Forms and Evaluation Procedures

For information about the expectations, format, and supervisor responsibilities for the various stages of the MA and PhD, see the MA Guidelines and PhD Guidelines. This page focuses on forms and examination protocols and is primarily for faculty members chairing proposal approvals and examinations.

Annual Progress Reports

By 30 June each year, all continuing Queen’s graduate students (that is, not including 1-year MA students) are responsible for submitting a written report to their supervisor, detailing their progress since the last report, and plans/objectives for the next year. The purpose of this form is to enhance communication between student and their supervisor, to identify any obstacles early so they may be addressed, and to provide SGSPA with information about student publications and conference papers as required by the Queen’s Quality Assurance Policy. Please note that this report is required in addition to any such requirements related to your funding (e.g. SSHRC Annual Progress Report).

After you fill out the SGSPA Annual Progress Report E-Form, your report will be reviewed by your supervisor; you will then have a chance to respond to their comments. Finally, the Program will review each APR before it is filed.

N.b.: Continuing MA students should use the PhD form, as there is no separate form for MA students.

​Please write us at if you have any questions.

Forms and Exam Protocols for MA Students

Constitution of Supervisory Committee

As part of the admission process to the 2-year Thesis/Project MA, students name a supervisor, or in some instances two co-supervisors. By 1 August, or prior to defending their thesis/project proposal, they need to add a “second reader” by submitting MA Form A: Constitution of Supervisory Committee to This form can also be used at any time by MA students wishing to change an existing committee.

Proposal Defense

All students should have their proposal formally approved by 30 September of Year 2. It is normal practice for the second reader to review a penultimate draft of the proposal before the proposal defense is set. For more information on the purpose and conduct of the MA proposal approval meeting see MA Guidelines.

To arrange for a chair and location for the proposal approval meeting, the supervisor completes and submits MA Form B: Proposal Approval Chair & Room Request to no fewer than 10 working days prior to the date of the meeting.  Also no fewer than 10 working days before the meeting, the student must send their proposal and bibliography to their supervisor, second reader, and the Cultural Studies office.

Before the meeting, the Chair should read Guide for Chair, MA Proposal Approval Meeting. At the end of the proposal approval meeting, the chair completes and submits MA Form C: Approval of MA Proposal.

Thesis/Project Oral Examination

Participants: student, supervisor(s), second reader, added examiner, and chair. All examiners must be affiliated with Cultural Studies except for the added examiner. No reports are required from examiners unless an examiner feels the examination should not go ahead; in that case, they must give reasons to the Chair at least 3 days before the examination. See SGSPA MA Thesis Examination Form

Process for supervisor: To initiate the oral examination, the supervisor completes the first page of SGSPA MA Thesis Examination Form and submits it a minimum of 10 working days prior to the proposed date of the exam. The office will arrange a chair and location for the meeting. If the meeting is to be in-person, it will be held in B139A Mackintosh-Corry Hall unless otherwise requested.

Process for student:  The student sends the thesis or project to the supervisor(s), examiners and Cultural Studies at a minimum of 10 working days prior to the date of the exam.

Duties of the Chair:  The chair conducts the examination and is not required to read the thesis/project. The result is reported by the Chair to the School of Graduate Studies by the program director using page two of the SGSPA MA Thesis Examination Form.

  • The Chair welcomes the candidate, reviews the possible examination outcomes, then has the candidate leave the room
  • The Chair gets a sense from the readers what they wish to discuss about the proposal, what their assessment generally is
  • The Chair invites the candidate back and questioning proceeds starting with the examiner least familiar with the work
  • The Chair asks the candidate to leave again and examiners decide on the outcome.
  • The Chair calls the candidate back and delivers the news
  • In situations of complexity, the Chair may wish to consult SGSPA MA Oral Examination Procedures.

If the examination is deemed a pass, the student works with the supervisor to make any required corrections or revisions, and formats the work according to SGS requirements. The student should consult the SGSPA document General Forms of Theses on formatting, and on electronic submission to QSpace. Once the thesis and, if relevant, other documentation is uploaded to Qspace, the MA is officially complete.

Proposal Approval

Students undertaking a research paper or minor project have a proposal approved, and then pursue the work so defined.  A formal proposal defense is not required.  The process for MA Proposal Approval is as follows:

Approval of Research Paper or Minor Project

Members: supervisor, second reader. All members must be affiliated with Cultural Studies.

Process:  The review of the essay or project is conducted by email.  The student circulates a copy of the essay or project to the supervisor and second reader, who each independently evaluate the submission.  The supervisor and second reader have 10 business days for the review and evaluation. They each independently report the result (pass/fail recommendation) to the Cultural Studies office  using Form D: MA Approval of Minor Project or Research Paper. Comments may be included/attached (not required).  The director reviews the results/comments, and the Cultural Studies office reports the results to the School of Graduate Studies.  

Forms and Examination Protocols for PhD Students

All PhD students complete PhD Form A: Constitution of Supervisory Committee by 30 August of Year 1. See PhD Guidelines for guidance and rules concerning committee composition.

