Doctoral Thesis

The Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies website has all the Thesis guidelines Master's and doctoral students require, along with the Forms related to thesis submission

Before writing the thesis, read the General requirements for Master's and Doctoral theses, the procedures for Thesis Examination and the Thesis deadlines.



Most students submit the thesis while registered in their program. Students who are in Time Limitation, after MSc year 3 or PhD year 7, will not be allowed to register. If they have not submitted the thesis yet, they must leave the University and apply for readmission when the thesis is ready. Also, students who are not in Time Limitation but have left the University for other employment before submitting the thesis, can apply for readmission to submit. Contact the Student Affairs Officer for more information and readmission procedures.


Nomination of Examiners

The supervisor is responsible for identifying thesis examiners who will provide written reports. The examiners must not have any conflict of interest with the student or supervisor. A Master’s thesis has one examiner. A Doctoral thesis has an External examiner who is from outside McGill, and an Internal examiner who is usually from the Biochemistry Department, or another department at McGill. The Internal examiner cannot be a member of the student’s RAC.  The Internal examiner must attend the final oral thesis defence.

The examiners must agree in advance to evaluate the thesis, before the Nomination of Examiners form is submitted. The procedure for nominating examiners is as follows:

  1. The student or supervisor may contact potential examiners several months in advance to obtain their consent. See suggestions for contacting examiners and an e-mail template. The examiners must state their consent in an e-mail.
  2. If contact between the student or supervisor with the examiner is judged to be inappropriate, the names of examiners should be given to the Student Affairs Officer, who will obtain consent on behalf of the Department.
  3. Fill out the Nomination of Examiners form. Copies of the consent e-mail from the examiners must be provided to receive the signature of the Chair of the Department of Biochemistry or the Graduate Program Director.
  4. Submit the Nomination of Examiners form together with your initial thesis submission.

PDF icon Procedure for Contacting an External Examiner


PhD Thesis Defence

The Department will organize the Doctoral Oral Defence. The oral defence committee consists of five voting members:

  • Chair of the Department, or Deputy
  • Supervisor
  • Internal Examiner
  • Internal Member, or Co-supervisor
  • External Member

The Internal examiner cannot be a member of the student’s RAC. The Internal member of the committee may be a RAC member. The External member of the committee must be from another department, and may be from outside McGill, but cannot be a RAC member. The supervisor should suggest names of potential Internal and External members to the Student Affairs Officer, who will obtain their consent and arrange the defence date. A Pro-Dean will be assigned by Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies. 


Post-graduate information

Change of address

BEFORE YOU LEAVE THE DEPARTMENT, to ensure you receive your diploma and T4 slips for income tax purposes, you must register your change of address by logging into Minerva


All students must register (and pay fees) annually up to and including the term in which they expect to graduate. Outstanding tuition fees must be paid before graduation. If a thesis is submitted prior to the completion of the residency period, fees must be paid for the terms of residency remaining in program.



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