The four-year Gender Studies PhD program sustains our program focus on critical race, gender, and sexuality studies while offering advanced training in applications of Gender Studies research within work for social change.
Gender Studies at Queen’s distinctively foregrounds critical race conceptual frameworks at all levels of our undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Students examine gender, our key category of analysis, in terms of its interdependence with race, class, nation, sexuality, disability, age, religion, colonialism and globalization. Students conduct research in Canada and internationally and articulate their scholarship with local and global action for social justice. Students produce scholarship that is directly applicable to work for social change and to a wide variety of academic and nonacademic careers.
The PhD in Gender Studies is a four-year program. Full-time PhD students complete three (3.0 credit) required courses, one (3.0 credit) elective course, one (0.0 credit) Proseminar course, and the (3.0 credit) PhD Practicum. Students advance to candidacy for the PhD after completing all coursework, syllabus, and practicum requirements and having successfully defended their dissertation proposal.
Queen's Gender Studies MA graduates may be admitted with revised course requirements in the Gender Studies PhD program.
Professional applicants with the BAH/BA may apply to receive direct entry to the PhD program who demonstrate exceptional and relevant professional experience and achievement in an appropriate field.
PhD Grad Map
The PhD handbook that follows provides detailed direction and outline expectations of doctoral students in the Gender Studies PhD program. Please note that students and supervisors are expected to familiarize themselves with the School of Graduate Studies’ general regulations, guide to graduate supervision, and degree completion requirements available through the School of Graduate Studies website.
PhD Degree Checklist
Unless otherwise indicated in the student’s offer letter, PhD students are required to complete 4 required 3.0 credit courses (GNDS 801, 802, 903, 950), 1 required 0.0 credit course (GNDS 815), and 1 elective 3.0 credit course.
Fall, Year 1
- GNDS 801/3.0: Theories in Gender Studies
- GNDS 802/3.0: Methodologies in Gender Studies
- GNDS 815/0.0 Proseminar: Professional Development in Gender Studies
Winter, Year 1
- GNDS 815/0.0 Proseminar: Professional Development in Gender Studies
- GNDS 903/3.0: Applications of Gender Studies
- One elective course (3.0)
Fall and Winter, Year 2
- GNDS 950/3.0: PhD Practicum
The elective course may be selected from Gender Studies graduate courses, graduate courses in other departments, independently organized Directed Readings (GNDS 940/3.0, GNDS 941/3.0), or a practicum (GNDS 850/3.0). Directed Readings and Practicums are subject to the availability and permission of a supervising instructor and the student’s PhD supervisor. Students should consult with their PhD supervisor on course selection prior to enrollment.
Requests to add or drop a course must be approved by the student's PhD supervisor and the Grad Chair; this can be done through the Course Enrolment Request Form in the student's Dashboard. Course instructor approval is required if the student wishes to add a directed reading or practicum course, or a graduate course outside of Gender Studies.
Students advance to candidacy for the PhD after completing:
- All required coursework;
- The syllabus, which is initiated in GNDS 903, and subsequently finalized and approved by the PhD supervisor and Grad Chair;
- The GNDS 950 PhD practicum proposal approved by the PhD supervisor and Grad Chair;
- The GNDS 950 PhD practicum report as approved by the PhD supervisor; and
- The successful defense of their dissertation proposal.
Prior to submitting an application to the PhD program in the Department of Gender Studies, prospective PhD applicants should consult with department faculty to seek out and identify a potential PhD supervisor. Students are then assigned a confirmed PhD supervisor at the time of admission.
Working closely with a supervisor in the development of a research project is an integral part of a PhD student’s studies. Clear understanding of expectations can help maintain the productivity of this essential relationship. Queen's offers several resources to help manage this important relationship, including handbooks and advisory services. The PhD student works with their supervisor to envision a research project that matters to the student and the field, and that reflects the form of scholarship the student wishes to pursue.1
Both core and cross-appointed faculty in the Department of Gender Studies are eligible to serve as supervisors. Students may request or may be assigned co-supervisors (important note: when a student has co-supervisors, these two individuals count as ‘one’ on the supervisory and examining committees).
