Ph.D. Initial Thesis Submission

As of May 1, 2021, all Doctoral students must submit their thesis via the online myThesis portal. Learn more



All Ph.D. students are required to submit and defend a thesis in a sub-field of neuroscience. As per McGill's Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies (GPS), the Ph.D. thesis:

  • Must constitute original scholarship and must be a distinct contribution to knowledge,

  • Must show familiarity with previous work in the field and must demonstrate ability to plan and carry out research, organize results, and defend the approach and conclusions in a scholarly manner,

  • The research presented must meet current standards of the discipline; as well, the thesis must clearly demonstrate how the research advances knowledge in the field,

  • The thesis must be written in compliance with norms for academic and scholarly expression and for publication in the public domain,

  • The nature of academic research requires adherence to McGill’s policies on research ethics and intellectual property.

Format & Guidelines

Since regulations and guidelines about theses are set by McGill GPS, please consult their web page for detailed information.

Nomination of Examiners

Ph.D. theses must be evaluated by an Internal Examiner and an External Examiner. Therefore, when the Ph.D. student is ready to submit their initial thesis, they must nominate Internal and External Examiners. The following criteria must be met when nominating the examiners: 

External Examiner: 

  • Must be from outside McGill University
  • Must have an academic appointment at a university and be actively engaged in research
  • Must be a scholar of established reputation and competence in the field of the thesis research, holding a Doctorate or equivalent
  • Must not have been involved in the supervision of the candidate or in the preparation of the thesis, nor have co-authored any component of the thesis
  • Must not have been a student or fellow in the supervisor's laboratory for a period of at least five (5) years
  • Go through the complete 'Conflict of Interest' checklist

Internal Examiner:

  • 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
  • Must have an academic appointment and be actively engaged in research
  • May be from another department within McGill University, if necessary
  • May not be a supervisor of the thesis research
  • May not have published with the candidate
  • May have published with the supervisor on other projects, as long as the collaboration is at arm's length from the student's project.

More information on Nomination of Examiners

Important notes when uploading the Initial Thesis on myThesis:

When nominating possible external and internal examiners on myThesis who will read and evaluate your Initial Thesis, it is strongly advised that you first contact the examiners and obtain their advance agreement to read and write a report evaluating your thesis. This will avoid the need to nominate additional examiners should your first set of nominees decline the invitation.

When uploading the initial thesis on the myThesis website it is mandatory to also upload a GPS Initial Thesis Submission Checklist as a supplemental document.

Evaluation of Written Thesis

Consult GPS' web page for detailed information


Consult GPS' web page


Consult GPS' web page


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