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Doctoral Program Requirements

Note: University regulations apply to all students at Laurier. If there is any discrepancy between the program or progression requirements outlined on this page and those in the university's academic calendars, the academic calendars are the official sources of information. The information below is from the latest calendar, and you may be following progression requirements from an earlier calendar. Students are responsible for checking the appropriate calendar. Contact your program coordinator should you notice any discrepancies.


In their first year of study, PhD students are required to take four 0.5 credit courses, typically two in each term.


There are two PhD Candidacy exams: the Comprehensive Area Exam and the Specialization Area Exam. Both exams are designed to prepare students in areas of specialization for teaching and research. The Comprehensive Area Exam is comprised primarily of canonical texts for a teachable area, while the Specialization Area Exam is orientated towards the dissertation and may cover, in-depth, both the canonical and the non-canonical texts necessary for the dissertation research. The two exams complement and reinforce each other, but occur at separate stages of the program and are graded separately.

PhD Schedule

Schedule Overview

Year Fall Term Winter Term Spring Term
  • Two courses
  • Two courses
  • Study for the CAE
  • Write CAE (December)
  • Study for the SAE
  • Draft dissertation proposal due
  • Write SAE (August)
  • Dissertation proposal due eight week later
  • Dissertation
  • Language exam (fall or winter term)
  • Dissertation
  • First chapter of thesis due (April)
  • Language exam (fall or winter term)
  • Dissertation
  • Dissertation
  • Dissertation
  • Dissertation defence

Program Standing

A minimum standing of B+ in all prescribed graduate courses and seminars is required. Students are normally expected to maintain an A- average in the program. A student who twice fails the Comprehensive Area Exam, the Specialization Area Exam, or the language exam will normally be required to withdraw from the program.

Research Progress Report

On April 15 of each year of registration, students are required to complete an annual research progress report detailing the achievements of the previous year and the objectives for the next year. The report must demonstrate satisfactory progress, and must be signed with comments by the advisor and graduate coordinator, and filed with the graduate coordinator and the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies office. Failure to submit a satisfactory report may result in a suspension of the student's funding or the student being required to withdraw from the program.