The Supervisory Committee is comprised of three faculty members, who are determined in spring of the first year. Potential committee members may be recommended at the time of admission. Students should consult with their PhD supervisor/s to secure two additional faculty members who would be appropriate members of the committee; if the supervisor is not a core faculty member of GNDS, then one of these committee members must be a core faculty member to serve as the Head’s Delegate. The student and PhD supervisor should work together to identify potential committee members, determine the final composition of the Supervisory Committee, and decide how each potential committee member is approached and invited to join. Committee members normally will be core or cross-appointed faculty in Gender Studies. With permission of the PhD supervisor and Graduate Chair, one committee member may be from outside the department.
The committee should be confirmed no later than June 30 of the first year of study. The first Supervisory Committee Meeting is held by the end of the first year of study, or no later than September 30th at the start of the second year (details below).
The student’s Supervisory Committee is thus comprised of three members:
- Committee Member
- Committee Member
*At least one of those in place #1-3 must be a core faculty member from GNDS
The Supervisory Committee is confirmed by submission of Form P1 – Supervisory Committee Confirmation in the student's Dashboard. This form should be submitted by the student as soon as the Supervisory Committee is established and in advance of the first Supervisory Committee Meeting. The Supervisory Committee’s membership is expected to remain the same for the PhD Proposal Defense.
1 From time to time, PhD students and supervisors may experience problems in their relationship. Resolution of an issue should first be sought through discussion between the student and supervisor and/or with the Supervisory Committee. If the issue cannot be resolved there, the student should consult the Grad Chair to seek possible resolution (or the Department Head, if necessary). If a satisfactory resolution is not reached, further assistance is available through the Associate Dean(s) of SGS. All consultations in GNDS and SGS are kept confidential and no direct action is taken without the prior consent of the student. Resolution of the issue can also be sought through the University’s Grievance Procedures. Students may wish to contact the Office of the University Ombudsperson and/or seek the advice and counsel from the SGPS Advisors.
Each year, by June 30, PhD students are responsible for submitting an SGS Annual Progress Report through the SGS Forms portal. Once submitted, the supervisor will add comments, the student reviews the supervisor’s comments, and then the report will be reviewed and approved by the Graduate Chair. This report details progress since the last report and the plan/objectives for the next year. This report is required by the School of Graduate Studies. Other reporting requirements may also be necessary related to funding (i.e., SSHRC Annual Progress Report). Students on leave are not required to complete this form.
Before PhD students advance to candidacy, the Department has instituted that all students are required to develop a Syllabus, intended as a 3rd Year Undergraduate course or an equivalent teaching activity in a non-academic instructional setting that is relevant to their course of study and research program.
To be completed by July 15 of Year 1.
- Skills in syllabus preparation and pedagogy will be delivered within GNDS 903 in the winter term of Year 1, and it is intended that the student will complete a preliminary draft of the syllabus as part of their required work for this course.
- The student presents a first draft to their PhD supervisor by May 15 of Year 1.
- The supervisor completes the assessment and documents any required revisions by May 30 of Year 1.
- The student has one month to complete any required revisions and submits them to their supervisor by June 30.
- The supervisor reviews and approves the final version and sends it to the Graduate Chair for approval by July 15 of Year 1.
- If upon reviewing the syllabus, the Grad Chair (or Grad Committee delegate) requests revisions, the PhD supervisor and student are contacted by July 31 of Year 1, revisions are outlined, and the syllabus is resubmitted for final approval to the Graduate Chair by August 31 of Year 1.
