Format of Thesis and Thesis Oral Defense Preparation

Preparing For Your Thesis Oral Exam

The Graduate Subcommittee has reviewed the process for notification of oral thesis exams, and we have decided to make a slight revision to accommodate our growing numbers within SKHS and to align with requirements for SGS.

Effective January 1st, 2021, we will be requiring:

  1. Supervisors to send notice to the SKHS Graduate Assistant by sending a completed Oral Exam Form by email to 15 working days prior to the scheduled date for Master’s and 30 working days prior to the scheduled exam date for PhD.  This allows for pre-exam formatting and Chair and Head’s Delegate selection, if required. Please note the onus is on the Supervisor to select the date and time of the exam with the committee BEFORE submitting the form to the Grad Office.
  2. If the Supervisor needs help finding a Chair or a Head’s Delegate, please note this in the email so that the Graduate Assistant can elicit support from faculty members.
  3. The Graduate Assistant will then forward the complete Oral exam form to the School of Graduate Studies along with an up to date transcript (indicating all courses have been completed) and a copy of the student’s Core Ethics Certificate.
  4. The Graduate Student should submit a PDF/Word copy of the thesis to the School of Graduate Studies by sending an email to (please copy a minimum of 10 working days before the date of the scheduled exam.  The SKHS Graduate Assistant will forward a copy of the thesis to the Oral Exam Committee.

Note – Oral thesis examinations are normally open, meaning that all members of the Queen’s community may attend. Visitors may attend an open oral thesis examination at the invitation of both the candidate and the supervisor(s), which must be made at least one week prior to the scheduled date of the oral thesis examination. The Head of the Department/Program must be informed of any visitors who have been invited to the oral thesis examination. 

It is preferred that all examiners and the candidate being examined are physically present at Queen’s University for the oral thesis examination. However, in certain circumstances, it is acceptable for the oral thesis examination to be scheduled so that a member or members, or all members, and/or the candidate being examined could participate in the oral thesis examination remotely. Arrangements for the use of remote access services must be made by the graduate department/program.

Corrections to Thesis Document

Students may not provide corrections to their thesis after it has been submitted to the examining committee in preparation for the oral defense.  If the edit is substantial, i.e. a page or more affecting the examiner’s ability to understand the document, it may be granted on a one-off basis.  Arrangements may be made via the SKHS Graduate Assistant.

Instructions and Forms for Students

PhD Oral Exam Form PDF

Thesis Printing Instructions

SKHS Format of Thesis Traditional

SKHS Format of Thesis by Manuscript

SGS Thesis Formatting, Naming and Other Instructions

Permission of Co-Authors Form  (instructions are sent directly to student via email once their defense has been confirmed)

Instructions for Supervisors, Examiners, and Chairs on Master’s Oral Defenses

An email is sent by the SKHS Thesis Coordinator to the Supervisor, Examiners, and Chair via email referring to the appropriate form below:

Examiners Regulations for Master’s Oral Examination

Chairs Checklist for Master’s Oral Examination

SKHS Head’s Delegate Role and Responsibilities

Definitions for Pass/Referred/Fail Outcome on a  Master’s Defense

SGS Regulations on Thesis Oral Defense Outcomes

A copy of these regulations is provided to the Chair as part of the oral defense package provided 3 days prior to the oral defense date.

Other Information and Instructions

Instructions and Procedures re Examiners Absence from Oral Defense