Industrial Organizational Psychology Graduate Handbook - PHD

2020-2021 Handbook

Introductory Remarks

Below, you will find important information outlining the requirements and timelines to complete the PhD in Industrial-Organizational Psychology. For clarification, or if have any questions, on any of the information contained in this handbook, please contact the I-O Graduate Studies Committee Representative. 

Area-specific course requirements PHD IO

All of the courses below are required:

PSYC*6900 [0.50] Philosophy and History of Psychology as a Science

PSYC*7050[0.00]Research Seminar in I/O Psychology

PSYC*7070 [0.50] Psychological Measurement

PSYC*7080 [0.00] Consulting in Industrial/Organizational Psychology

PSYC*7130 [0.50] Introduction to Industrial/Organizational Psychology

 

Two of the six courses below that have not been taken previously are required:

PSYC*7010 [0.50] Recruitment and Selection: Methods and Outcomes

PSYC*7020 [0.50] Employee Performance

PSYC*7030 [0.50] Work Attitudes and Behaviour

PSYC*7040 [0.50] Social Processes in the Workplace

PSYC*7160 [0.50] Employee Development

PSYC*7190 [0.50] Motivation and Leadership

 

All of the courses below are electives:

PSYC*6840 [0.50] Program Evaluation

PSYC*7140 [0.50] Industrial/Organizational Psychology Special Topic Doctoral Research Seminar

PSYC*7170 [0.50] Industrial/Organizational Psychology Doctoral Research Internship I

PSYC*7180 [0.50] Industrial/Organizational Psychology Doctoral Research Internship II

 

Qualifying Exam; and PhD Thesis.

Note: PSYC7130 is exempted if taken as part of the MA. PSYC7050 must be taken in fall and winter for all registered semesters throughout the degree. PSYC7080 must be taken in fall and winter for all registered semesters in years one and two. In year three it can be taken as an elective.

Advisory Committee Membership

See Chapter II, heading Student Program, subheading Establishment of the Advisory Committee 

See also Chapter IV, heading Doctor of Philosophy, subheading Advising

See also Chapter IV, heading Doctor of Philosophy, subheading Department Regulations

 

Look for "Area-specific advisory committee membership" below CONTENTS for area-specific guidance if it exists. 

Conflict with Advisor or Advisory Committee

See chapter III General information, heading Policy on Responsibilities of Advisors, Advisory Committees and Graduate Students and Graduate Student-Advisor Mediation Procedures, subheading Dispute Resolution Mechanisms (with flowchart)

See also Chapter IV, heading Doctor of Philosophy, subheading Department Regulations

 

Look for "Area-specific conflict with advisor or advisory committee" below CONTENTS for area-specific guidance if it exists.

Transfer of advisors

See Chapter IV, heading Doctor of Philosophy, subheading Department Regulations

Students are assigned a primary advisor (or co-advisors) upon admission. In rare cases a student may wish to change his or her primary advisor (or co-advisors). If a student wishes to change his or her primary advisor (or co-advisors) the student must notify the Area Graduate Program Coordinator. The coordinator will provide assistance to the student who seeks to transfer. In those cases where the advisor is also the Area Graduate Program Coordinator, the student should contact the departmental graduate studies coordinator.

Please note that transfers will be at the discretion of the faculty member(s) being asked to become the student’s primary advisor (or co-advisors).

If a faculty member agrees to become the student’s new primary advisor (or co-advisor), then typically a new advisory committee will be constituted under the direction of the newly appointed advisor.  Normally, at least one of the members of the existing advisory committee will continue as a member of the new advisory committee.  The decision to continue as an advisory committee member is at the discretion of the faculty member.

Look for "area-specific transfer of advisors" below CONTENTS for area-specific guidance if it exists.

Area-specific transfer of advisors IO PHD

In those rare cases when a student has a conflict with their advisor and efforts to resolve the issue are unsuccessful, the following steps are suggested as a path to obtaining a new advisor.

1.  The student should notify the I/O graduate studies coordinator who will assist the student in identifying a potential new advisor. In those cases where the advisor is also the I/O graduate studies coordinator, the student should contact the departmental graduate studies coordinator.

2. A new thesis advisory committee will be constituted under the direction of the newly appointed advisor.  Normally, at least one of the members of the existing advisory committee will continue as a member of the new advisory committee.  The decision to continue as an advisory committee member is at the discretion of the faculty member.

