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Queen's University
 

Graduate Studies in Psychology
Doctoral (PhD) Defense Timeline

(Revised September 2013)

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It is the responsibility of the student to prepare the thesis early enough to allow the following:

1)     your supervisor to review the document (allow two weeks).

2)     immediate committee members to review the document (allow another two weeks).  This is your supervisory committee and does NOT include the internal/external examiner within Queen’s; external examiner from another university; or thesis defense chair.

3)     the student may then need to make required revisions from committee member(s) comments  (perhaps two weeks). 

4)     submission to the Psychology Graduate Office for departmental processing  prior to your defense date (allow 25 working days).

A student should count on having to have the thesis approved by the supervisor not less than eight (8) or nine (9) weeks prior to the ‘desired’ defense date. Even then, the detection of serious problems by committee members could cause delays. As a result, a PhD student wishing to defend by the end of December must have the thesis passed by the supervisor by about mid-October or if the student would like to defend by the end of August they must have the thesis passed by the supervisor by about mid-June.  It is strongly recommended that another month be included in students’ plans to allow for more than one draft to be reviewed by the entire committee. If the first draft is considered sufficiently problematic the committee may want to reread the revised thesis before signing off that it is ready for defense.  Also, keep in mind extra time may be needed if committee members are out of town or on vacation during this time period.  If a committee member is away, that time cannot be counted as part of the two (2) weeks for review. Students should ask committee members well in advance when they will be absent from the department. It is the student’s responsibility to adapt to such absences in a reasonable fashion. On the other hand, faculty also must respond reasonably. It is not reasonable to give low priority to reading and providing feedback on a thesis just because other work is pressing. Membership on thesis committees is a responsibility.  If revisions are requested and one or more committee members want to examine the revised document prior to approving it for defense, another two (2) week period to review and comment on the second draft is appropriate.

The scheduling of the internal/external examiner (faculty member from another department/unit within Queen’s) and the external examiner (faculty member from another university) before the committee has agreed that the thesis is ready to defend also is inappropriate. This puts pressure on the committee member both to approve the thesis for defense and (sometimes) to return the document in an unreasonably brief time. Faculty should feel free to reject such demands. From the other side, faculty should not demand revisions for minor reasons. Theses can be edited further after the defense. 

It is the responsibility of the supervisor to arrange for an internal/external examiner, external examiner, and set a date for the thesis defense. The defense date can only be set once the internal/external, external and all committee members have agreed to it. The Chair will be arranged by the Thesis Coordinator in the School of Graduate Studies.

All information (date, time, and list of all committee members plus internal/external; and external) must be included on the forms submitted to the Psychology Graduate Office in order to ‘officially’ schedule the defense. 

1)     The thesis is first given to the student’s supervisor for review. The thesis should NOT be distributed to committee members prior to being approved by the supervisor as ready for consideration by the rest of the committee. It is part of the supervisor’s role to make the major editorial recommendations on the first draft(s) of the thesis, such that the burden for other committee members is reduced to fine tuning and looking for issues that were missed by the student and supervisor. Thus, a student should NOT ask committee members for feedback prior to the supervisor declaring the thesis ready to go to the committee. Although clearly students may consult committee members about specific issues such as statistical analyses, interpretations of specific effects, etc, the committee should not carry the primary responsibility for preparation of the manuscript.  Allow two (2) or more weeks for your supervisor’s review and comments.

2)     Once the student’s supervisor has indicated that the thesis is ready for consideration by the committee, the thesis is then given to the rest of the committee. Note: this applies only to your supervisory committee and does NOT include the internal/external, external or thesis defense chair. Sometimes students have presented committee members with theses (for the first time) and stated that the thesis date has already been established. This is inappropriate. The thesis is submitted to the committee members for their evaluation, including an evaluation of whether or not the thesis is ready for defense. Committee members normally should return theses with comments within two (2) weeks of receiving them. 

3)     It is entirely appropriate for a committee member to require changes and another look at the edited thesis before signing off on the document as ready for defense may be needed. For this reason, defense dates should not be scheduled prior to receiving the go ahead from all members of the committee. If revisions are requested prior to the defense committee members will need to examine the revised document prior to approving it.  Another two (2) week period to review and comment on the second draft is appropriate.

4)     It is the responsibility of the student to prepare the thesis early enough to allow departmental processing and graduate school processing (25 working days prior to defense). Three (3) copies of the thesis must be submitted to the Psychology Graduate Office. One will be sent to the Chair, one to the internal/external committee member (from another department in Queen’s), and one to the external committee member (from another University). The theses should be submitted along with the following two (2) forms: ‘PhD Committee Form - Part II’ and the ‘PhD Oral Examination Form’, which can be found on the Department’s form webpage: http://www.queensu.ca/psychology/Graduate/Forms.html. The student also needs to ensure that all immediate committee members have a hard copy of the most updated version of the thesis.

5)     Your supervisor is responsible for booking the room for the defense. This is generally booked through the main office (Humphrey Hall) in room H228.

Once the forms and three (3) copies of your thesis have been submitted to the Psychology Graduate Office and signed off by the Department Head, the Graduate Assistant will send an email to the entire committee and student defending confirming details of the defense.

The School of Graduate Studies will find a Chair for the defense and send the following e-mails:

-Student will receive the following forms to be completed and brought to the defense: Permission of Co-Authors (if applicable); UMI Form; and Microfilming Permission,

-Committee members (minus chair) will receive a request for confidential reports to be submitted,

-Chair will receive an outline of procedure, notes and checklist for defense.

After the defense, any revisions to the thesis must be completed before final submission to QSpace. The supervisor must send an email to the Thesis Coordinator in the School of Graduate Studies thesis@queensu.ca indicating all revisions/changes have been satisfactorily completed.


 

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