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Doctoral Dissertation

The dissertation is the culmination of your doctoral program. As a PhD candidate, you are required to complete an original dissertation that makes a significant contribution to the existing knowledge in your field. Each dissertation is subject to the scholarly criticism of all members of the university community, and consequently is available in the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (FGPS) Office two weeks prior to your oral defence. The oral defence is also open to any member of the university community.

Procedures and Requirements

You are expected to follow all protocols in fully consulting with your Dissertation Advisor, members of your advisory committee, and graduate coordinator in preparing for and writing the dissertation.

All dissertations are subject to dissertation defense procedures as specified by the policies and procedures set out by the FGPS of Wilfrid Laurier University.

Refer to the graduate academic calendar for the regulations governing a doctoral dissertation, which includes the requirements concerning the structure of the doctoral advisory committee (DAC), the doctoral examining committee (DEC), and the guidelines for conducting the oral defence.

The guidelines below will ensure that the coordination of your doctoral dissertation oral defence goes smoothly. Your dissertation advisor and graduate coordinator are responsible for ensuring that the necessary forms are completed throughout this process.

Apply to Graduate

Apply to graduate at your earliest opportunity! Do not wait until after you defend or submit the final requirements to do this, because you may miss your preferred graduation ceremony if you do not apply by the final date to be included.

Fall graduation applications typically open at the end of June and spring graduation applications typically open at the beginning of November.

The online application form can be found on LORIS, under the Student Services tab. Refer also to Convocation and graduation information for details on how and when to apply to graduate.

Submit Your Dissertation for Examination

There are a few more steps to reach the finish line!

When your DAC has confirmed that dissertation is ready for defence, agreement has to be reached by the DAC, and by you, on the preferred date/time of the defence to ensure that everyone is available. From that point, many others are assigned different responsibilities to make sure that this important event can proceed as expected.

Schedule the Oral Defence

The following steps can take anywhere between seven to nine weeks before your oral defence.

Submit Your Dissertation

Congratulations! Take a moment to celebrate and decompress.

Your Graduate Candidate Record will be returned to the FGPS noting the decision of the committee. Familiarize yourself with the deadlines related to the decision categories when completing any required revisions.

Final Requirements

Make sure you are aware of upcoming deadlines for final requirements, to be eligible for tuition adjustments through the term. Check the Graduate Academic Calendar under Academic and Related Dates.

FGPS will:

  • Make adjustments to registration and arrange for any applicable adjustments to tuition and fees. After this has been done, students may submit a refund request when they have a credit balance. Note that these adjustments will also impact any funding or OSAP you received for the term.
  • Forward notice of your completion to the Convocation team to confirm your eligibility to graduate.