The student creates a syllabus that is relevant to their course of study and research program. The syllabus may be designed for any instructional setting. If students wish to propose a university course syllabus, it should be designed as a third-year special topics course. Or it may be designed as an equivalent teaching activity in a non-academic instructional setting. The syllabus must demonstrate command of an area of study within the field of Gender Studies and the capacity to communicate and apply this knowledge in an instructional setting. The student must write a narrative rationale (approximately 6-10 double spaced pages, exclusive of cited references) addressing these factors, which is submitted alongside the syllabus to complete the assignment.
Exceptions to this guideline can be requested by the student and must be approved by their PhD supervisor and the Grad Chair. The PhD supervisor may require the student to access additional resources during Syllabus preparation (for instance, the Center for Teaching and Learning or the School of Graduate Studies courses or workshops).
Given that the purpose of this activity is to develop the PhD student’s command of an area of study within the field of Gender Studies, there may be an opportunity – but no guarantee – that during the course of their PhD program they may be able to teach the course for the Department as part of their funding package, if it is developed as a 3rd Year Undergraduate Course Syllabus. Teaching allocations, however, are at the discretion of the Department Head and are based on need, capacity, enrollment, and funding.
The syllabus will be evaluated by the supervisor and the Graduate Chair according to the following criteria and the above-noted timeline:
- The relevance of its topic to the student’s course of study and research program.
- The level of topical knowledge demonstrated by the course design.
- The appropriateness of the course content, pedagogy, assignments, and learning outcomes for the target audience and level of instruction.
Once the review is complete, the supervisor and Grad Chair (or Grad Committee delegate) complete Form P2 – Syllabus Approval in the student's Dashboard. A copy of the completed, signed form is returned to all parties, and the original is kept on file in the Graduate Office.
The Research to Action Plan (RtAP) is undertaken within GNDS 903; in it students develop a preliminary description of how their doctoral research will be designed and pursued. This description will include discussion of how each element of a student’s PhD is situated within work for social change, and should articulate how the research program and its applications interrelate – practically, methodologically, politically.
There are five elements of the PhD addressed within the plan: 1) the syllabus, 2) practicum research, 3) post-candidacy research, 4) the dissertation format, and 5) potential research applications.
While the plan is evaluated within GNDS 903, it will serve, with the benefit of feedback given within the course, as the basis for a revised Research-to-Applications Plan to be shared with the supervisor and supervisory committee.
The first Supervisory Committee Meeting is to be held by the end of the first year of study, and no later than September 30th at the start of the second year. The student and PhD supervisor should work together to decide who will contact each committee member to determine a compatible meeting date. The student is encouraged to seek advice from individual members of the committee before and after this preliminary meeting.
Two weeks prior to the meeting date, the student delivers to all committee members and the Graduate Assistant: (1) the final approved Syllabus, (2) the Research to Applications Plan written in GNDS 903 (in original or revised form) and (3) the final approved GNDS 950 Practicum Proposal (described below).
At this meeting, all committee members will discuss the student's proposed and in-progress plans for doctoral research (as outlined in the RtAP) and will advise the student on the preparation of the PhD Proposal. The committee also may advise the student's planned conduct in the program-approved GNDS 950 Practicum and the potential practice of the program-approved Syllabus. This meeting is also to include a discussion concerning the student’s preferred thesis format.
The School of Graduate Studies requires that the thesis conform to one of two formats: the Traditional format (monograph style), or the Manuscript, Project and Portfolio-based format (a compilation of several related or ‘stand-alone’ components), as described in the General Forms of Theses, School of Graduate Studies.
The supervisor chairs this first committee meeting and records any instructions that committee members require of the student before their submission of the final Proposal; these instructions are noted on Form P3 – First Meeting in the Student’s dashboard and shared with the supervisory committee and student within three days of the meeting. A copy is kept on file in the Graduate Office. This meeting may take up to two hours; it is the responsibility of the supervisor to organize the date and time of the meeting. Once the date and time are set, the supervisor communicates this information to the Graduate Assistant who is responsible for booking the location of this meeting.