Examination Committee Membership

See Chapter IV, heading Doctor of Philosophy, subheading Department Regulations

The student’s advisor in responsible for establishing the Examination Committee. It is important that the student does not directly contact the External Examiner. Once the student has an initial draft of the thesis ready for evaluation by their Advisory Committee, the advisor should begin establishing the Examination Committee.

1. They should forward a list of three potential External Examiners to the Graduate Secretary who will verify that the examiners are not currently on record with graduate studies (i.e., are not already taking part in the University of Guelph committees).

2. Provided that the Graduate Secretary and Advisor cannot identify any conflicts of interest, the Advisor will informally contact externals, verifying with them their availability, and that they are not planning to be serve on any other University of Guelph committees before the Final Oral Examination.

3. The Advisor will then identify the remaining committee members, verifying that each does not have any joint projects with the External Examiner.

4. The full list of proposed Examination Committee members should then be forwarded to the Department Chair (CC’ing the Graduate Secretary), for formal approval.

5. Once the External Examiner has been formally approved, the Advisor will obtain the examiners address, phone number, email address, availability for the defense over several weeks, and whether they are planning to attend the Final Oral Examination in person or by video conference.

**All members of the Examination Committee must receive a copy of the final draft of the PhD Thesis (i.e., which include the corrections requested by the Advisory Committee) at least one month (four weeks) before the date of the PhD Thesis Public Lecture & Examination.

Look for "Area-specific examination committee creation" below CONTENTS for area-specific guidance if it exists. 

Area-specific Examination Committee Membership IO PHD

None

Qualifying Exam

See Chapter IV, heading Doctor of Philosophy, subheading Qualifying exam

See Chapter IV, heading Doctor of Philosophy, subheading Department Regulations

Department of Psychology Form: Approval of Qualifying Examination Paper Proposal

Once the examination/defense has been setup by the Graduate Program Assistant, the Chair is responsible for following each program's specific process for the complete examination experience (e.g. questioning process from public attendees and examining committee, avoidance of asking own questions, following the time requirements, etc.). This process needs to be followed as precisely as possible to ensure fairness across all students within the program.

However, it is possible for the student and/or advisor to request a modification or accommodation to the process. All requests must be made to the Examination/Defense Chair who is responsible for ensuring that the process is fair to all students. Accommodations are possible as long as these are managed by the Defense/Examination Chair.  If you have a defense/examination coming up and would like to discuss an issue related to the process, please discuss this with your Defense/Examination Chair with as much advance notice as possible to allow this person to discuss with relevant others if necessary (e.g. Department Chair, Grad Studies) and/or to arrange the modifications.

Look for "Area-specific qualifying exam" below CONTENTS for area-specific guidance if it exists. 

Area-specific qualifying exam PHD IO

PhD Qualifying Exam

The qualifying examination is an examination by the I-O Area. Upon completing it satisfactorily, the student is deemed to have met both departmental, and area, standards and becomes a candidate for the PhD degree.

Qualifying Exam Information

Overview

Students are to write (written component) and defend an original scholarship that makes a theoretical contribution to the field. The goal is to develop a novel, insightful conceptual article that would be suitable for submission to an outlet such as Academy of Management Review. The paper needs to focus on a topic that is unrelated to the dissertation.
 
The paper (and oral presentation) needs to advance theory or the theory development process in the area of Industrial/Organizational psychology. This can be done by… 
 
developing new theory,
significantly challenging current theory,
synthesizing recent advances and ideas into fresh theory, or
initiating a search for new theory by pointing out and carefully delineating a novel type of problem.

Evaluation

Papers will be evaluated based on substantive content, writing style, and structure.
On the defense day, students will be evaluated based on their ability to effectively defend his/her scholarly ideas. The research evaluation form (appendix A) will also be considered.

Formatting

The paper can be written according to APA style guidelines or the Academy of Management style guidelines. However, the student must use one style and it must be consistent throughout.
The paper should be between 20-30 double spaced pages of text using 1 inch margins and 12-point Times New Roman font. Abstract, appendences, references, tables, and figures do not count towards the length guidelines.

