Each student in the MKin program will complete a thesis during their two-year tenure at the university. You must propose your thesis during the first year of the program by submitting a written document and orally presenting your proposed research. At the conclusion of the program, you must submit a final thesis and orally defend the thesis to your committee.
The guidelines and procedures for the proposal, defense and written thesis are below.
Thesis Proposal Procedures
1. During the fall and winter terms of the first year of the program, students and their supervisors, in conjunction with the graduate coordinator (GC), should select the members of the Thesis Advisory Committee (TAC). It is strongly suggested that the TAC is selected by Jan. of the first year of entry into the program. The GC must approve the TAC in order to ensure an equitable distribution of workload across faculty members.
2. TACs must consist of a thesis advisor, who normally will be a full-time faculty member in the Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education (KPE), and two other members from KPE. Normally, there will be three members of the TAC; however, in cases of co-supervision, there will be four members of the TAC. Should it be deemed desirable for a person from outside Laurier to sit on the TAC, this person needs to be approved for graduate faculty status at Laurier by the dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.
3. In the winter term of the first year of study, it is strongly advised that each student will have a minimum of one meeting/term with their TAC, in order that: (1) the TAC will be aware of the progress (or lack of progress) of the student; and (2) the TAC can provide the student with feedback about their thesis. These meetings will be recorded on the student’s progress reports that are completed in January, May and September. Should a TAC not meet with a student each term, an explanation must be provided on the progress report as to why the meeting did not occur. Additionally, in order to keep TAC members apprised of progress during the term, each student will have their TAC sign off on portions of their progress report prior to submission to the graduate administrative assistant (GAA).
Note: It is important to note that selection of the TAC and subsequent meetings will be dependent on the progress of each individual student.
4. Ideally, all graduate students should propose their thesis by the end of the first year in the program (Aug.).
5. 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.
6. The GAA is responsible for coordinating schedules of the TAC and setting a proposal date, time and location. The GAA is also responsible for booking the room and ensuring that the room has multi-media technology.
7. At least two weeks prior to the proposal, the student should ensure that all members of the TAC receive a copy of the proposal paper. One copy of the proposal paper should also be submitted to the GAA as an office copy (for individuals to examine prior to the proposal). The student is responsible for photocopying or printing costs. As such, students should not email their proposals to faculty members unless requested.
8. 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 to the department 1 or 2 days prior to the proposal.
9. The GC and student should complete Part 1 of the Master’s Student Proposal Approval form. The form is then given to the supervisor, who is responsible for obtaining the signatures of the TAC following the proposal. The form should then be given to the GAA.
10. The GAA is responsible for keeping a copy of the form and proposal for KPE records.
11. A copy of the proposal and original Proposal Approval Form are then taken to the Graduate Studies office.
12. 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 KPE files for review purposes.
MKin Thesis Defence Procedures
1. The Thesis Examination Committee (TEC) must consist of all the members of the Thesis Advisory Committee (TAC) and an external examiner who is knowledgeable on the subject of the thesis. The external examiner must be approved by the graduate coordinator (GC). Normally, at least one member of the TEC must be from outside of the academic unit/program of the candidate, and this person is typically the external.
2. A minimum of five weeks prior to the defence, the supervisor should provide the GC with a list of three or more names of potential external examiners. The GC will select, in consultation with the supervisor, the external. It is the responsibility of the GC or the GAA (graduate administrative assistant) to contact the external.
The criteria for an external examiner are as follows:
- An external examiner for a master's thesis must be at arm's length from the candidate and the thesis advisor (TA).
- Arm's length means not being a close friend, or regular or current (in the last five years) research or grant collaborator with the TA or candidate, or a former professor, supervisor or co-worker of the candidate (which includes being a contributor to any research project involving the work for the master's, or to any part of the thesis in terms of project development, data collection, or data interpretation).
- It also means not being in a conflict-of-interest position with regard to the candidate or TA and not having a vested interest in the outcome of the oral defense.
- Source: Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies
3. A minimum of five weeks* prior to the defence, the candidate must provide the TAC with his/her thesis. The GAA must be informed by the candidate the day the TAC receives the document. Within two weeks’ time, the committee will decide whether the thesis is ready to go forward for defence. The “Master’s Thesis Defence – Request to Schedule Oral Examination” report must be completed and submitted to the Kinesiology and Physical Education (KPE) GC/GAA if the document is ready to go forward. Once the form has been signed, the GC/GAA will contact the potential external examiner and determine his/her availability. If the external examiner is from outside the university, a copy of his/her CV is required and should be sent to the GC.