In GNDS 950, PhD students complete preparatory doctoral research engagement that explores or initiates applications of their project within work for social change. Activities conducted in GNDS 950 may focus on (for example) visiting a research site and/or seeking and initiating relationships with research partners, collaborators, and/or participants – drawn from communities involved in the study, scholars, activists, or cultural workers (among other contexts) – that may enable specific applications of the project within work for social change.
To be completed during fall term of Year 2.
- A plan for GNDS 950 research is prepared during winter of Year 1 as part of coursework in GNDS 903, forming a key component of the ‘Research to Applications’ Plan.
- The components of the GNDS 903 Research to Applications Plan that address the GNDS 950 Practicum are revised during spring/summer of Year 1 as a GNDS 950 Proposal and submitted in final form to the supervisor.
- Once the GNDS 950 Proposal is approved by the supervisor, the student submits the syllabus into the Student’s dashboard for Grad Chair review and approval no later than August 1. If the Practicum research involves human participants and the student wishes to use those interactions as data, an application to the Queen’s General Ethics Board should be initiated at this time.
- Once the GNDS 950 Proposal also receives approval from the Grad Chair (or a Grad Committee delegate), no later than August 31, the Grad Chair completes Form P4 – Practicum Proposal Approval in the Student’s dashboard. A copy of the form is returned to all parties and kept on file in the Graduate Office.
- The student will then be enrolled in GNDS 950 and will begin preparatory research engagement in fall of Year 2.
- After conducting a planned course of research engagement, GNDS 950 concludes with the submission of a Practicum Report in the Student’s dashboard (details below).
The GNDS 950 Practicum Proposal will plan preparatory research engagement to be conducted during the two terms corresponding to the period of enrollment. If the research engagement proposed for GNDS 950 bridges with inquiry previously undertaken, or with inquiry that will continue after enrollment, the GNDS 950 Practicum Proposal should clarify what new areas of inquiry the student will conduct during the enrollment period, and the GNDS 950 Final Report should focus on learning gained from the inquiry undertaken during the enrollment period. The Practicum Proposal should be approximately 6-10 double spaced pages (exclusive of cited references).
While the Practicum normally takes place during the fall and winter of the second year of the program, it is a three credit course, and the appropriate course hours should be distributed over the two terms.
If any inquiry during the GNDS 950 practicum will involve human participants and the student wishes to use those interactions as data, approval of their Queen’s General Research Ethics Board application is required before they are to proceed with their practicum.
While completing GNDS 950, it is expected that the student simultaneously prepares a first draft of the Dissertation Proposal. Experience gained and new activities or relationships formed during GNDS 950 will allow the student to augment or alter prior research plans, and thus will inform the writing of the Proposal.
Students have completed GNDS 950 after they have conducted the planned course of preparatory research engagement and submitted a Practicum Report in the Student’s dashboard. The Report consists of:
- What preparatory research engagement was completed or left incomplete, and what was learned from these efforts;
- What research relationships or research applications were explored or formed; and,
- How has the research experience newly informed the student’s understanding of the substance, theories, methods and applications of their doctoral project, as they will be presented in the Dissertation Proposal.
- Relevant academic and grey literature.
- Approximately 6-10 double spaced pages (exclusive of cited references).
Once the student conducts the planned course of preparatory research engagement and submits a Practicum Report, and if both are evaluated as satisfactory by the supervisor, the student is assured of being assigned a passing grade. GNDS 950 is graded Pass/Fail. This grading method emphasizes that the purpose of GNDS 950 is to provide students experience with research and its applications, in order to productively inform the preparation of the Dissertation Proposal and their plans for full-time doctoral research.
To be completed by the end of spring term of Year 2.
- The Dissertation Proposal is drafted during the fall and winter terms of Year 2 while completing GNDS 950.
- A draft of the Dissertation Proposal is submitted to the supervisor by March 1 of Year 2.
- The supervisor reviews the draft and provides feedback no later than April 1 of Year 2.