Formation of the QE Committee

The examining committee, appointed by the chair or director of the academic unit concerned, consists of five members
 
The chair/director of the academic unit (or designate) or the chair of the graduate studies committee, who acts as chair of the examination committee except when this person is also chair of the advisory committee. In that event, the chair will designate another member of the regular graduate faculty of the unit to chair the examination;
Two members, normally of the regular or associated graduate faculty who are not members of the advisory committee, in addition to the chair; 
Two members of the advisory committee
One member of the examination committee must be from outside of the psychology  department.

QE Timeline

For PhD students who begin their studies in the Fall semester, they need to…
 
Submit a maximum two-page proposal to their examination committee by February 1st  of their first Winter semester.  The student will be given feedback about the scope and feasibility of the topic and idea.
Any feedback will be sent to and collated by the Chair of the committee to be sent back to the student.
Students should schedule their submission date and schedule their examination date by March 1st.
The last day for the student to submit a completed and final version of the paper to the examination committee members is June 30th  of the student’s first Spring semester.  If a paper is not received by this date and alternative arrangements have not been made, it will result in a grade of “Fail” and will be considered as a first attempt. Exceptions with respect to timing may be made if a student is enrolled in an internship approved by the I/O area during the summer semester.
Student must complete the oral component within two weeks of submitting the paper (therefore the submission date and the oral exam date should be scheduled at the same time to ensure committee member availability). 
The above timeline applies to students who start their PhD in September. 
 
If a student starts his/her PhD studies in January, the following timeline applies:
 
Submit a maximum two-page proposal to their examination committee by June 1st  of their first Spring semester.  The student will be given feedback about the scope and feasibility of the topic and idea.
Schedule paper submission and oral exam date by July 1st.
The last day to submit a completed and final version of the paper to the examination committee members is October 31st of the student’s first Fall semester.  If a paper is not received by this date and alternative arrangements have not been made, it will result in a grade of “Fail” and will be considered as a first attempt. Exceptions with respect to timing may be made if a student is enrolled in an internship approved by the I/O area.
The student must complete the oral component within two weeks of submitting the paper (therefore the submission date and the oral exam date should be scheduled at the same time to ensure committee member availability). 

QE Research Evaluation Statement

At, or prior to, the Oral examination, the examining committee must be presented with a written evaluation of the quality of the student's research performance to date and of the student's potential as a researcher. As a qualifying examination, consideration is to be given not only (1) to the student's knowledge of the subject matter and ability to integrate the material derived from his or her studies, but also (2) to the student's ability and promise in research. The examining committee will determine the relative importance to be given to these two major components of the qualifying examination. The Research Evaluation Statement Form is included in Appendix A.

QE Procedure for the Oral Examination

The oral examination will proceed as follows. 
 
The exam will take place in-camera. The student will not make a presentation of his/her paper. The oral examination will be an examination of the document turned into the committee.
It is the examination Chair’s responsibility to ensure that the procedures below are followed. 
The examination is attended by only the examination committee and will consist of several rounds of questioning. 

a) Questioning of the student by the Examination will typically proceed as follows:

Typically, there are two rounds of questions from committee members. Each committee member is allotted 15 minutes during each round. 
 
If needed, a third round of questions is possible. 
 
b) Following the questions, the student is asked to leave the room and the committee debates the quality of the document and exam performance. The candidate is deemed to have passed if not more than one of the five voting Examination Committee members votes negatively (unsatisfactory). An abstention is regarded as a negative vote. 
 
c) The committee is to evaluate the paper and the responses to questions together.
 
d) If the Examination Committee determines that the written document and oral exam are unsatisfactory, the candidate may be given the opportunity for a second attempt. A second unsatisfactory report constitutes a recommendation to the Board of Graduate Studies that the student be asked to withdraw.

Criteria for Grading QE Paper and Examination

An individual committee member will consider the paper and the oral exam together as “unsatisfactory” if he or she gives 2 or lower on two or more of the dimensions below.

Scores on the dimension below will not be tallied across committee members.

1.  Utilization of Research Literature

5. Summarizes and references a representative cross-section of the relevant literature and presents this literature. Points out the most relevant and important material for the question at hand when summarizing individual theories or research. Selected only the literature that is highly relevant for the proposed model/theory.

4. Adequately summarizes and references the major literature relevant to the response.  Shows clearly how this literature supports, or refutes, important points being made in the paper.

