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Mechanical & Materials Engineering

Theses Defenses

Scheduling the Thesis Defense

The supervisor, in consultation with the student, is responsible for arranging the date and time for the thesis defense and finding two suitable examiners. The Graduate Assistant or Graduate Coordinator are informed as outlined in the "Deadlines for Scheduling Theses Defenses". If the Graduate Coordinator agrees that no conflict of interest exists with the proposed examiners then the Graduate Assistant or Graduate Coordinator will find a suitable Head's Delegate (from within the dept.) and Chair. They will book the room, complete the scheduling forms (within the scheduling deadlines of 10 working days for Master thesis and 25 working days for PhD. thesis). The candidate is responsible for delivering copies of the thesis to the other members of the examining committee and the Chair. Electronic copies may be delivered to examiners who request them.

Deadlines for Scheduling Theses Defenses

Master's Defense: The forms (Oral Thesis Examination Form, Departmental Conflict of Interest Form) to schedule the examination must be submitted to the Graduate Studies Assistant or Graduate Studies Coordinator for approval at least three weeks(15 working days) before the date planned for the examination to take place. This is necessary to find a Chair for the exam. A copy of the thesis must be handed in to the Graduate Studies Assistant no later than two weeks (10 working days) before the date planned for the examination to take place. Copies of the thesis must also be distributed to all members of the committee no later than 10 working days before the date of the thesis defense. If these deadlines are not respected, the examination may be delayed.

Ph.D. Defense:The forms (Oral Thesis Examination Form, Departmental Conflict of Interest Form) to schedule the examination must be submitted to the Graduate Studies Assistant or Graduate Studies Coordinator for approval at least six (6) weeks before the date planned for the examination to take place. This is necessary to find a Chair for the exam. A copy of the thesis must be handed in to the Graduate Studies Assistant no later than five(5) weeks before the date planned for the examination to take place. Copies of the thesis must also be distributed to all members of the committee no later than 25 working days before the date of the thesis defense. If these deadlines are not respected, the examination may be delayed.

Oral Examination Procedures are described HERE.

Format of Theses

The requirements for the format of theses are presented online and can be found at:

http://www.queensu.ca/sgs/thesis-formatting-other-resources

The Department holds a library of previous theses in McLaughlin Hall, Room 312. Candidates may ask their supervisors for advice on which theses are relevant to them and consult the Department copies.

Conduct of Defense Examination

Briefly, the examination is normally held in the following way: After general introduction, the candidate is asked to withdraw for a few minutes, during which time the Chair reads the Confidential Reports to the Committee. The student is then called back into the room to give a presentation of her/his work. This presentation should not exceed 20 minutes. The questioning then takes place in the following order: a) Examiner external to the University (Ph.D.); b) The "internal-external" examiner; c) The second departmental reader; d) The head of the department or delegate, and e) The supervisor. Usually there are two rounds of questions. After the questioning, the candidate is asked to withdraw again while the Committee deliberates. Finally the candidate is recalled and informed of the decision and the details of any corrections to the thesis.

Visitors are allowed to attend oral thesis examinations with the permission of the Chair of the Examination Committee. It is important to notify the Chair a few days in advance to allow her/him to consult both the candidate and the Department Head before the examination and avoid unnecessary stress at the time of the examination.

Defense Examination Committee

The supervisor, after consultation with the student, makes a recommendation to the Graduate Studies Coordinator regarding the proposed date, as well as suitable external (PhD), internal/external and departmental examiners. When scheduling the defense, the supervisor(s) must provide a description of any relationship of the candidate and his/her supervisor(s) with each of the examiners by completing the Departmental Conflict of Interest Form. This includes but is not limited to disclosing any joint publication, joint grant tenure, supervisor/student relationship, that occurred in the last 6 years, any family or close friend relationship, and any other relation that may prevent the examiner from being objective.

For a Ph.D. examination, departmental guidelines stipulate that the external examiner must not have been associated or affiliated with Queen's University for a period of at least 5 years and must be "at arm's length"**. In addition, at least one other member of the committee must be at arm's length from the candidate and the supervisor(s), and must not have been associated with the supervision of the thesis.

For a Master examination, departmental guidelines stipulate at least one member of the committee must be at arm's length from the candidate and the supervisor(s).

Notes:"Associated" or "affiliated" includes but is not limited to: holding an appointment (tenure-track, adjunct, course instructor, staff, PDF,…), been enrolled in a program as a student, being a member of a Queen's or joint research centre, etc.

**Arm's length requirements normally mean that examiners should not be closely associated with the candidate or the supervisor(s) for example as research collaborators, co-authors, employer/employee, supervisor/student, in the present or in the past 6 years.