- The Dissertation Proposal is revised during April and May of Year 2; the student is also welcome (not required) to consult with individual members of their Supervisory Committee during their drafting phase.
- The revised draft of the Dissertation Proposal is submitted to to the Student’s dashboard during the summer of Year 2, at least three weeks prior to the Defense date.
- The Supervisory Committee has two weeks to review the Dissertation Proposal and file their report (Form P6 – Dissertation Proposal Evaluation Report) via the Student’s dashboard. This report indicates: Proceed to Dissertation Proposal Defense or Schedule Second Supervisory Committee Meeting, and includes a brief report on the proposal, as well as one or two questions to be posed during the Defense.
- If one or more reports indicate the need to Schedule a Second Supervisory Committee Meeting, the Defense Chair consults with the PhD Student and Supervisor as to whether they wish to proceed with the Defense or to schedule a Second Committee Meeting. If two or more reports indicate the need to Schedule a Second Supervisory Committee Meeting, a Second Supervisory Committee Meeting will be held instead of the Defense and the Defense Chair conveys this to the PhD Student and Committee. Otherwise, the Defense Chair provides the examination questions to the PhD Student three days before the Defense and the Dissertation Proposal Defense proceeds as planned.
- The Dissertation Proposal is defended by the end of that summer.
The Dissertation Proposal should be approximately 30 double spaced pages, excluding list of references cited. It should include a minimum of 30 academic sources (articles, monographs). Normally, the dissertation proposal has eight sections: a research overview that summarizes the student’s proposed program; problem statement and key questions that will be framing the student’s dissertation; a comprehensive review of research and debates that inform the student’s research topic (this section could be divided into sub-sections with headings); methodology and methods; ethical considerations; anticipated contributions; timeline; and budget.
NB: These guidelines apply to monograph, manuscript, or portfolio options of the dissertation except where noted.
A summary (approximately 250 words) of the student’s proposed research program (this would typically involve a short introduction to the problem, the research questions, the methodology and methods of data collection and analysis, the anticipated contributions and impact).
Problem Statement and Key Questions
A statement of an issue or a problem that delineates why the research topic is important to explore. The problem may be theoretical (e.g. extending or complementing to specific concepts and theoretical questions) and/or methodological (e.g. attending to key methods in gender studies that clarify, extend, or complement a student’s area of study). This section includes 3-4 key questions that will inform the student’s dissertation research. The problem statement and the key questions delineate the significance of the study. This section should be about 1-2 pages.
Review of Research and Debates
In this section, the student provides a literature review, including key themes and ideas that inform their research. The student must demonstrate that they are familiar with their area of research and also show how their literature relates to key themes in gender studies. Put plainly: what body or bodies of theory speak to their dissertation? What theoretical questions are guiding their project? Students are welcome to present their review of research in sections. This section should include and extend the key texts that informed the student’s syllabus and/or practicum. The literature review should be about 10-15 pages.
Methodology and Methods of Data Collection and Analysis
This section will outline the student’s methodology (e.g., case study, phenomenology, grounded theory, ethnography, narrative inquiry, community-based participatory research, etc.) as well as their research method(s) and their data analysis method(s). Where appropriate, the student’s study site(s) should be included in this section.
Students are encouraged to discuss their methodology and appropriate methods to fit their research goal with their supervisor. For those students who intend to engage with human research participants, they may wish to develop their Queen’s General Research Ethics Board application alongside writing this section as it will help ensure ethical compliance (see next section). The methodology and methods section should be divided into sub-sections and it should be about 5-8 pages long.
Depending on the method(s) of data collection, this section can run from one line (“no ethical considerations”) to about 1-2 pages if the student intends to engage with human research participants.
If the student is writing a monograph dissertation, provide a chapter breakdown. If the student is writing a manuscript dissertation consisting of publishable journal articles, provide 2-3 sentences about each article. If the student is writing a dissertation portfolio, provide details about each component of your research program. This should be approximately one page.
