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Doctoral Dissertation

Dissertation Proposal Procedures

1. During the fall term of the first year of the program, students and their advisors, in conjunction with the graduate co-ordinator (GC), should select the committee members of the Doctoral Advisory Committee (DAC). The GC must approve the DAC in order to ensure an equitable distribution of workload across faculty members.

2. DACs must consist of a doctoral advisor, who normally will be a full-time faculty member in the academic unit/program of the candidate, and two other members from the academic unit/program of the candidate. Normally, there will be three members of the DAC; however, if there are four members, at least one will be from outside the academic unit/program of the candidate. Should it be deemed desirable for a person from outside of Laurier to sit on the DAC, this person needs to be approved for graduate faculty status at Laurier by the Dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. In addition to committee members with faculty status in Graduate Studies, a non-academic committee member is also encouraged to be part of the DAC to provide practical and professional feedback to the student throughout the doctoral process. This member is invited to take part in the formal procedures for the student (i.e. proposal and defence) but will act as a non-voting member.

3. Ideally, all doctoral students should propose their dissertation by their fifth term in the program (usually winter of their second year).

4. Once a student is close to proposing, the supervisor should inform the GC and GAA of a range of possible dates. This should occur no less than three weeks prior to the suggested proposal time.

5. The GAA is responsible for:

  • Coordinating schedules of the DAC.
  • Setting a proposal date, time, and location.
  • Booking the room and ensuring that the room has multi-media technology.

6. At least two weeks prior to the proposal, the student should ensure that all members of the DAC receive a copy of the proposal paper. Two copies of the proposal paper should also be submitted to the GAA: one for Graduate Studies and an office copy (for individuals to examine prior to the proposal). The student is responsible for photocopying or printing costs.

7. Once the date, time, and location are set, the GAA should inform the entire department of the proposal via email. All relevant information should be forwarded in this email, including proposal title, student name, supervisor name, committee members, date, time, and location. A reminder of the proposal should also be sent out one or two days prior to the proposal.

8. The GC and student should complete part 1 of the Doctoral Student – Proposal Approval form. The form is then given to the supervisor, who is responsible for obtaining the signatures of the DAC following the proposal. The form should then be given to the GAA.

9. The GAA is responsible for keeping a copy of the form and proposal for KPE records.

10. A copy of the proposal and original “Proposal Approval Form” are then taken to the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies office.

11. An email is sent to the student from the GAA to confirm whether the student’s coursework has been completed or whether courses still need to be completed. The GAA updates IQAP files for review purposes.

The Purpose of the Proposal

  • To ensure that you are prepared to undertake the work that you are proposing.
  • To ensure that the work being proposed is of appropriate scope for a doctoral degree in Kinesiology.
  • To help guarantee the quality of the doctoral program as a whole and thus the reputation of the department.

The dissertation proposal should contain a detailed statement of the research problem and its significance in terms of its contribution to knowledge and/or practice, a precise account of the methodology or research techniques to be employed, plus an outline of the proposed data analysis procedures to be used. The candidates must present and defend the thesis proposal to their Advisory Committee. It is the purpose of the proposal defence to establish the student's level of understanding of the research topic and to ensure that: (1) the proposed research design and methodology are consistent with standardized practice in the student's area of study, and (2) the methods chosen will enable the student to develop a scholarly piece of research. The proposal defence should also be seen as an opportunity for the student to give and receive feedback so that weaknesses can be identified and addressed.

Key Components of the Thesis Proposal

  • An abstract of the proposed work.
  • An introduction highlighting the background information from the literature, including a critical evaluation of previous research as well as clear statement of the objectives of the proposed research.
  • Inclusion of initial studies/pilot work at the discretion of the student and advisor (i.e. a proposal does not have to occur prior to the collection of data on initial studies).
  • A summary of the methodology to be used in the implementation of future studies.
  • A complete and accurate reference section.

Scheduling and Submitting a Doctoral Dissertation

Please give at least nine weeks’ notice to the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies before your proposed defence date. At nine weeks, the office should receive a completed PhD Dissertation Defence scheduling form.

Nine Weeks Before Proposed Defence Date

Your advisor must complete and submit the PhD Dissertation Defence Scheduling Form to KPE Graduate Coordinator who will forward to the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.

The form must include:

  • Signatures from all committee members.
  • Proposed dates and times for the oral examination (be specific).
  • Three proposed external examiners.
  • The CV of the first recommended external examiner.
  • The signature of the graduate coordinator.

Seven Weeks Before Proposed Defence Date

Submit three copies of your dissertation to the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. The three copies of your dissertation are provided:

  • To the external examiner.
  • To the defence chair.
  • For public display in the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.

Students are responsible for providing copies of their dissertations to their committee members (including the internal/external member of the committee).

Submit an abstract of the dissertation (300-400 words) to An electronic copy of the dissertation may be requested.

Review the oral examination policies and procedures, and dissertation style guide, in the academic calendar.

After Your Successful Defence: Submission of Dissertation

Complete and submit the following forms (to be provided at your defence by the chair):

Upload the final approved version of your dissertation to Scholars Commons @ Laurier. You must not upload your dissertation until the final document has been approved by your supervisor and until all paperwork (see above) has been sent to the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.