Evaluation of a Written Thesis

Examiners are asked to evaluate the thesis in myThesis, according to the criteria in the respective thesis examiner report for a Master's or Doctoral thesis. For an example of the criteria, please see the forms: see: Master's Examiner report form; Doctoral Examiner report form (note these forms are now integrated in myThesis).

Examiners provide an overall judgment of 'passed' or ‘not passed’, in addition to a written report. For Master's students, this evaluation determines whether or not the thesis is ready for final submission, even if minor changes are recommended. For Doctoral candidates, this evaluation determines whether or not the candidate is ready to proceed to the oral defence.


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.

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

  1. A report that includes any recommendations for minor revisions to the thesis (i.e., stylistic or editorial changes that can be completed in three weeks or less).
  2. For doctoral theses, External Examiners who will not be at the oral defence must also provide a list of questions to be asked of the candidate at the oral defence.

Not Passed

An evaluation of 'Not Passed' should be given if:

  • Major revisions are needed, such as:
    • the need for a new study, experimentation, or significant additional research or reformulation.
    • the need to address 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.
  • At least one of the Criteria for the Evaluation of the Thesis (see Master's Examiner report form; Doctoral Examiner report form) is judged as unsatisfactory.

Examiners are asked to identify required 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 re-submission of the thesis.

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 Unit will contact the initial examiner to determine their availability. In rare cases, a revised thesis may be sent to a new examiner if the first examiner is not available to re-examine the thesis. For more, please see Thesis examination failures.

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 (Bias, Error, or Misrepresentation).

Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial 4.0 International LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial 4.0 International License.
Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, McGill University.

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