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Dissertation Procedures

As a student in the Mathematical and Statistical Modelling PhD program, you will have seminar presentations (MA821) of your dissertation research projects, normally in the third year of the program. The dissertation research project is a focused application-oriented project with well-defined objectives and milestones that should be typically achieved within four years. The supervisor(s) and advisory committee monitor your progress through annual reports (refer to the Graduate Academic Calendar) and regular meetings of the Dissertation Advisory Committee (DAC) to ensure that the objectives and all milestones are being met within the appropriate time for degree completion. 

The dissertation research project will be in the current areas of research in mathematical and statistical modelling in one or more of the identified application domains. To demonstrate broad knowledge in a research area in addition to a specific research topic, you are required to defend your research proposal as a PhD candidate. The defence is paired with a qualifying exam. Your research progress will be critically assessed by regularly held DAC meetings.

As a requirement for graduation from the program, you must prepare a dissertation (MA899) on your original research in mathematical and statistical modelling within one or more of the application domains identified for this program and present this dissertation to the Dissertation Examination Committee (DEC) composed of the members of the DAC and at least one external examiner as described in the regulations and procedures for the doctoral dissertation section of the Laurier Graduate Calendar. Overall, the research project and its outcome will be critically evaluated through the above-mentioned processes.

A completed PhD dissertation in this program must contain publishable results of original research, as judged by the DEC. Although it is not a requirement, it is expected that you will submit your research work for publication during the final 12 to 16 months of the program. In addition to the Symposium, it is also expected that you will attend conferences each summer, after you complete your research proposal and qualifying exam, and obtain their first publishable research results. In later years, you will be expected to present your work at reputable research conferences and submit it to peer-reviewed international journals.

Dissertation Proposal

The dissertation research proposal is part of MA810 and will typically include a review of the literature, preliminary research results, and proposed research directions for the completed dissertation. It is closely linked to an oral presentation of the dissertation research plan during the qualifying exam, with the main purpose being to ensure that you have the necessary background knowledge, command of the problem, and intellectual maturity to carry out the chosen research topic. The proposal is expected to be 10-15 pages in length (excluding a title page, references and appendices).

Annual Reports and DAC

Upon entry to the program, you are assigned at least one academic advisor from the program faculty. You should present your annual reports on progress to your academic advisor(s) by April 15 of each year of your studies, prior to the completion of their dissertations (refer to the Laurier Graduate Calendar). The full report, including your submission, is due to the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, by June 1, each year.

The annual reports will be reviewed by the your advisor(s) and commented upon by the full advisory committee. Each DAC, which is usually formed by the end of the first year of your study, will consist of three members: the academic advisor of the student and two other members who usually come from the program’s participating faculty. The primary duties of the DAC, as part of the DEC, are administering both the qualifying exam and final dissertation defence. Also, the DAC members should assist you in planning and conducting your dissertation research and provide guidance during the writing of the dissertation.

Upon the formation of the DAC, the members of the committee will remain in regular contact with you to ensure steady progress towards completion. Your advisory committee will meet twice per year to discuss your progress.

Dissertation and Final Defence

The doctoral dissertation is an original research contribution consisting of a major study or series of studies focused on one area of specialization. The dissertation is the culmination of a candidate's program. The final defence of the dissertation will be a research seminar open to the public. The regulations and procedures governing a doctoral dissertation and its evaluation, which includes the requirements concerning the structure of the advisory committee, the examining committee, and the guidelines for conducting the oral defence, are outlined in the Graduate Academic Calendar. The final dissertation examination may be scheduled after the dissertation has been written in a manner satisfactory to the DAC and distributed to the committee.

Final Defence Timelines

  • Nine weeks prior to defence date: The Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies should receive at least nine week’s notice before the proposed defence date. The office should receive a completed PhD dissertation defence scheduling form from the PhD advisor.
  • Seven weeks: You must submit three copies of your dissertation to the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.
  • Six weeks (minimum) prior to defence date: Copies of the dissertation must be distributed to all members of the DEC (including the internal/external member of the committee).