3. Summarizes and references the literature, but misses some work that would make the argument more complete and effective or draws on literature that is not relevant for answering the question. Is somewhat inconsistent in use of the research literature, selectively picking and choosing from sources rather than systematically reflecting the relevant gist of the theorist’s ideas or researcher’s findings. 

2. Fails to include major works that professional consensus would identify as foundational to the area of research or theory under discussion. Use of remaining sources is partial and incomplete, although the concepts and research in this work is used appropriately. Fails to consider the literature that presents alternate points of view.  

 1. Fails to cite a considerable portion of the relevant and important theory or research results that directly bear on the question.

2. Grasp of Subject Matter

5. Demonstrates a superior and accurate (the authors/ theorists would be in full agreement with their ideas or findings being summarized in this way) grasp of the subject matter. Accurately answers the complexities of the question.

4. Demonstrates very good grasp of subject matter. Response shows good depth of understanding.

3. Generally demonstrates a good understanding of the subject matter. However, at times, uses concepts in a way that is liable to cause objections from an informed reader on the grounds that the ideas have not been adequately represented or are represented in a superficial manner.

2. Demonstrates a limited and not entirely accurate grasp of subject matter such that the overall quality of the response is noticeably reduced. At times, misrepresent ideas from the theoretical or research literature.

1. Demonstrates very little understanding of subject matter. Discusses the research literature in ways that the author/ theorist or professional colleagues would reasonably object to as unfounded and/or misleading. Misunderstands and/or misrepresents important concepts, theories, research findings, and/or practical implications.

3.  Integrative Skills

5. Insightfully integrates the different issues that are relevant to the subject matter. Insightfully integrates theory, research, and practice. Generates novel, but solidly grounded, ideas and concepts that are extrapolated from, and extend, the established literature and practice and integrates them into a coherent (i.e., mutually supportive) framework.

4. Adequately integrates the different issues that are relevant to the subject matter. Adequately integrates theory, research, and practice. Concepts, theories, research findings, and practical implications are carefully explained and related to each other in a proficient manner within the issues and perspectives already established in the literature.

3. Has some difficulty integrating concepts into a coherent and targeted argument that is convincing to the reader. Has some difficulty integrating the different issues that are relevant to the subject matter for theory, research, and practice.

2. Integration of concepts, theories, findings, and practical implications is partial and incomplete.  Has considerable difficulty integrating the different issues that are relevant to the subject matter (e.g., theory, research, and practice) into a coherent framework.

1. Is unable to integrate material into a coherent framework. Is unable to integrate the different issues that are relevant to the subject matter.  Cannot integrate theory, research, and practice.

4.  Critical Analysis

5. Presents concise and original critical analyses that are based on sound logical and/or empirical foundations. Insightfully points out technical, conceptual, procedural, and other fatal flaws (i.e., that have a demonstrable impact on the literature) and recommends appropriate remedies. Consistently flags critical analysis and speculation, clearly distinguishing these from established research findings and weighs them appropriately in the line of argument.

4. Presents clear and careful critical analysis based on sound logical and/or empirical foundations. Points out and critiques problems/limitations in existing literature/practice.  For the most part, flags critical analysis and speculation, clearly distinguishing these from established research findings and weights them appropriately in the line of argument.

3. Presents critical analysis that, although it does not misrepresent existing theory and/or research, shows somewhat incomplete understanding of the ideas. Introduces critical analysis, but does so inconsistently, leaving some areas underemphasized and others overemphasized. Critical analysis presented is not original or novel. 

2. Presents critical analysis addressing major themes or issues that are raised in the response but misrepresents existing theory and research to some extent, more on minor matters than major ones. Introduces critical commentary on a piecemeal or sporadic basis without proper rationale for introducing it.  

1. Critical commentary, at least some of it misrepresenting pivotal theory or research, is scattered throughout the response with no apparent rationale for it being there.

5. Organization, Clarity, and Format

5. Response is structured with superior organization. All aspects of the question are explored in a highly systematic and disciplined manner. Ideas are presented in a clear manner. Appropriate elements of style are consistently used throughout (e.g., Transition sentences between paragraphs, appropriate headings, organization of response into basic sections such as introduction - main body - conclusions). There are almost no grammatical errors. There is consistent and accurate use of APA style.

