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As outlined and further detailed in the School of Graduate Studies' Student's Guide to Thesis Preparation, Examination Procedures and Regulations,  a doctoral thesis should be based on extensive research in primary sources, provide a critical review of the current state of knowledge of the thesis subject, make a significant and original contribution to knowledge, and be presented in a manner that conceptually and formally accords with scholarly standards.

To achieve these goals a thesis may be formatted as a conventional Chapter-based thesis, a Research-Creation thesis, or a Manuscript-based thesis. The thesis is traditionally a written document, but all theses may include non-textual material to supplement or illustrate aspects of the student’s work. Non-textual material to be included in the thesis must be in a recorded format and submitted with the text document for examination. Nonrecorded materials are not part of the thesis but may be included as part of the defence.

PhD Dissertation with Studio Component (Research-Creation)

Humanities PhD students may produce a research-creation thesis with the approval of the student’s advisory committee and the Humanities Program Director. As an interdisciplinary program that encourages innovative research, the Humanities program recognizes diverse modes of scholarly and creative expression and considers such diversity intrinsic to the structure of the program.

In accordance with the School of Graduate Studies' Student's Guide to Thesis Preparation, Examination Procedures and Regulations, a research-creation thesis normally comprises two synthesized components: a creative production component (which may be presented in a variety of media, communicative, or performative platforms) and a written scholarly component of at least 150 - 200 pages. The written scholarly component of the research-creation thesis should demonstrate substantial knowledge of the relevant scholarly literature, consider methodological issues, and present a contribution to knowledge. In addition, the research-creation thesis must demonstrate knowledge of prevailing practices and precedents in the practical field of activity in which the creative production component situates itself, and may reflect on the production process. Both the creative-practice and written scholarly components will be considered integral parts of the research-creation doctoral thesis, and whenever possible will be deposited together.

Procedure for thesis defence


Steps for Arranging a Defence

1.      Once the major field supervisor and two minor field advisors are in agreement that the dissertation is ready for submission and defence, the student submits the thesis and informs the Humanities director and administrative assistant. See SGS information on thesis submission.

·         Please note: When depositing your thesis into Spectrum, please follow these two steps: i) ensure that you have selected “Humanities: Interdisciplinary Studies” under the appropriate Faculty (Arts and Science or Fine Arts depending on the affiliation of your major field supervisor); ii) then hold the [CTRL] key and click to select the Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies in Society and Culture under the Research Units. This way your thesis will have greater visibility on Spectrum, appearing under both CISSC and the appropriate Faculty.

2.      Shortly before submission of the thesis, the student’s supervisor provides the Humanities director and administrative assistant with the names of all 6 members of the thesis defence committee (with the CV of the external examiner attached), and the date/time for the defence to which the student and the six committee members have agreed. Please allow a minimum of 6 weeks between the time readers receive the thesis and the scheduled defence.

3.      The six-member dissertation defence committee is comprised of:

  • The three members of the student’s advisory committee (the major field supervisor and two minor field advisors);
  • A Concordia internal examiner: a full-time Concordia faculty member who has been approached by the student’s supervisor and has agreed to serve; 
  • An external examiner: a full time faculty member at the rank of professor or associate professor at another university who is a specialist in a field related to the student’s thesis. The initial approach to the external examiner could be by the student’s supervisor or the Humanities director. The School of Graduate Studies also sends a formal invitation outlining the details of both the defence and the honorarium of $300.
  • A full-time Concordia faculty member who has agreed to serve as Chair of the defence.

4.      The supervisor will let the Humanities director and administrative assistant know if there are any members of the thesis defence committee who cannot be physically present at the defence.

5.      The Humanities program then provides the SGS Thesis office with the Doctoral Thesis Committee form listing all the members and the date/time for the defence. The SGS Thesis office secures a room (unless the supervisor has indicated a room they would like to use) and organizes the defence. 

The Thesis Defence, Submission to Spectrum, and After

Students are encouraged to consult SGSs web pages on the six steps required for defending a doctoral thesis, to get an overview of the entire process. It is important to carefully read through Step 4 Thesis defence, with special attention to the section on Post defence.

Depending on the outcome of the defence, student may have to make minor or major modifications to their thesis before Step 5 Spectrum submission (electronic submission of the final thesis). A thesis grade cannot be submitted by HUMA until the student has confirmed with SGS and HUMA that the final submission has been uploaded on Spectrum. Students should also note that each step requires processing time, and entry of the thesis grade require coordination between SGS, HUMA and other offices on campus.

Finally, please note the Humanities PhD program changed some sections of its curriculum in 2017. Students in the pre-2017 curriclum stream have their Thesis coded as HUMA 890 (54 credits), while after 2017 it is coded as Thesis HUMA 895 (57 credits)



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