DEPARTMENTAL AND UNIVERSITY THESIS PROCEDURE
MASTER’S AND PHD STUDENTS
The School of Graduate Studies has forms, regulations and information regarding thesis preparation; these are available from the School of Graduate Studies website http://graduate.mcmaster.ca/current-students/completing-your-degree/649-step1-write.
Guidelines re Response Time for Ph.D. and Masters Theses
Supervisors should respond to the draft of a thesis within 2 months. Providing comments on individual chapters will take proportionately less time. Very long theses or chapters may take more time. There are busy periods within the academic year when the time taken to provide comments might be a bit longer than this norm. However, in no case should the response time exceed 3 months.
For Master's theses the corresponding times are 1 month and 2 months
Inclusion of Separate Publications in Graduate Theses
If some of the research undertaken expressly for the degree has previously been published or prepared for publication by the author of the thesis as one or more journal articles, or parts of books, those items may be included within the thesis subject to specific Graduate Studies regulations and after obtaining permission from the supervisory committee. The School of Graduate Studies regulations concerning the inclusion of previously published/prepared material in theses together with the suggested form of the permission request are available from the Graduate Studies website.
The administration of the M.A.Sc. thesis defence and the M. Eng. project examinations is the responsibility of the Department. We recommend that the thesis follow the format described by Graduate Studies “Guide for the Preparation of Master’s and Doctoral Theses” at http://graduate.mcmaster.ca/images/files/Guide_for_the_Preparation_of_Theses_May2011.pdf
Please note that the project reports for the M.Eng. degree follows the M.A.Sc. thesis guidelines but are usually smaller in scope and length. Each thesis must include an abstract of not more than 300 words. The student is responsible for ensuring that the format satisfies the University requirements. The sequence of events is as follows:
- The student's supervisor gives him/her permission to prepare his/her thesis. The student is responsible for submitting a thesis, which is reasonably free of grammatical, typographical and technical errors. If the thesis is found to contain an excessive number of errors, it will be returned to the student and the oral examination postponed until a satisfactory thesis has been resubmitted.
- It is strongly recommended that a student submit a first draft of his/her thesis, acceptable to the supervisor, before taking up full time employment. Past experience has shown that students who do not follow this recommendation are seriously delayed in completing their thesis, and in some cases do not ever graduate.
- The student's advisor(s) and two other faculty members, one of whom may be from a department other than Chemical Engineering, sit as an examining committee for the candidate. The Chair with the advice of the research supervisor appoints the examining committee. After the seminar presentation the examining committee conducts an examination of the candidate on his/her thesis. The seminar presentation and this examination constitute the oral examination of the candidate.
- Upon successful completion of this examination, the candidate is requested to correct any misprints that may exist in the thesis, and to submit the thesis to the School of Graduate Studies.
- Upon completion of all degree requirements, the student is required to "sign out" from the Department. A checklist is available in the office.
- Financial assistance for preparation of the master’s thesis may be available for additional copies if requested by the advisor.
Students close to submitting their Ph.D. thesis (about 2 months) should complete on-line the Thesis Defence System (TDS). You will be asked for your thesis title and estimated date to submit your thesis. Under separate cover, your supervisor will be asked to submit the name of an external examiner which must be approved by your supervisory committee and department. A final date and time of the defence will be scheduled and approved by the student, supervisory committee and external examiner. The student will then submit three hard copies of the thesis to the School of Graduate Studies.
Length of Ph.D. Thesis
Doctoral students and their supervisors should keep in mind that theses of extraordinary length are to be discouraged. The preparation of a lengthy Ph.D. thesis almost certainly extends the time that the student takes to complete his or her degree. As a general rule, doctoral students are urged to limit theses to no greater length than three hundred (300) manuscript pages. In cases where students and their supervisors believe that responsible scholarly treatment of the thesis topic requires substantially greater length than that specified above, they are expected to receive written approval from the Associate Dean of Graduate Studies before the thesis is submitted for the defence.
A thesis may be submitted at any time. However there are two deadlines for the submission of the Ph.D. thesis to Graduate Studies for binding & complete degree requirements for Autumn or Spring Convocation. For 2011-2012, the dates are September 28, 2011 and April 28, 2012. If a thesis is submitted by the spring date, the candidate is promised graduation at the Spring Convocation. The same applies in the fall when the fall deadline is met.
A student would be unwise to make any plans to leave McMaster until he/she had actually handed in his/her thesis and confirmed the date of his/her final Oral defence.
Theses of Past Graduate Students
The Departmental office maintains copies of the doctorate and masters theses of graduate students who have completed their studies in Chemical Engineering at McMaster University. These must be signed out through the Department Office and must be returned promptly. When the thesis is signed out, it is the responsibility of the student. Loss of theses by the person borrowing will result in a fine being levied to cover the cost of replacement.
It is important that once the borrower has finished with a thesis this should be returned promptly to the department office. Additional copies of these theses are available through the Thode Library, and usually the supervisor has copies of the theses of students whose work they directed.
Other theses from Canadian Universities may be obtained from either Inter-library loan on micro-card or printed copies and certain copies may be purchased through interlibrary loan from University Microfilms.