Thesis Examiners

Master’s Thesis Examiner

For a Master's thesis, the examiner must be a scholar of established reputation and competence in the field of the thesis research. The examiner may be from inside or outside the University. Units* may nominate a member from within the Unit who is not in conflict of interest (see conflict of interest checklist).

Doctoral Thesis External Examiner

The Doctoral external examiner must be a scholar of established reputation and competence in the field of the thesis research. They must be from outside the University, hold a doctorate or equivalent and have no other conflict of interest (see conflict of interest checklist).

Doctoral Thesis Internal Examiner

The internal examiner is expected to be knowledgeable in the area and topic of the thesis, though not necessarily to the same extent as the external examiner. The internal examiner also ensures that the written thesis meets the standards of McGill University.

The internal examiner is usually a McGill faculty member (but not the supervisor) affiliated with the student's Unit*, but they may also be nominated from other Units* at McGill. The internal examiner must not be in conflict of interest according to McGill’s conflict of interest regulations. As such, a member of the student’s supervisory committee may be named as the internal examiner.

The internal examiner must attend the final oral thesis defence.

 

Nominating Examiners

In anticipation of the thesis examination, the supervisor must complete the Nomination of Examiners Form (Master's Form; Doctoral Form). The student, supervisor(s) and the Unit must agree on the names listed for internal and external examiners. Units should have specific procedures for selection of names. An academic from the Unit, according to internal procedures, must confirm that the examiners are willing to serve prior to submission of the nomination of examiners and thesis submission form.

The student submits the signed form with the thesis to GPS. In exceptional circumstances, a student may elect to submit a thesis without the supervisor’s signature. In such a case—which is strongly discouraged—GPS should be consulted in advance of the submission and a letter of explanation from the student must accompany the form.

The following documents can be referenced to help guide you through this process: 

 

Objectivity of the Examination Process

Once the thesis has been submitted, no one outside of GPS should attempt to communicate with the examiner(s) regarding the thesis, nor should the examiner(s) communicate with one another or with the student or the supervisor(s) until the examination process is complete. Any contact with examiners by the supervisor, student or Unit after the nomination process constitutes a conflict of interest and the examination process will not go forward. All questions regarding the examination or defence should be addressed to the thesis.gps [at] mcgill.ca (GPS Thesis Unit)

Examination Procedures

When the thesis is sent for examination, the examiner(s) have a minimum of four (4) weeks to evaluate the thesis and return the thesis examination report(s). When the completed examiners’reports have been returned to GPS, the procedures for Master’s theses and Doctoral theses are as follows:

Master’s thesis:

  • If the examiner has passed the thesis, GPS will send copies of the report to the student, supervisor(s), and the Unit. The student must make any corrections and/or minor revisions in consultation with the supervisor before final submission.
  • If the thesis has not been passed, see Thesis Examination Failures.

Doctoral thesis:

  • Both examiners must pass the thesis before the examination can proceed to the Oral Defence.
  • GPS will send copies of examiners' reports to all members of the Oral Defence Committee and to the Graduate Secretary/Coordinator of the Unit*. The student is not to see the reports until after the oral defence.
  • The student will be given copies of all reports at the conclusion of the defence.
  • The student must make any corrections and/or revisions, where required, in consultation with the supervisor, or other individual designated by the Oral Defence Committee, before final submission of the thesis.
  • If the thesis has not been passed, see Thesis Examination Failures.

Plagiarism

In cases where plagiarism is suspected, the examiner must return the thesis and report the suspected plagiarism, citing sources of the original material that was allegedly plagiarized. In cases where plagiarism in the thesis is charged, the thesis examination does not proceed and the case is investigated through a University disciplinary process.


*Unit refers to a department, a division, a school, an institute, or a Faculty/University-wide program.