Provide a timeline that spans from “writing proposal” (Fall Year Two) to “dissertation defense” (Spring/Summer Year Four). This section should be one page and can include research trips, conferences, and other potential sites that will complement the student’s dissertation studies.
Important: While there are several reference books on “How to Write a Dissertation Proposal” at Stauffer Library and online materials that are really helpful. If a student is struggling, they should remember to check in with their supervisor on an agreed-upon basis (e.g., once a month).
Where applicable, provide a budget of expected costs associated with conducting the research. This can include, for example: travel to/from field site and/or conferences (airfare, ground transportation), accommodation, meals, compensation for research participants, honoraria for community advisors, conference fees, etc. Indicate where funding is secured (e.g., through a supervisor’s grant funds where eligible, SGS funding, and/or a student’s own grant or contract) and where it is not. Where funding is not secured, indicate where funding will be sought and/or a Plan B to complete the proposed work.
The Dissertation Proposal defense serves as the PhD Qualifying Examination in Gender Studies. The defence is chaired by the Grad Chair (or a Grad Committee delegate), and all members of the Supervisory Committee are expected to attend.
To initiate the Dissertation Proposal defence process, the following steps are required:
- When the Supervisor and student agree that the proposal is ready for defence, the Supervisor notifies the Graduate Office by submitting Form P5 – Dissertation Proposal Defense to the Student’s dashboard at least one month prior to the defense. It is the responsibility of the Supervisor to organize the date, time, and location of the defense by confirming availability with the Proposal Defense Chair and the Supervisory Committee. The Graduate Assistant can assist the Supervisor as needed.
- At least three weeks prior to the defense, the student submits an electronic copy of the proposal to the Student’s dashboard. This document is then shared with their supervisor, members of the supervisory committee, the Graduate Chair, and the Graduate Office. The student should be prepared to provide Supervisory Committee members with a hard copy if requested.
- Each Supervisory Committee member is to complete a Dissertation Proposal Evaluation Report (Form P6) at least 5 working days before the exam.
- The Evaluation form includes a brief report on the Proposal (a paragraph or two), and if the Proposal is deemed ready to defend, will also include one or two key questions the Committee member wishes to pose during the Defense. Committee Members’ questions will be compiled and shared with the student 3 working days in advance of the defense by the Defense Chair. Students are permitted to prepare speaking notes to refer to during the defense.
- The Dissertation Proposal defense proceeds as scheduled, unless one or more examiner reports come back saying ‘not ready’. This is a critical responsibility of the Supervisory Committee as it can allow a student more time, if needed, to prepare for the defense.
- If one or more of the examiner reports indicate ‘not ready’, then the Proposal Defense Chair will consult with the PhD student and Supervisory Committee as to whether they wish to proceed with the Defense, or instead to a second committee meeting.
- If two or more examiner reports indicate ‘not ready’ then the Proposal Defense Chair will communicate to the PhD student and Supervisory Committee that a second committee meeting will be held in place of the Dissertation Proposal defense.
- At that second committee meeting, the examiners’ concerns are raised and the student is given time to make revisions before scheduling a new Dissertation Proposal defense date. The student should complete revisions within two weeks to two months. The program will not normally allow revisions to proceed past four months.
- o It is the responsibility of the supervisor to follow the same protocol as noted above for scheduling a new Dissertation Proposal Defense date.
At the Dissertation Proposal defense, the Supervisory Committee determines whether the defense was successful with respect to both the oral and the written components.
The Dissertation Proposal Defense Chair does not vote; their role will be to ensure a respectful and fair process, and to record highlights of the general discussion. The Dissertation Proposal Defense Chair does not ask questions, unless seeking clarification for record-keeping purposes. The Dissertation Proposal defense proceed as follows:
- The Chair introduces everyone at the defense and reviews the process.