Step 1:  Download, complete, and save the form.
Step 2:  Print and sign the form and/or arrange e-signatures from your committee members. 
Step 3:  Submit the completed, signed form by email to or in person to Mac-Corry B137 and we will arrange for the Director's signature.

See PhD Guidelines for full information about the Qualifying Exam process.

Required forms:


After passing the QE, please submit electronic copies of the following documents to Cultural Studies at When you do so, please indicate if we may share any of these items with future students as examples.

  • your original 1000-word proposal + annotated bibliography
  • the updated annotated bibliography that was submitted to your committee along with the proposed exam questions
  • your final exam questions
  • your exam response
  • as noted above, you should also have signed and submitted the SGSPA Form - Comprehensive or Qualifying Exam Notice

See PhD Guidelines for full proposal format and expectations.

PhD Students should have their proposal formally approved by 30 June of Year 2 — and no later than 30 August.

Proposal Defense Process and Protocol

  • The student must submit the proposal and bibliography to their supervisor, committee members, and a minimum of ten working days prior to the defense. While Ethics approval and OCASP (if needed) do not have to be complete before approval of the proposal, the supervisor and student should anticipate their implications and plan accordingly.
  • Also a minimum of ten working days prior to the defense, the supervisor completes and submits PhD Form D: Arrangements for PhD Proposal Examination, which prompts staff to locate a Chair for the meeting.
  • Committee members may share notes with the student if they wish, but are not required to offer any formal written report. 
  • For guidance on the Chair’s duties, see Guide for Chair, PhD Proposal Defense.
  • The chair of the examination meeting reports the outcome on PhD Form E: Proposal Examination Report. This form indicates possible outcomes for the defense; see also PhD Guidelines for further details.
  • After the examination, students or faculty members may speak with the Director or fill out the following form if they have any concerns about its conduct: SGSPA Form - Comprehensive or Qualifying Exam Confidential Report.


Once the thesis/project is considered ready to defend, the supervisor works with the student and members of the committee to set a date, time, and location for the defense meeting.  At least 25 working days prior to the date of the defense (i.e., 25 days not including the date of submission, the date of defense, holidays, or weekends), the supervisor completes the SGSPA PhD Oral Examination Form and submits it to Cultural Studies ( for coordination of the details with SGSPA. If you are not sure how to complete this form, please refer to our Guide or contact with questions. 

In addition to the supervisory committee, the PhD defense requires an internal examiner from Queen's but from outside the program (the "internal/external"), an external examiner from outside the university, and a Chair (appointed by SGSPA).  The internal/external examiner can be someone who is affiliated with Cultural Studies, but would represent their home department. This examiner cannot have been on the student's committee otherwise. Do not hesitate to consult if you have any questions about proper composition of the examining committee.

The chair is appointed by SGSPA and conducts the defense in accordance with the policies and procedures of the School of Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs.

The supervisor is advised to make sure that both they and the student (at this point known as “the candidate”) understand well the process of the thesis oral examination as determined by SGSPA procedures. These are outlined in an SGSPA document Notes for Chairing and Conducting Oral Thesis Examinations. Because the Chair of the Oral Thesis Examination is usually from outside Cultural Studies, and there are two examiners who are essentially strangers to the candidate, there is a formality to this event that is inherently intimidating. Discussion within the examining committee both before and after the examination itself can take some time, which is often nerve-wracking for the student. Questioning is frequently quite vigorous — even or especially if the work is strong. It is important for supervisors to reassure students that such intensive critical engagement with their work is what this event is all about, and is in fact a rare privilege in an academic career.

Required revisions and corrections will be made clear by the Chair (even with a passed examination, these may be fairly substantial). But it is useful for the supervisor and student to discuss in advance whether the supervisor is able or willing to take notes to help the student capture some of the larger questions and ideas brought to the table, for future development of the work.

N.b. It is not the custom in Cultural Studies to have students or faculty outside the committee at the exam, but at Queen’s, all oral thesis examinations are technically open to all members of the Queen’s community. Visitors from outside Queen’s (family members, friends, elders, project participants) may also attend. Supervisors and students should come to an agreement in advance about any people attending beyond the examining committee.


The student is responsible for reviewing the SGSPA requirements for Degree Completion and providing copies of the thesis/project to their committee members - no less than 25 working days prior to the date of defense (i.e., 25 days not including the date of submission, the date of defense, holidays, or weekends).  The student should confirm with each committee member if they would prefer to receive the thesis as a hard copy, a PDF, or a Word document.  One PDF copy must also be submitted to the School of Graduate Studies at this time.

If the examination is deemed a pass, the student works with the supervisor to make any required corrections or revisions, and formats the work according to SGS requirements. The student should consult the SGSPA document General Forms of Theses on formatting, and on electronic submission to QSpace. Once the thesis and, if relevant, other documentation is uploaded to Qspace, the PhD is officially complete.

It is also important to note the procedures and deadlines for Applying to Graduate and Attending Convocation