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Thesis Document and Defense

Students are required to submit a written thesis no later than August 31 of second year for Full-Time Students; as per plan of study for Part-Time Students. They are also required to defend the thesis at an oral presentation to the Department; see The Thesis Submission section below for submission of Thesis Scheduling Form (~mid-August).

A thesis supervisor’s main responsibility is to ensure the thesis is written according to Departmental standards. Students are encouraged to take advantage of other Queen’s resources such as the Writing Centre and the School of Graduate Studies’ Dissertation boot camp as well as online resources:

Thesis Formatting and Other Resources
Prepare for your oral examination
Final Submission

All graduate theses or dissertations MUST conform to the minimum style and form requirements as detailed in the General Forms and Theses.  Two types of thesis documents are permitted: 1) traditional thesis; and 2) manuscript-based thesis.

Departmental Standards for the Manuscript Style:

Theses presented in the manuscript format must include at least one manuscript that is a full (as opposed to "brief" or "short") original research article. Manuscripts included as chapters may be review, methodological or empirical (quantitative/ qualitative) papers. The number of manuscripts included in this thesis format and their length/breadth is left to the discretion of the candidate and their committee. It is not necessary for the candidate to have published the manuscript(s) prior to the thesis defence, or even have submitted the manuscript(s) for publication at that time. Additional/supplementary Methods and Results that are not covered in the manuscripts, but are important to the overall thesis presentation, may be (optionally) added in a separate chapter. Alternatively, these may be added in an Appendix.

  1. Choice of Manuscript Style: Candidates wishing to adopt the manuscript style should indicate their intentions at the outline and/or proposal stages of their thesis project. This requirement will assist the Department in providing the best possible advice to the candidate at an early stage of the thesis project. Students (in consultation with their supervisors) are free to change the format of their thesis to either of the approved options (general or manuscript formats) at any stage of thesis development, irrespective of what was initially planned or proposed.
  2. Co-authorship: The statement of co-authorship is mandatory. Its purpose is simply to provide the reader with a clear description of the candidate’s contribution to each manuscript contained in the thesis. In situations where multiple authors are involved in the preparation of the manuscript(s), the role that each author took in the development/ writing of the manuscript(s) must be described. This statement should be endorsed by the candidate and their supervising committee. The primary author on at least one manuscript must be the candidate. Manuscripts on which the supervisor or another person is first author may be included in the thesis (to accommodate collaborative research settings). However, the candidate is expected to have made a substantial contribution to each manuscript included. This contribution must be outlined in the "Co-authorship" statement. All co-authors will be required to have signed the PERMISSION OF CO-AUTHORS FORM before the defence.
  3. Standards for Examination: Upon examination, the overall thesis document will be subject to the traditional standards of the department. This will include assessment of whether the thesis document is a coherent piece of work, and that the same breadth of information as is required for the traditional format is conveyed. Theses written in the manuscript form will be subject to the policies of the Graduate School upon examination. Three outcome categories for theses are available: passed, referred, or failed. The manuscripts contained in the thesis will not be examined based upon a peer-review standard. This means that each manuscript does not have to be of publishable quality in order for the thesis to obtain a pass rating. The outcome of the thesis defence will not be influenced by a journal’s decision to accept or reject the manuscript(s) for publication.
  4. Structure of Thesis: The thesis must be structured according to the following outline.