Theses and reports

Master’s and Doctoral Theses and Reports

Thesis examinations for master’s and doctoral students are proceeding as normal, and we have not seen any interruptions in this process. We want to ensure you that your academic unit, SGS, and the examiners involved are all committed to a fair and timely review of your work. We also realize that, for many graduate students, covid-19 has require changes in research plans. You and your supervisor are invited to draft and submit a covid-19 impact statement along with your thesis, so your examiners are aware of significant changes that were required.

The information below is intended to help you draft and submit your thesis/report to fulfill your program requirements.

Before you submit:

Thesis and Report Guidelines (full document)

Additional resources and tools you might need or use:

Preparing for submission:

  • Here are all the steps involved in a Master's Thesis Examination Procedures and a Doctoral Thesis Examination and Oral Defence Procedures. You should discuss specific timelines with your supervisors.
  • Aim to submit your thesis for examination at least four months before the convocation you hope to atend. SGS does not accept any responsibility for completing the prescribed procedure in time for the nearest convocation date unless the thesis is submitted by the prescribed date.
  • If you are expecting to graduate, then you must apply through Memorial Self-Service at least by the time of submission of the thesis/report. Please consult the University Diary for the precise deadline.

Submitting for examination:

  • When you and your supervisor agree your thesis is ready to submit, ensure you send a word and a pdf version of the work to your graduate officer or academic unit head.
  • All theses submitted to SGS by the academic unit must be accompanied by a Supervisory Approval Form and either an Appointment of Examiners Form Master's Degrees or an Appointment of Examiners Form Doctoral Degrees. Although it is expected that, on the successful completion of all academic requirements, the student will submit a thesis to the Dean for examination with the approval of the supervisor and Head, the absence of such approval cannot prevent submission.
  • Information on the possible outcomes of a thesis examination, time limits for revisions, and re-examination procedures can be found in the University Calendar. Required revisions and corrections are made by you in consultation with the supervisory committee.  
  • The thesis examination is an arm’s-length process, therefore, there must be no contact between you or your supervisor and the examiners while a thesis or report is under examination.
  • You must maintain your graduate registration until all academic requirements for your degree including thesis corrections have been met.

Oral defence (doctoral students only):

  • In addition to a written thesis deemed acceptable to the University, doctoral students must demonstrate their ability to defend their work in a public oral examination. For this reason, the final decision on whether a student will be recommended for the award of the degree is made at the conclusion of the oral examination.
  • A formal oral defence will normally take place only with the recommendation of the majority of examiners.
  • The written examiners’ reports are discussed at the pre-oral meeting. The pre-meeting will last roughly 30 minutes and include the Chair, internal and external examiners, as well as supervisor(s) and committee members. The Chair will go over the defence procedure, examiner recommendation options, as well as answer any questions or inquiries by the attendees.
  • The subsequent examination is public and chaired by the Dean of Graduate Studies or delegate. In addition to the examining board, the supervisor(s) will participate in a non-voting capacity.
  • All oral defences are conducted as eDefences. Requests to fly external examiners to Memorial University are decided on a case-by-case basis.
  • Doctoral students should be prepared to give a 15-25 minute presentation outlining the major contributions made by the thesis. Following the student’s presentation, the Chair will direct at least two rounds of questions from the members of the examination board. After each round of questioning, the supervisor(s) will be asked if they want to contribute any questions/comments. The Chair will not permit questions or comments from anyone other than the members of the examining board and supervisor(s).
  • The Chair must be satisfied that the doctoral student has been thoroughly examined.
  • Doctoral students should be prepared to defend the contents of the thesis in its entirety. Questions relating to the detailed content of the thesis and/or the relation of the general body of knowledge of the discipline to the body of material presented in the thesis are permitted.
  • There will not be any time limits regarding questioning (minimum or maximum).
  • At the conclusion of the public portion of the examination, the members of the examination board hold an in camera meeting to evaluate the performance of the student. Only the voting members of the examining board may vote on the outcome of the thesis and oral defence.
  • Details on the oral defence and possible outcomes can be found in the University Calendar.
  • Students must maintain their graduate registration until all academic requirements for their degree including thesis corrections have been met.

Final submission:

  • The final version of a thesis found acceptable with or without corrections shall be submitted to the University within six months of the date on which the thesis and examiners’ reports are returned to the student’s academic unit.
  • For final submission, all graduate students are required to produce one electronic copy of their thesis to the Head of their academic unit.
  • The final version of your thesis should be in PDF/A (or PDF/A-1a) format (needed for the long-term archiving of electronic theses) and use the following naming convention: lastname_firstname_middlename_finalsubmissionmonthandyear_degree.pdf (e.g., Smith_John_James_122013_PhD.pdf).
  • Click here for instructions on how to convert files to PDF/A format. For further help, you may wish to contact Memorial’s Digital Media Centre.
  • Upon approval by the Head of the academic unit, please send the electronic copy of your thesis, along with any associated supplementary files, and a metadata file detailing your thesis information to We will confirm by email once you have successfully submitted your thesis.
  • All graduate students are required to consult with their supervisory committee and Head of their academic unit regarding any restrictions to publication of the thesis before final submission.
  • If required, a completed should be uploaded along with the thesis as a supplementary file.
  • In cases where file size exceeds 500MB files may be submitted on DVD or CD. The disc sleeve should note student name, student number, degree program, and the academic unit. A completed Thesis Deposit Form must be included with CD/DVD submissions.
  • At the time of e-thesis submission, a completed Recommendation for the Award of a Graduate Degree form should be submitted to SGS by the Head of the academic unit.
  • Students must maintain their graduate registration until all academic requirements for their degree including thesis corrections have been met.


  • Graduate student theses are stored and preserved electronically through Memorial University Libraries’ Research Repository. A graduate student’s thesis is deposited only after a degree is conferred at Convocation in May or October. Documents in the Research Repository are searchable by the general public directly or via search engines like Google.
  • Memorial University also participates in the Theses Canada program. Library and Archives Canada routinely harvests graduate student theses for storage in a central, publically searchable database.
  • Graduate students interested in obtaining personal bound copies of their final thesis may order directly from Lehmann Bookbinding.