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Evaluation of a written thesis


Evaluation of the Written Thesis

Examiners are asked to evaluate the thesis according to a number of criteria as indicated in the grid in the thesis examination form which will be sent along with the thesis package. Examiners provide an overall judgment of 'passed' or ‘‘not passed’, assessing whether or not the thesis fulfills the requirement for the degree.


If the thesis meets the general criteria for the degree sought, as well as those listed on the examiner's report form, it should be evaluated as 'passed', even if some changes are recommended.

An evaluation of 'passed' should be awarded unless the revisions required are major, such as:

  • the need for a new study, experimentation, or significant additional research or reformulation.
  • major problems with the presentation of the work.  Stylistic or editorial changes are not normally considered to be major revisions, but if the quality of the presentation is so poor that extensive rewriting is required, the thesis should not be passed.

Examiners are asked to identify such changes clearly in their reports. The supervisor or another designated person will ensure that the student corrects the thesis and that it appropriately reflects the examiners' suggestions for revisions prior to the final deposition.

If the overall judgement is 'PASSED', examiners are asked to provide:

  1. Comments explaining the evaluation of the thesis including recommendations for minor revisions to be included in the final thesis;
  2. For doctoral theses, External Examiners who will not be at the oral defence should also provide a list of questions to be asked at the student’s oral examination

Not Passed

If the thesis does not fulfill the above conditions and cannot be passed without substantive changes, it should be designated as not passed and its shortcomings indicated in detail. If the written thesis is not passed, it must be rated unsatisfactory in at least one of the review categories. Please see Thesis examination failures  and refer to the information package examiners were sent by GPS for more information.

The candidate will normally revise and re-submit the thesis for re-assessment, usually by the same examiner.  If/when review of the revised thesis is required, the Thesis Office will contact the initial Examiner to ascertain their availability. In rare cases, a revised thesis may be sent to a new examiner if the first examiner is not available to serve

If the revised thesis is again  ‘not passed’,  the student will be withdrawn  from the University unless the decision is reversed through an appeal to the Hearing Committee (for bias, error, or misrepresentation) Please see Hearing Committee (for bias, error, or misrepresentation) for more information.