Program Completion

Thesis Defense (MSc Students)

Upon the recommendation of the thesis advisory committee, the supervisor may call for a MSc thesis defense.

The student will submit a MSc Final Defense Request Form to the LMP Graduate Office at least four weeks before the planned date. The student will prepare the thesis and distribute a hard copy to the members of his/her examination committee at least two weeks before the examination.  The student will also send instructions to the Defense Chair.  Theses that do not conform to the guidelines specified by the SGS will not be accepted. Click here for SGS Thesis Guidelines.

At the examination, the student will give a 20 minute presentation of his/her research. The committee will examine the student on his/her research and general knowledge. The student should be prepared to discuss the background knowledge and techniques as well as defend the scientific aspects of the research.

After the formal examination, the student will withdraw from the room. The Committee will then discuss the student's examination, written proposal, academic record, and progress in research. A recommendation to award the MSc degree will not pass if there is more than one negative vote or abstention.

Examination Committee

The student and MSc supervisor can choose one of two options for the composition of the examination committee:

Option 1: The Defense Chair is a member of the LMP graduate faculty who is not a member of the advisory committee.  The student and MSc supervisor are responsible for securing an LMP graduate faculty member as the Defense Chair.  The remainder of the Examination Committee is composed of the student’s advisory committee.

Option 2: The Defense Chair is a member of the LMP graduate faculty AND a member of the advisory committee.  In this case, the student and MSc supervisor are responsible for securing a graduate faculty member from any University Department (including LMP) to serve as a member of the Examination Committee.  The remainder of the Examination Committee is composed of the student’s advisory committee.

See the Forms page for the Final Defense Request Form, and MSc Departmental Committee Defense Report. Click here for Defense Chair Instructions.

Recommendation to SGS

After successful completion of the final examination within the graduate department and before submission of the thesis to the School of Graduate Studies, the student's supervisor must notify the Department, in writing, that corrections of the final thesis and all requirements have been completed.  The Department will then forward the Degree Recommendation.

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Final Oral Examination (PhD Students)

PhD students continue to pay fees until they submit final corrections to the thesis. Therefore, they should allow for several months more involvement after the initial submission of the completed thesis.

To facilitate the department in compiling information for PhD Final Oral Examinations, please complete the PhD Final Oral Exam Booking Request Form and return it to the graduate office.

See the Forms page for the Oral Exam Booking Request Form.

Final Oral Examination Timeline

3 to 6 Months before the Exam

  • In consultation with the Advisory Committee, the student and Supervisor set a tentative date for the FOE and Choose the members for the Internal Thesis Review Committee.  This committee consists of the Supervisor, Advisory Committee members, and two Internal/External reviewers.  Internal/External reviewers must be: (1) U of T Faculty holding SGS membership (Associate or Full), (2) knowledgeable in the research area of the thesis and (3) not involved in the design or execution of the thesis project.
  • After the Supervisor has reviewed and approved the thesis draft, the student then distributes the thesis draft to the other members of the Internal Thesis Review Committee.  When all members of the Committee have agreed that the thesis is acceptable (pending minor changes) the Supervisor informs the LMP Graduate Coordinator, and requests a waiver of the Departmental PhD defense.
  • Departmental PhD defenses are to scheduled in consultation with the graduate coordinator.

8 Weeks before Exam

  • After the internal thesis review is completed, and the Departmental defense waiver approved, the Supervisor submits the names of three (3) potential U of T External Appraisers to the LMP Graduate Coordinator, who will vet the selections and recommend one to serve on the FOE committee.  Note – at this stage the Supervisor can unofficially contact the recommended External Appraiser to confirm her/ his availability for the upcoming FOE;  if unavailable, an alternate selection for External will be made.
  • When a nominee for External Appraiser has been confirmed, the student and Supervisor should finalize the list of FOE Voting Members.  This list will be submitted to the Vice-Dean, Programs at SGS for approval, and should contain the names of: (a) 2 to 3 Advisory Committee members, (b) the 2 Internal/ Externals, and (c) the nominated External Appraiser.  Note – the maximum number of Voting Members at the FOE is six;  a quorum is four Voting Members, two of whom must not have been involved with the thesis project
  • The student forwards to the LMP Graduate Office an FOE Booking Request form with contact information of the FOE Committee members.  The completed form is submitted to SGS for final approval from the Vice-Dean (normally received within 1 – 2 days).  Following approval of the FOE Committee, SGS selects non-voting Chair (a U of T graduate faculty member from another Department) who will oversee the exam proceedings.

6-8 Weeks before the Exam

  • When the FOE Committee has been approved by SGS, the student must send a copy of the thesis to the External Appraiser at least six weeks, and preferably longer, in advance of the examination date.

14 - 16 Days before the Exam

  • The appraisals should reach the LMP Graduate Office by this time. The Graduate Office will immediately send the copies of the appraisals (at least two weeks before the examination date) to the Department for distribution to the candidate and the other examiners.
  • If the External’s final recommendation in the appraisal is against thesis acceptance, the FOE will be automatically cancelled.
  • The appraisal is not to be discussed by the candidate or members of the FOE Committee until the examination takes place, nor should it be distributed beyond that group and the relevant administrative officers.

Exam Day

  • The candidate will meet with the FOE Committee, present a 20 minute summary of the thesis research, and be asked to respond to the External's criticisms as well as to issues raised by the other examiners.
  • The FOE Committee will vote on whether the oral defense is satisfactory, and whether the written thesis is acceptable, both in content and scholarship. The Committee then decides whether the thesis can be accepted as is, or requires minor corrections or modifications.  The FOE Chair will decide if a sub-committee is required to approve thesis revisions. 

Recommendation to SGS

Before submission of the thesis to the School of Graduate Studies, the Graduate Department must be notified, in writing, by the Supervisor that the corrections or modifications recommended for the thesis have been completed.

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Thesis Submission Guidelines

Students submit the final thesis to SGS online - see details on the SGS website. (Note: The LMP Department does not require a copy of the final thesis.) Students may request to Restrict Thesis Release for up to two years after convocation.

Theses must be submitted with the appropriate forms and according to the SGS Guidelines before the specified convocation deadline (October, January or April). Thesis submission forms are available from the SGS website.


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