Information for Students
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) Program
Milestones for Dissertation Students
First Year, Fall Term
Work with your supervisor to form your advisory committee using the information above. Meet with them to finalize your cognate course choices.
First Year, Winter Term
Continue or complete your coursework
First Year, Spring/Summer
Begin or continue to work on your dissertation proposal. Be sure to allow for time for your supervisor to read the drafts - when the proposal is ready to go to defense, your supervisor will ask the Graduate Support person to book a meeting for the committee. Copies of the proposal should go to all committee members and the Graduate Chair at least three weeks prior to the date of the proposal defense.
College of Nursing policy states "Upon completion of all required course work, students will complete a comprehensive examination in a written and oral format. The examination questions will relate to the doctoral student's field of study and area of research. The PhD Advisory Committee will assign 2-3 questions that address the following areas: (1) nursing theory and philosophy (knowledge of the discipline), (2) substantive theory and research pertinent to the student's field of study, and (3) research design and analysis. The members of the Advisory Committee and the doctoral student will submit suggested questions in all three areas. Normally the exam will be a one month take home format during which the student will answer the questions in scholarly paper form. The PhD Advisory Committee is responsible for determining the detailed procedure for the examination."
The written and oral examination will be graded by the Advisory Committee on a pass/fail basis. Following receipt and reading of the written work by the Advisory Committee, the student will be required to discuss the papers in an oral examination, chaired by the Graduate Chair or designate. The comprehensive examination may be repeated once, with permission of the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research.
The student prepares a presentation of the proposal of approximately 15 minutes. After the presentation, there is a general discussion of the proposal and all its components. This can be a very spirited dialogue! At the end of the meeting the student has permission to proceed with certain revisions/amendments, or the student is required to re-present the proposal with the required revisions
Ethical approval can only be obtained AFTER successful completion of the proposal defense. Ethics approval forms list the supervisor as the PI for dissertation research. Therefore, the supervisor as well as the Associate Dean, Research, Innovation and Global Initiatives will sign the form. If you are doing secondary analysis of an already established research project, you still need to obtain an ethics exemption from the Ethics office.
When the supervisor and the student have deemed the draft dissertation ready, an advisory meeting is called, with the collaboration of the Supervisor, the Graduate Chair and the Graduate Studies support person. All members must have a copy of the dissertation at least three weeks before the scheduled dissertation meeting, including the Graduate Chair.
The meeting is chaired by the Graduate Chair or designate The student prepares a 20 minute presentation that will be used for the dissertation defense, and following this a general discussion of the dissertation and presentation is held. Any revisions to the dissertation and/or presentation are discussed and agreed to by all members. Choices for the External Examiner are also discussed, as well as potential dates for the defense. Once choices are made, the Graduate Chair contacts potential External Examiners, and finalizes a date. The choice of External Examiner must be approved by the College of Graduate Studies and Research. The Graduate Support person books the room, makes arrangements for AV equipment, and sends a poster advertising the defense to the usual distribution list.
The final copy of the dissertation must be given to all committee members and the Graduate Chair at least three weeks prior to the scheduled defense. A copy for the External Examiner is given to the Graduate Office staff, who will ensure it is delivered to the External Examiner (this copy CANNOT be delivered by the student).The defense is a public event. It is chaired by the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies and Research or designate, and will follow the procedures established by the College. Following introductions, the candidate (student) gives his/her presentation. This is followed by questioning by the External Examiner and each of the committee members, including the Supervisor, in turn. When all the questions have been answered, the Candidate and any guests leave the room, and the remaining persons have a discussion. Any required revisions or changes are discussed, and the final outcome of the defense is decided. The candidate is welcomed back to the room and the outcome communicated.