*Note: The five-week period is only a guideline. At any point during this period, the TAC or the external may determine that the thesis is not ready to go forward.
4. A minimum of three weeks prior to the defence, the candidate is responsible for ensuring that the supervisor and committee members have received a copy of the thesis. The candidate must also submit two copies of the thesis to the KPE office (one for the external examiner, one for the chair of the defence/office copy for viewing). The GAA is responsible for sending the copy to the external and ensuring the external has received the copy. The student is responsible for all photocopying/printing costs.
5. The GC and the GAA ensure that the proposed external examiner receives administrative approval. The GAA arranges for a chairperson for the oral defence, and sets the date and time of the oral defence. The KPE office also ensures that the chairperson receives a copy of the thesis. The defence will be scheduled within three weeks of the necessary materials being submitted.
6. The GAA is responsible for coordinating schedules of the TEC, setting a defence date, time and location. The GAA is also responsible for booking the room and ensuring that the room has multi-media technology.
7. Once the date, time and location are set, and the external examiner has responded to the defence with a call or email, the GAA should inform the entire department of the defence via email. All relevant information should be forwarded in this email, including thesis title, student name, supervisor name, committee members, date, time and location. Within two weeks of sending the thesis document to the external, the GAA will contact the external to determine whether he/she feels the thesis is ready to go forward for defence. A reminder of the defence should also be sent out one or two days prior to the defence. In addition, a poster should be placed in visible locations around the department.
8. The chair of the defence should receive, prior to the defence, a copy of the Guidelines for Conducting the Thesis Oral Defence, the student’s grades and the oral exam report. All forms and instructions can be found in the Graduate Calendar.
Additionally, the chair of the defence will receive the criteria for the Gold Medal of Excellence, which are:
- Normally a minimum overall GPA of 10.5 in coursework
- A minimum of A- in any course
- The majority of TEC must agree that the thesis is outstanding
- Practicum work (where applicable) is categorized as outstanding by the supervisor.
Process for Gold Medal
- The defence chair will ask the external to provide his/her comments/decision regarding the thesis and gold medal.
- The chair will then ask the TAC members to provide their comments concerning the student.
- Lastly the chair will ask the supervisor for his/her comments regarding the gold medal. Prior to this point in time the supervisor should not provide his/her thoughts on the matter, unless he/she does not support the decision of the student being nominated for a gold medal.
- At no point in time should the chair of the defence provide any recommendations concerning the gold medal. The chair must remain neutral.
After the defence, if the decision category identified a need for revisions of any sort, these will be discussed during the in camera session of the TEC. The chair will record the specific recommendations made by each of the TEC members at that time. Ideally, the chair will submit the changes as is or type the recommendations made, and subsequently attach the changes to the form and give a copy to the GAA. In some circumstances the supervisor may hand in the changes if he/she prefers to do so. The chair/supervisor will also provide a copy of the changes to the advisor (if coming from the chair) and the student. The student will be required to provide a typed summary of how he/she addressed each of the changes and have the supervisor sign off on these changes.
This summary must be submitted alongside the form and the revised thesis to the GAA. Should this process not be completed, the forms will not be sent to the Graduate Studies Office. The GC will review the submitted changes prior to the documentation being brought to the Graduate Studies Office.
9. Following the defence, the chair of the defence (not the advisor) should return the Master's Thesis/MRP Oral Examination Report to the GAA.
10. If the committee agrees the candidate is Gold Medal worthy, the supervisor writes a letter of support which must be submitted within two working days following the defence to the GAA. The TEC members, the chair, the GAA and the GC are also sent a copy of the letter by the supervisor. Prior to fall convocation (or spring convocation if applicable), one application will be selected by the graduate committee. This application will go forward from the KPE office to Grad Studies to be considered for the Gold Medal. Once the candidate is selected, a second supporting letter will be required to be submitted with the other material.
11. The student must make changes to the thesis and then submit a copy to his/her supervisor for review. A copy of the changes must also be brought to the GAA for the GC to review once the supervisor has signed off on the changes.
12. The supervisor is responsible for ensuring all changes have been made, if the changes are minor. The supervisor will then sign the “Oral Exam Report” which the GAA will have. Once the changes to the thesis have been made and all the appropriate signatures have been obtained, the GAA brings a copy of the form (including the Gold Medal letter if applicable), a list of changes, and a copy of the summary of the changes (where applicable to the Graduate Studies Office.
