Public Health Sciences


site header


In addition to coursework and the comprehensive examination, students must prepare, and successfully defend a thesis reflecting on their independent research work.

Thesis Outline

Thesis Outline

The thesis outline is a two-paged, single spaced document that has been signed by your supervisor(s). The anatomy of a thesis outline is as follows;

  • Title
  • Purpose (~1/4 page)
  • Background and Rationale (~1/4 page)
  • Empirical Objectives (~1/4 page)
  • Study Design and Methods (~3/4 page) - Data management and analysis strategy
  • Ethical Considerations (~1/4 page)
  • Feasibility Issues (e.g. access to the required data) (~1/4 page)
  • Timeline for Proposal development and Project Completion noting key dates (additional 1/2 page)
  • References (additional 1/4 page)
  • Name(s) and signature(s) of supervisor(s) & date (additional 1/4 page)

The thesis outline should be submitted via email to no later than the end of your second year. The outlines will be reviewed by faculty members designated by the PhD Program Director. The purpose of the review is to provide useful feedback to the student and supervisor(s) prior to embarking on the full-scale proposal and to render an assessment of whether the project, as outlined, is thesis worthy. The reviews will be sent to the student and supervisor(s).

Reviewers will be asked to comment on whether:

  • the project is likely to be manageable within the timeframe and expectation of the PhD program,
  • the project, if completed as outlined, is adequate and appropriate for a PhD thesis,
  • are there any methodological concerns that the student will need to consider in writing a complete proposal.
Thesis Proposal

Thesis Proposal

The thesis proposal should mirror what is expected by most granting agencies and as such should be 12 - 15 pages excluding references and appendices. The proposal should be 1.5 or double-spaced and signed by the primary supervisor. The anatomy of a thesis proposal is as follows;

  • Title page with document date and name(s) and signature(s) of supervisor(s) (1 page not included in count)
  • Purpose (~1/4 page)
  • Background and Rationale (~6 to 8 pages) - Literature Review
  • Empirical Objectives (~1/4 page)
  • Study Design and Methods (~5 to 6 pages) - List of data sources and variables - Data management and analysis -Strengths and Limitations
  • Ethical Consideration (~1/4 page)
  • Feasibility Issues (e.g. access to the required data) (~1/4 page)
  • Timeline for Project Completion including key dates (1 page)
  • References (as needed; not included in count)
  • Appendices (as needed; not included in count)

Once the proposal is near completion the student should make contact and advise the Graduate Assistant. Students should fill out "Proposal Presentation Form" with their supervisor(s) and send to Graduate Assistant. The proposal needs to be distributed 10 full working days before the proposal presentation. Once the scheduling form has been signed off by the PhD Program Director for his/her input, the Graduate Assistant will begin seeking a reviewer (primary faculty usually) and a chair (the Department Head typically). Once the reviewer and the chair have been secured then the student is responsible for handing out the proposal to them.

The thesis proposal should be submitted via email to no later than August 31st in your second year.

Thesis Defense

Thesis Defense

The defense is a public presentation and discussion of the findings of the research program are conducted before a committee of selected faculty. This event marks the first time that the candidate truly expounds on and defends the meaning and significance of his or her research and knowledge of the discipline to peers and colleagues alike. Normally, it is open to attendance by all members of the Queen's community.

The Graduate Assistant will schedule the Oral Thesis Examination by filling out the Oral Thesis Examination Form. This form outlines the composition of the Thesis Examining Committee and the other details of the thesis examination. For doctoral students the completed and signed form must reach the School of Graduate Studies no later than 25 working days before the tentative examination date.

In preparation for the oral thesis examination, the candidate must submit one copy of the thesis, to each member of the Thesis Examining Committee including the Chairperson. Distribution of the thesis copies to the examining committee must follow the same deadlines as outlined above.

A PDF copy of the thesis must be submitted to the School of Graduate Studies ( to be reviewed for formatting. The student will be notified of any required corrections. Please note: if the thesis is too large to send by e-mail, go to the link below for instructions on how to give access to the Thesis Coordinator to review your thesis on QSHARE.

 Please click here for instructions on how to share thesis

Composition of the Thesis Examining Committee:

  • Chairperson - (selection made by the Thesis Coordinator)
  • Head of the Department (or delegate)
  • Supervisor(s)
  • At least one other member of the Department
  • At least one faculty member from another Department
  • An external examiner from outside Queen's University

Important: Final approval of the Thesis Examining Committee members lies with the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies.

After reading the covering information provided (Copying and Microfilming Your Thesis), complete and sign these forms, and submit to the Graduate Assistant in your Department, or give them to the Chairperson at your oral examination for inclusion in your file.

  1.  Permission of Co-Authors Form (if applicable): Any co-author(s) designated in your thesis under a section entitled "Co-Authorship", must sign this "Permission of Co-Authors" Form, granting their permission to microfilm the portion of your thesis to which they contributed. The National Library of Canada will not microfilm your thesis without the permission of the designated co-authors. Faxed copies are acceptable.
  2. Theses Non-Exclusive Licence Form 
  3. UMI Form for Sciences & Engineering

All Queen’s theses are to meet the minimum requirements as stated in the General Forms of Theses.  

For more information on completing the requirements of your PhD use the following School of Graduate Studies link.