Thesis Defence

Students should consult the library thesis assistance resources early on in their thesis writing process. Students should also be aware of the Graduate General Regulations concerning examination (defence) policy and procedures. The Graduate Program Assistant (GPA) will guide students and faculty through the steps necessary to ensure timely and correct completion of the defence and thesis submission processes.

Students and supervisors should consult with the GPA early in the semester in which the defence will be held. The GPA must follow Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (GPS) policy and submit documentation as follows:

  • PhD defence documentation no less than 7 weeks prior to anticipated defence date
  • MSc defence documentation no less than 5 weeks prior to anticipated defence date

Submission after the above dates may result in GPS requiring rescheduling of the defence.

Forms for Students & Supervisors


PhD Approval of Examining Committee (for defence)

PhD Defence Checklist & Deadlines


MSc Approval of Examining Committee (for defence)

MSc Defence Checklist & Deadlines

Please note, supervisor(s) is responsible for securing the room. Please make sure 'Location' on the Examining Committee form is filled out before submitting to GPA.

Defence Procedures:

Thesis Submission Resources for Students:

Certificate "With Distinction"

In order to recognize the superior quality of certain MSc and PhD theses and defences, the examining committee has the option of awarding the certificate "With Distinction" from the Department of Mathematics. While discussing the classification of the thesis as per General Graduate Regulations, the examining committee should additionally evaluate the quality of the thesis and defence in the following nine categories:


(1) mastery of theory and concepts,
(2) mathematical sophistication,
(3) originality and significance, and
(4) quality of writing;


(5) presentation content,
(6) presentation organization,
(7) speaking skills,
(8) visual aids, and
(9) response to questioning.

The input of the external examiner (when present) and the senior supervisor will be critical in forming the evaluations in the categories of mathematical sophistication and originality and significance. The expected levels of sophistication, originality, and significance are considerably higher for a PhD thesis than for an MSc thesis. The level of contribution of the senior supervisor to thesis content will also be taken into account by the examining committee.

The certificate "With Distinction" should be awarded if

  • thesis and defence meet expectations in all nine categories above;
  • the thesis exceeds expectations in at least two of the categories (1) through (4); and
  • the defence exceeds expectations in at least three of the categories (5) through (9).

To assist in evaluating of the quality of the thesis and defense, the Thesis Evaluation Rubric and Defence Evaluation Rubric will be used.