Doctoral Thesis

Doctoral Thesis

Thesis documents must adhere to the Faculty of Graduate Studies minimum format requirements, as well as any specific program and/or Faculty requirements format requirements. FGS E-Thesis format requirements can be found here.  

As per the Graduate Calendar, if a thesis or major research paper or project is to be edited by a professional editor, the student must obtain written permission from their supervisor and Graduate Program Director. The extent of editing provided must not exceed the guidelines set out by the Editors’ Association of Canada in its Guidelines for Ethical Editing of Theses/Dissertations found here. Graduate programs may require the student to submit a marked-up copy of the major research paper, project or thesis along with the final version to demonstrate the editing that has occurred. If an editor is used, specific acknowledgement must be included in the major research paper, project, or thesis.

Doctoral Thesis Processes & Procedures

As per the Graduate Calendar, key components of the thesis process that students should be aware of include:

  •  Review Relevant Policies
    Graduate students and supervisors are required to complete an Intellectual Property Form indicating their agreement with University policies and guidelines or indicating any specific arrangements made that differ from these policies and guidelines. Students may also want to review the Intellectual Property Checklist to ensure that all relevant IP matters are discussed with your supervisor. Graduate students and supervisors should also discuss other relevant University policies, including the Respectful Work and Learning Environment Policy (Respectful Work and Learning Environment Policy), and the Occupational Health and Safety Policy (Occupational Health Safety Policy).
  • Supervisory Committee
    In addition to their graduate supervisor, students completing a Doctoral thesis will have a thesis supervisory committee. The thesis supervisory committee comprises a minimum of three members, the graduate supervisor and two additional faculty members. The committee’s composition is determined by the graduate supervisor in consultation with their graduate student and approved by the Graduate Program Director. The committee must be in place and operational by no later than the proposal stage of the major essay, project or thesis. For more information, please visit the Graduate Calendar:
  • Admission to Doctoral Candidacy
    Admission to doctoral candidacy is a judgment by the supervisory committee and graduate program that the student is prepared to complete the requirements of the doctoral degree. Doctoral students must normally complete all candidacy requirements within 36 months of first registration. Each graduate program offering a doctoral degree is responsible for establishing detailed doctoral candidacy requirements, which are outlined as part of the graduate program’s procedures. Please contact your program to learn more about their candidacy requirements. For more information, please visit the Graduate Calendar.
  • Thesis Proposal
    Graduate students completing a major research paper, project or thesis must submit and have approved by their supervisory committee a proposal of research in accordance with their graduate program’s procedures.
  • Ethics Approval
    Following approval of the research design, human or animal ethics approval (or any other necessary approval) must be secured prior to the commencement of the research study. As part of the application for human ethics clearance, graduate students must provide a certificate of completion verifying that they have completed the Course on Research Ethics (CORE) online tutorial. The online tutorial can be found here.  Although CORE training is not mandatory for students who do not intend to engage in research with human participants, these students are still encouraged to complete the tutorial to learn more about identifying ethical issues in the design, conduct and oversight of research.
  • Thesis Defence
    Graduate thesis defences will normally be open defences. The arrangements for a thesis defence will commence once all members of the supervisory committee have signed off, indicating their approval that the student and the thesis are ready for defence. The examination committee of a doctoral defence will minimally comprise the supervisory committee, an internal examiner (from outside the graduate program but within Brock University), and an external examiner. The approval of the external examiner is the responsibility of the Dean of Graduate Studies or designate. The External Examiner Approval form can be found here. A thesis defence will typically occur four to six weeks following the external examiner’s receipt of the thesis document. External examiners produce a report identifying whether or not the thesis is ready for defence. This report is then shared with the examination committee and the graduate student prior to the defence. The Faculty of Graduate Studies outlines the required format and procedures for a doctoral defence here. The Dean of Graduate Studies or designate will chair doctoral defences. Following a thesis defence, students should typically be given two to four weeks to complete minor revisions, which are to be approved by the graduate supervisor, or four to twelve weeks to complete major revisions, which are to be approved by the graduate supervisor and the chair of the defence. For more information about thesis defences, please visit the Graduate Calendar.
  • Submission of Thesis to Digital Repository
    When the thesis is in its final form (following defence), has been approved by the graduate program, and meets FGS Thesis Format Specifications, the student will submit the thesis to the Brock University Digital Repository for review by FGS. The approved thesis must be deposited to the Brock University Digital Repository in order for a degree to be conferred.


Here are the steps to follow to complete the electronic submission:

  • Review the following information
    • Check with your graduate program for thesis submission deadline dates in order to graduate at Spring or Fall convocation.
    • Review FGS eThesis Format Specification and any specific program/Faculty requirements.
    • Under certain circumstances (e.g. to protect confidential commercial information, patentable material, pending application), the Dean of Graduate Studies may approve to delay the web access/display of your thesis for up to twelve months from the date of a successful defence. The application for this request can be found here:  Request to Restrict the Circulation of Thesis
  • Final approval from Committee
    • Ensure that your thesis has received final acceptance/approval by your Examining Committee and your graduate program before submitting electronically to the FGS for final approval. FGS will not review a Thesis if acceptance/approval has not been received.
  • Print out, complete and submit all required forms to your Graduate Program; they will then forward to the Faculty of Graduate Studies.
  • Upload/submit your thesis
    • Submit ONE electronic copy of your thesis (PDF format only) and any supplementary files via the Brock University Digital Repository for review by the FGS.
    • The uploaded thesis must be reviewed and approved before final release to the repository.
    • Please monitor your Brock student email account for correspondence regarding your submission.
    • You will be contacted by email after a review has taken place to advise you of any corrections that must be made prior to final approval.
    • Once your electronic submission is approved, you will be notified by email.
  • Thesis Binding Options
    Students and programs may wish to purchase bound copies of theses. We have sourced on-campus providers that offer MRP binding services. However, you are welcome to use other providers. Any arrangements for the binding of hardcopy theses are arranged directly with the vendor and not through the Faculty of Graduate Studies or the Library.