written in English or French and appear after the abstract. The summary must be between 3-6 pages for master's and 10-20 pages for doctoral as appropriate. Students in the MA Hispanic Studies program may write their thesis in Spanish and must also include a summary in English or French.
The PhD programs in Business Administration, Art History, and Religion must adhere to the thesis requirements and guidelines at Concordia.
The doctoral thesis examination is the culmination of the student’s program. It exposes his/her research and thesis to scholarly criticism and gives the student the opportunity to defend it. The thesis defence is an oral examination conducted by the Chair of the Examining Committee who shall be the Dean of Graduate Studies or his/her delegate. Any member of the University can attend a doctoral defence. Contractual and/or legal obligations may necessitate that all participants to a thesis defence sign an undertaking of confidentiality.
The Examining Committee consists of at least five (5) members. At least one (1) must be from outside the student’s department but from within the University (external-to-program examiner) and one (1) from outside the University (external examiner). In programs where there is a Thesis Supervisory Committee, any or all members of this committee may be named as members of the Examining Committee, subject to the practices of the relevant program. The student’s supervisor(s) must be a member of the Examining Committee. Co-author(s) of work included in the thesis cannot serve as an examiner for that thesis except for the supervisor(s).
The student’s program is responsible for ensuring that the proposed date of the thesis defence is agreeable to all members of the Examining Committee prior to submitting the Doctoral Thesis Examination Committee Form. An electronic copy of the thesis and the approved Doctoral Thesis Examination Committee Form must be submitted to the Thesis Office no later than six (6) weeks (eight (8) weeks for Engineering) prior to the date of the defence. An electronic copy of the thesis remains with the School of Graduate Studies, where it is made available for examination by any member of the University. Contractual and/or legal obligations may necessitate that all participants to a thesis defence sign an undertaking of confidentiality.
Questions on a thesis by members of the University, other than those on the Examining Committee, must be submitted in writing to the Dean of Graduate Studies no later than seven (7) days prior to the date of the thesis defence.
The relevant Graduate Studies Committee renders a decision on whether the student has fulfilled the requirements of the doctoral degree based on the Examining Committee Report and its own records of the student’s progress in his/her assigned program of study. Where the relevant Graduate Studies Committee has assessed that the student has fulfilled the requirements of the doctoral degree, it shall request that the Dean of Graduate Studies recommends to the Council of the School of Graduate Studies that the doctoral degree be awarded. The Council of the School of Graduate Studies shall make a recommendation to Senate for the awarding of the doctoral degree. Once such a recommendation has been passed by Senate, the electronic version of the thesis may be made available to the public via Spectrum: Concordia University’s Research Repository.
At any time, the Dean of Graduate Studies may bring before the Council of the School of Graduate Studies any matter that may affect the acceptance of the thesis or the award of the doctoral degree.
Procedures related to presentation, question period and deliberations of the defence can be found in the Thesis Preparation Guide.
The Graduate Studies Committee of the student’s program, in consultation with his/her supervisor, appoints an Examining Committee. The Examining Committee consists of a minimum of two (2) members, including the supervisor(s). The student’s supervisor(s) must be a member of the Examining Committee. The Examining Committee must also include a member who is not in a supervisory relationship with the student. Co-author(s) of work included in the thesis cannot serve as an examiner for that thesis except for the supervisor(s). Following evaluation of the thesis, the Examining Committee will arrive at a decision to either Accept or Reject. When an Examining Committee composed of two faculty members renders a split decision, the Graduate Program Director (or Departmental Chair when appropriate) will adjudicate. Once the Examining Committee has arrived at a final decision, it is the responsibility of the Graduate Program to forward to the Thesis Office, generally within 3 weeks from the initial submission of the thesis, a completed Master’s Thesis Evaluation Report that reflects the final decision of the Examining Committee.
An oral defence of a Master’s thesis is not required by the School of Graduate Studies. Programs may elect to have an oral defence as a degree requirement (please see individual program entries in the Calendar).
The decision of the Examining Committee is based both on the thesis and on the student’s ability to defend it. At the PhD defence, an Oral Presentation Form must be completed and signed by the Chair. It is the responsibility of the Chair of the Examining Committee to ensure that an Examining Committee Report is prepared and signed by all members of the Examining Committee before this Committee adjourns. The Examining Committee Report must include the written reports of absent and dissenting Examining Committee members. It is the responsibility of the Chair of the Examining Committee to report to the Dean of Graduate Studies on the conduct of the examination.
The Examining Committee can render one (1) of four (4) decisions, subject to a vote of majority. Members of the examining committee may not abstain from voting. The thesis can be:
- accepted as submitted which may include editorial or formatting corrections;
- accepted with minor modifications defined as corrections which can be made immediately and to the satisfaction of the supervisor;
- accepted with major modifications: the Examining Committee Report shall include a precise description of the modifications along with a date for their completion of no more than six months. The Examining Committee shall examine the modified thesis and by majority vote determine if the modifications specified in the Examining Committee Report have been completed to the Examining Committee’s satisfaction. If they have, the thesis may be accepted and the supervisor will confirm the Examining Committee’s approval to the Thesis Office. It is not necessary for the Examining Committee to reconvene. If the Examining Committee is not satisfied that the specified modifications have been made, then the Examining Committee must reconvene to decide if the thesis is rejected or an additional period of modifications is to be granted. The Chair shall report in writing to the Dean of Graduate Studies the outcome of the Examining Committee meeting; or
- rejected: such a thesis may be re-submitted only once, in revised form; such a re-submission can only be made six (6) months or more from the date of the Examining Committee report. Formal re-submission of a thesis follows the same procedure as an initial submission.
If the Examining Committee is unable to reach a decision concerning the thesis at the time of the defence, it is the responsibility of its Chair to determine what is required by the Examining Committee to reach a decision; make the necessary arrangements to fulfill any requirements of the Examining Committee; and promptly call another meeting and inform the student that the Examining Committee’s decision is pending. The student is not normally required to be present at the second meeting of the Examining Committee.
The primary goal of Concordia University is the dissemination of knowledge. To achieve this goal, the university makes all theses available to the general public via Spectrum, the Library Repository. Spectrum is a widely indexed, searchable database and its contents are readily available to the public via the internet.
A student must submit the final version of the thesis electronically, using Spectrum. The final version of the thesis must include any required modifications requested by the Examining Committee and any revisions requested by the Thesis Office. The student is responsible for the final electronic submission of his/her thesis.
Upon final submission of his/her thesis, a student shall be deemed to have granted the University a non-exclusive, royalty-free license to reproduce, archive, preserve, conserve, communicate to the public by telecommunication or on the internet, loan, and distribute the thesis worldwide for non-commercial purposes, in any format. Please refer to the University’s Policy on Intellectual Property.
If there is a good reason for delaying public access to a thesis, an approved embargo may be placed on the publication of the thesis. The deferment is for up to two (2) years but under exceptional circumstances may be renewed. The abstract and bibliographic information is not embargoed and is therefore still available to the public. In the event of a deferment, it is understood that the University’s license to communicate, loan and/or distribute shall only take effect as of the expiry of the deferment period. Please refer to the University’s Policy on Intellectual Property.
Members of the Concordia community are users of copyrighted materials and, as such, are subject to copyright legislation. Compliance with the Copyright Act and the University’s Policy on Copyright Compliance is a student’s responsibility. Failure to comply with the Copyright Act is a violation of federal legislation and may result in legal repercussions and/or disciplinary or other action by the University. Beyond any legal responsibility, a student must consider his/her ethical obligations to respect intellectual property rights.
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