- The Chair asks the student to leave the meeting while the Chair review the reports from the Supervisory Committee and an order of questions from the Supervisory Committee is established (usually the member furthest removed from the student begins and the supervisor is last to ask any questions).
- The Chair asks the student to come back into the meeting, reports on the decisions made about order of questions, and answers any questions the student may have about the process before getting the round of questions underway. It can be anticipated that two rounds of questions may be necessary, but the defense should take no more than two hours.
- Once the line of questions is complete, the Chair asks the student to leave the meeting while the committee deliberates on the outcome of the Dissertation Proposal defense: Pass, Minor Revisions Required, Major Revisions Required, or Fail. Details associated with any required revisions, or in the unlikely event of a fail, are identified and recorded, including timeline to complete. While it is ideal for the Committee to come to consensus, it may not always be possible. In instances where consensus is not reached, the defence chair will call a vote.
- The Chair asks the student to return, conveys the Supervisory Committee’s decision on the outcome of the defense, and provides any instructions to the student.
- Further informal discussion as necessary is allowed before the meeting is adjourned.
Note: After the examination, students or faculty members may speak with the Grad Chair and/or the Department Head if they have any concerns about its conduct.
Within five business days, the Dissertation Proposal Defense Chair will complete and submit Form P7 – Dissertation Proposal Defense Outcome to the GNDS Grad Chair, supervisor, and student. Copies of the completed, signed Form P7 and all Form P6’s are given to all parties, and kept on file in the Graduate Office.
As noted above, the Supervisory Committee determines whether the defense was successful with respect to both the oral and the written components. Both components must be passed in order to progress. The outcome of the oral component is either Pass or Fail. The outcome of the written component can fall into one of four Categories described below.
If the student receives “Pass”, they transition from PhD student to PhD Candidate and are cleared to proceed with their doctoral research as described in their proposal, provided they have all other necessary approvals (e.g., institutional ethics clearance, community-based ethics clearance), and they continue to work with their supervisor and Supervisory Committee for the duration of their program.
If the student receives "Minor Revisions Required" for the written component, they will have designated time to complete the revisions and resubmit to the PhD supervisor for review and final approval. All revisions should be highlighted for the reviewer (minor revisions should take no more than two weeks to complete). The PhD supervisor would convey approval to proceed by completing Form P8 - Dissertation Proposal Revisions Outcome.
If the student receives “Major Revisions Required” for the written component,” they will have designated time to complete the revisions and resubmit to all members of the Supervisory Committee for review and final approval. All revisions should be highlighted for the reviewers (major revisions should take no more than eight weeks to complete). The Supervisory Committee would convey approval to proceed by completing Form P8 - Dissertation Proposal Revisions Outcome.
If the student receives “Fail” for the written component or the oral component, the Chair will provide a written report synthesizing comments from the Examining Committee that outline the reason for the decision. At this juncture, the student can be re-examined for the written component and/or the oral component. They also have the choice of voluntarily withdrawing from the program by completing the SGS Academic Change Form. It is expected that the Second Proposal Defense will take place within four months of the First Proposal Defense date. The second Dissertation Proposal defense will entail only the component that was failed in the first defense. The Supervisory Committee’s direction must be explicitly stated in Form P7 – Dissertation Proposal Defense Outcome. The second attempt is the final attempt and there are only two possible outcomes: Pass or Fail.
Should the student Fail a second time, then the student will be withdrawn from the PhD program on general academic grounds. Withdrawal from the program will be initiated two weeks following the program’s announcement to the student of the defense outcome. During this two week period, the student may choose to voluntarily withdraw from the program by completing the SGS Academic Change Form. After two weeks, if they have not voluntarily withdrawn, then the Grad Chair will recommend the student’s withdrawal to the Chair of the Faculty Graduate Council and the Grad Chair shall inform the student in writing that this recommendation is being made and outline the grounds for this recommendation. Such a recommendation may be appealed by the student (see SGS General Regulations).
