Planning Your Defense: A Practical Guide to Dates & Process
Author: Taylor Nelles-McGee (with a good dose of info from Sandra, who we are so lucky to have!)
Remember finishing up your undergraduate degree? Likely, you simply clicked “apply to graduate” by a certain date and were all set! Wrapping up a graduate program is not so simple. Between committee meetings, your written thesis, and your oral defense there’s a lot to keep track of. Ensuring you’ve completed the requirements of your degree by a particular date can also be crucial for things like funding, remaining eligible for enrolment in subsequent programs and more. Below, we demystify the process so you can plan ahead! This process looks different for M.Sc. and Ph.D. students, so skip to whichever section applies to you.
Completing Your Master of Science (M.Sc.)
Steps to Graduate
1. Obtain permission from your committee to defend and find a date for the defense. Your defense meeting is in addition to your
committee meeting for that academic year. Let Sandra know when your defense has been scheduled so that she can find a Chair
for the defense. You must submit your written thesis to your committee and to Sandra at least 2 weeks prior to this date.
2. Prepare for the defense. This is typically a 15–20 minute presentation of your research, followed by two rounds of questions from
3. Following your successful defense, the Chair will send you your thesis submission paperwork and license agreement. You must
complete these forms and any revisions to your written thesis that were required by your committee members.
4. Submit the forms to Sandra and your revised thesis to MacSphere once your supervisor has given you the go ahead and has
signed the Final Thesis Submission form.
5. Sandra will then submit a Clear to Graduate Form and upload the meeting paperwork (Final Submission form and License to
McMaster form) to the School of Graduate Studies (SGS).
Completing Your Doctoral Degree (Ph.D.)
Steps to Graduate:
Other Useful Links & Reminders: