Dissertation and thesis exams

This section focuses on the writing of the doctoral dissertation and Master’s thesis, as well as the examinations at the end of the doctoral degree. The thesis exams and oral defence qualify the candidate to become a doctor in the sense of gaining a doctorate. The ultimate milestone is the final submission of the dissertation.

Although these events occur at the end of the degree, it is especially helpful to begin the discussion of the examination process early in the degree. Gradually explaining the process concerning selection of examiners, submission and examination, and how the results are handled and finalized can help allay a student's fears. Such discussions are particularly helpful for international students, who may be used to a very different system.


Highlights of this subsection


Writing the dissertation: overcoming challenges and anticipating examiners’ expectations

Writing the Master’s thesis or project: how a Master's thesis differs from a dissertation

Selecting examiners: strategies and factors to consider

Being an examiner: coping with personal biases

The oral defence: anticipating questions from multiple points of view

The outcomes: what happens after the defence


Comic courtesy of “Piled Higher and Deeper” by Jorge Cham, www.phdcomics.com


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

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