Theses and reports

Master’s and Doctoral Theses

Students in certain master’s programs and all doctoral programs at Memorial University are required to submit a thesis or equivalent paper that describes their research. The following steps are intended to help you draft and submit your thesis to fulfill those program requirements.

The following steps outline the submission process for your thesis.

1.     Formatting your thesis

2.     Preparing for submission

  • Full details on the steps leading to a master’s thesis examination and a doctoral thesis examination are available online. Students should discuss specific timelines with their supervisors.
  • Graduate students should submit their thesis for examination at least four months before the convocation at which awarding of the degree is expected. 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.
  • Students in their graduating year must apply to the Registrar to be admitted to a Degree or awarded a Diploma. Please consult the University Diary for precise deadlines and consult with the Office of the Registrar’s graduation website.

3.     Submitting for examination

  • Students should submit to the supervisor a copy of the thesis in the department's preferred format.
  • All theses submitted to SGS by the academic unit must be in PDF format, and must be accompanied by a Supervisory Committee Approval Form and either an Appointment of Examiners Form Master's Degrees or an Appointment of Examiners Form Doctoral Degrees. The Appointment of Examiners form should be accompanied by an up-to-date publication list. Examiners must not have been involved in the research or in the preparation of the thesis. 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.
  • Full details on the master’s thesis examination procedures and doctoral thesis examination and oral defence procedures are available online.
  • 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 the student in consultation with the supervisory committee.  
  • The thesis examination is an arm’s-length process, therefore, there should be no contact between the supervisor or student and the examiners while a thesis or report is under examination.
  • Students must maintain their graduate registration until all academic requirements for their degree including thesis corrections have been met.

4.     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 15-30 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.

5.     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 format (needed for the long-term archiving of electronic theses) and use the following naming convention: Lastname_GivenNames_masterORdoctoral.pdf
    (e.g., Walsh_DonaldFrancis_doctoral.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.
  • Once approved by the Head of the academic unit, the electronic copy of the thesis and any associated supplementary files should be uploaded to the University Library using the e-thesis submission form on portal. A confirmation email will be sent to your email account 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 Request to Include Copyright Material form 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.

6.     Publication

  • Graduate student theses are stored and preserved electronically through Memorial University Libraries’ Digital Archives Initiative (DAI) or Research Repository. A graduate student’s thesis is deposited only after a degree is conferred at Convocation in May or October. Documents hosted on the DAI and 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.




School of Graduate Studies

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Tel: (709) 864-8000