13. Thesis Submission Process: The GAA will provide the candidate with the following forms prior to the defence:
- Thesis non-exclusive licence
- ProQuest Subject Code Form
- Embargo request form
- Scholars Commons submission agreement
The final approved document must be uploaded to Scholars Commons @ Laurier. Students must not upload their dissertation until their supervisor has approved the final document and all paperwork (oral examination report/graduate candidate record and four additional forms) has been sent to FGPS.
- Scholars Common Submission Guidelines for Theses and Dissertations
- More Information on Dissertation and Thesis Preparation, Scheduling and Submission
Oral Thesis Defence Guidelines
Note: These guidelines are primarily intended for the chair of the defence committee. They are provided here for graduate students' reference.
Guidelines for Conducting the Thesis Oral Defence
The purpose of the oral defence of the master’s thesis is to demonstrate to the members of the TEC that the candidate fully understands the process and outcome of the work and the meaning and significance of the findings in relation to the relevant practice and/or literature of the discipline.
The defence is normally one and a half to two hours duration and is conducted by the chairperson. Any member of the university community is entitled to attend the defence, but the chair has the authority to exclude persons whose conduct disturbs the defence procedures. Nonmembers of the university community may attend but must receive the permission of the candidate, the thesis advisor, and the chair of the defence.
1. Once all members of the TEC are present and necessary introductions have been made, the chair will ask the candidate and all other attendees to leave the room. The chair will then conduct an in camera meeting to:
- Remind the members that the candidate is being examined on both the written thesis and the oral defence;
- Remind the members of the time frame for the defence (normally 1½ to 2 hours duration);
- Decide in which order members will ask questions--the external examiner is always the first to question the candidate, the committee member from outside the academic unit of the candidate (if there is one) is usually the second to question, and the thesis advisor is usually the last;
- Decide how many rounds of questions (normally, two) will be used before other attendees can ask questions, and decide a rough limit on the number of questions or the time allotted to each member for each round of questions (e.g., two to three questions or 10 minutes per person in each round);
- Agree on any other procedures that might be required for the defence. The chair will then invite the candidate and other attendees back into the room and inform them of the procedures that have been decided upon.
2. The chair will ask the candidate to present an oral summary of the thesis (approximately 20 minutes) to begin the defence.
3. The chair will ask the external examiner to commence the rounds of questioning (in the absence of the external examiner, the chair will ask his or her questions).
4. When the members of the TEC have no further questions, the chair will offer other attendees an opportunity to direct questions to the candidate.
5. Upon the conclusion of all questions, the chair will ask the candidate and others to leave the room. If present, the dean of Graduate Studies, the dean of the candidate’s faculty, the departmental chair, and the graduate coordinator/program director are permitted to stay and observe the “in camera” deliberations of the TEC; however, they may not participate in the discussion except by invitation and they have no vote.
6. The chair will conduct an in camera meeting of the TEC to:
- Summarize the decision categories (see below);
- Review the voting procedures (see below);
- Ask all members, beginning with the external examiner, to summarize their evaluation of the written and oral presentation, indicate their vote, and identify any major and/or minor modifications they would like the candidate to complete before the final draft is submitted;
- Assist the committee to reach consensus both on a final category, the changes that must be completed, who will review the changes, and the date by which the changes should be completed (this information must be noted on the Master's Thesis/MRP Oral Examination Report);
- If the candidate meets criteria for a Medal for Academic Excellence (see criteria, below), discuss whether the candidate is to be nominated (if nominated, the reasons for the recommendation must be recorded on the Master's Thesis/MRP Oral Examination Report).
- Have members of the TEC sign the Master's Thesis/MRP Oral Examination Report.
7. The chair will then invite the candidate back into the room and:
- Inform the candidate of the committee’s decision;
- Offer the TEC members the opportunity to provide feedback to the candidate on both the written thesis and the oral defence;
- Review the revisions that are to be made to the thesis and finalize the time frame for doing so;
- Remind the candidate to report to the Graduate Studies Office to fill out and/or sign the necessary forms (i.e., Theses Non-Exclusive License form, Partial Copyright License form, ProQuest Subject Code Form) when submitting the revised final copies of the thesis.