- After successfully completing all coursework, including GNDS 950, and the Syllabus, Dissertation Proposal and Proposal Defence, a PhD student transitions to ‘PhD candidate’, and completes their doctoral research and dissertation.
- During Years 3 and 4, PhD candidates conduct original research and prepare written components of the dissertation under the guidance of their PhD supervisor.
- PhD candidates preparing a Manuscript or Portfolio Dissertation submit the first chapter / component for supervisory review in Winter Year 3, the second in Spring/Summer Year 3, the third in Fall Year 4, and the complete dissertation in Winter Year 4.
- PhD candidates preparing a Monograph Dissertation submit a rough draft of the complete dissertation in Fall Year 4, and the complete dissertation in Winter Year 4.
- The dissertation moves to defence in Spring / Summer term of the Year 4. The PhD examination follows the regulations of the School of Graduate Studies.
Dissertation Examining Committee
The Dissertation Examining Committee is comprised of at least six members. After the student advances to candidacy and before a completed dissertation is submitted, the PhD candidate and PhD supervisor begin to plan the composition of the Dissertation Examining Committee. The PhD candidate and PhD supervisor should work together to identify potential committee members, determine the final composition of the Dissertation Examining Committee, and decide how each potential committee member is approached and invited to join. Normally the supervisor extends these invitations. Supervisory committee members may continue onto this committee, but they may withdraw, or the student and supervisor may choose to ask other or additional faculty members to serve.
All members of the Dissertation Examining Committee, except the supervisor, must be at arm’s length from the PhD candidate and the thesis content so as not to be in conflict of interest with the PhD candidate (examples include co-authorship with the student on manuscripts that form part of the thesis; a personal or family relationship with the student; a person with a vested interest in the thesis/research for personal/financial gain). The external examiner must be a person with whom the PhD candidate has not previously studied with, collaborated with, or have a personal or family relationship. The Chairperson is appointed by the School of Graduate Studies and conducts the defence in accordance with the policies and procedures of the School of Graduate Studies. Please refer to Doctoral Oral Thesis Examinations for details.
The student’s Dissertation Examining Committee is thus comprised of at least six members:
- Chairperson - (selection made by the SGS Thesis Coordinator)
- Head of the Department (or delegate)
- At least one other member of the Department (may have been on the Supervisory Committee)
- At least one faculty member from another Department (cannot have been on the Supervisory Committee)
- External Examiner from outside Queen's University
With the exception of the Chairperson for Doctoral Programs, it is the responsibility of the Department to select, verify eligibility, and invite all members of the Thesis Examining Committee.
Once the dissertation is considered ready to defend, the supervisor works with the PhD candidate and members of the Dissertation Examining Committee to set a date, time, and location for the defence meeting.
To initiate the dissertation defense process, the following steps are required:
- The supervisor should submit the completed and signed SGS PhD Oral Thesis Examination Form to the Graduate Office no later than 30 working days (i.e., 30 days not including the date of submission, the date of defence, holidays, or weekends) before the examination date. The Graduate Office will coordinate the details with SGS.
- The PhD candidate is responsible for reviewing the SGS requirements for Degree Completion and providing copies of the thesis/project to their committee members - in their preferred format - no less than 25 working days prior to the date of defence (i.e., 25 days not including the date of submission, the date of defence, holidays, or weekends). At some point before the deadline for distributing the thesis, the PhD candidate should confirm with each committee member if they would prefer to receive the thesis as a hard copy, a PDF, or a Word document.
- The PhD candidate is to submit a PDF copy of the thesis to the School of Graduate Studies (firstname.lastname@example.org), for format review. The SGS Thesis Coordinator will notify the PhD candidate if any corrections are required before the final version of the thesis is submitted to QSpace. Note: if the thesis is too large to send by email, QShare is the best option.
The Chair is appointed by SGS and conducts the defence in accordance with the policies and procedures of the School of Graduate Studies. Please see Doctoral Oral Thesis Examinations.