8. The chair should return the Master's Thesis/MRP Oral Examination Report to the appropriate administrative office in the candidate’s academic unit/program. This office should then forward a copy of the form to the Graduate Studies Office.
Procedures for When a TEC Member Cannot Attend the Thesis Defence
It is expected that all members of the TEC will attend the thesis defence, either in person or via teleconference or videoconference. In the unusual event that one member of the TEC knows in advance that he or she cannot attend the defence, he or she must submit a written report, with questions and a preliminary vote (per the decision categories), to the appropriate administrative office within the academic unit/program at least one week before the defence. This office will arrange for the chair or a member of the TAC to read the questions of the absent member during the rounds of questioning in the defence and to share the preliminary vote of the absent member during the “in camera” committee deliberations. Only if the absent member is the external examiner will the preliminary vote count toward the decision. If two or more members of the TEC inform the appropriate administrative office in advance that they cannot attend the oral defence, it may be rescheduled.
In the case of an unexpected absence of the chair or a TEC member, the person who is going to be delayed or who cannot attend must, if possible, telephone the office of the chair of the department or of the program director. If any member of the TEC will be delayed not more than one hour, the department chair’s/program director’s office will inform the TEC chair, the candidate, and the other TEC members that the defense will be delayed for this period of time. If a TEC member is unable to attend, questions to be addressed to the candidate are to be dictated over the telephone, along with a confidential vote (per the decision categories).
If the TEC chair or a TEC member do not appear for the defence and do not contact the department chair’s/program director’s office within one-half hour, or when the department chair’s/program director’s office has been notified of the TEC chair’s or TEC member’s unexpected inability to attend, the following procedures are to be implemented:
- A representative of the department chair’s/program director’s office will inform the candidate, the chair of the defense, and the TEC of the unexpected absence;
- If the thesis advisor is unable to attend, another member of the TAC will be appointed as acting advisor by the chair, after an in-camera discussion with members of the TEC;
- If the chair is unable to attend, the department chair’s/program director’s office will arrange for a replacement within one (1) hour;
- If the external examiner is unable to attend, the questions and vote of the external examiner will be delivered to the chair, who will represent the external examiner, ask the questions dictated or provided in the report by the external examiner, and share the external examiner’s preliminary vote during the in-camera deliberations (and this vote will count in the determination of a decision);
- If a member of the TAC is absent, but is able to dictate questions to be addressed to the candidate, the chair will be provided with and ask the member’s questions. The chair will share the absentee member’s preliminary vote during the in-camera deliberations, but this vote will not count in the determination of a decision.
The examination is to be postponed and re-scheduled as soon as possible only if the candidate or two or more members of the TEC do not appear.
Decision Categories for the Thesis Defence
The following are the decision categories that are available to the TEC:
- Accepted: The thesis is accepted but may require minor typographical and/or minor editorial corrections to be made to the satisfaction of the thesis advisor.
- Accepted with minor modifications: The thesis requires minor changes in substance or major editorial changes, which are to be made to the satisfaction of members of the examining committee designated by the committee. The examining committee’s report must include a brief outline of the nature of the changes required and must indicate the time by which the changes should be completed. Normally, such changes should be completed within four weeks of the date of the examination.
- Accepted with major modifications: The thesis requires more substantive changes, but will be acceptable when these changes are made to the satisfaction of those members of the examining committee designated by the committee. The examining committee’s report must include a brief outline of the nature of the changes required, and the date by which the changes are to be completed.
- Decision deferred: The thesis requires modifications of a substantial nature, the need for which makes the acceptability of the thesis questionable. The examining committee’s report must contain a brief outline of the modifications expected and should indicate the time by which the changes are to be completed. The revised thesis must be resubmitted for re-examination. Normally, the re-examination will follow the same procedures as for the initial submission. Normally, the same examining committee will serve. A decision to defer is open only once for each candidate.
- Rejected: The thesis and/or defense are not acceptable. The committee must report the reasons for rejection. A candidate whose master’s thesis has been rejected may petition for readmission to write a new thesis or to complete a course work option.
Criteria for Nomination for a Medal for Academic Excellence
The criteria for nominating a candidate for a Medal for Academic Excellence are:
- Normally, a minimum overall grade point average of 10.5 in course work;
- Normally, a minimum of A- in any course;
- The majority of the TEC members, which must include the external examiner, consider the thesis to be outstanding;
- Practicum work (where applicable) is categorized as outstanding by the practicum supervisor.