4. Response is structured in a clear and logical manner. Appropriate elements of style are used frequently (e.g., Transition sentences between paragraphs, appropriate headings, organization of response into basic sections such as introduction - main body - conclusions). There are few grammatical errors and APA style is used frequently and with few errors.

3. Some elements of writing style (Strunk & White) are misused, but the overall organization is effective enough to communicate the major points of the response. Ideas are not always expressed clearly. There are many grammatical errors.  APA style is used somewhat inconsistently or with several errors.  

2. Enough elements of style are missing to affect the readability of the response and the ability of the reader to grade it (substantive points are somewhat clouded by poor organization and lack of clarity in writing). There are a substantial number of grammatical errors and APA style is seldom used or used incorrectly.

1. Organization and clarity are lacking to the point where the reader has a difficult time understanding and grading the response. Grammatical errors and errors in the use of APA style are extremely frequent.

Thesis Proposal

See Chapter IV, heading Doctor of Philosophy, subheading Department Regulations

Department of Psychology Form: Approval of PhD Thesis Proposal

Look for "Area-specific thesis proposal" below CONTENTS for area-specific guidance if it exists. 

Area-specific thesis proposal PHD IO

Every I/O PhD student will be expected to submit a Proposal that contains the following sections:

1. Introduction

2. Method

3. Analyses and Proposed Results

4. Proposed Implications

All proposals will be reviewed against the following criteria.

INTRODUCTION

Comprehensively summarizes and references the relevant literature as it pertains to the thesis topic.

Critically points out the most relevant and important theories and empirical evidence to establish a clear purpose and contribution for the thesis.

Demonstrates an accurate and deep understanding of the research literature (the authors/ theorists would be in full agreement with their ideas or findings being summarized in this way).

Hypotheses are well substantiated and clearly follow from the literature review.

METHOD

Research design is clearly articulated and follows logically from the literature review.

The method allows for the optimal testing of the research hypotheses.

All relevant measures are described in detail and appropriate based on the subject matter of the thesis.

Drafts of all critical materials, as agreed upon by the committee, are included in the Method section or in an Appendix.

ANALYSES AND PROPOSED RESULTS

Proposed analyses are described in detail.

Predicted results are also presented (in tables or figures) to demonstrate a mastery of the underlying theory and proposed analyses.

Strengths and weaknesses of the research design and measurement are clearly articulated.

PROPOSED IMPLICATIONS

The implications, and importance, of the proposed findings for theory and practice are described in detail for the topic domain.

ORGANIZATION, CLARITY, AND FORMAT

Proposal is structured with a clear organization.

All aspects of the proposal are explored in a highly systematic and disciplined manner. 

Appropriate elements of style are consistently used throughout (e.g., transition sentences between paragraphs, appropriate headings).

Sentences are clear and concise.

There are no grammatical errors.

There is consistent and accurate use of APA style.

Advisory Committee Approval of the Thesis and Submission to Examination Committee

See Chapter IV, heading Doctor of Philosophy, subheading Thesis

See Chapter IV, heading Doctor of Philosophy, subheading Department Regulations

Once you are close to having a draft of your thesis prepared, you should follow the procedures below.
 

1. When the PhD candidate’s Advisor has deemed that the candidate’s thesis draft is satisfactory, the Advisor will provide an email to the student indicating that the thesis is satisfactory and ready for submission to the Advisory Committee members for evaluation. At this point:

  1. The advisor will notify the Graduate Program Assistant that the thesis is being evaluated by the advisory committee, allowing the Graduate Program Assistant to prepare necessary forms and provide additional instructions to all.
  2. The advisor will begin the process of forming the examination committee (see detailed instructions below in the section titled PhD Examination Committee Creation). Note that the student must NOT have any contact with the External Examiner.
  3. The student shall provide an electronic copy of the thesis to each member of the Advisory Committee and request email receipt to ensure that the Advisory committee members have received the thesis in a timely fashion. A minimum of two weeks will be allowed for Advisory Committee members to evaluate the thesis.
  4. The student will review and implement the Electronic Formatting Requirements for theses provided on the Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies website.

2. When an Advisory Committee member has read the draft of the thesis, he/she is required to complete an Evaluation of Draft of Thesis form (a departmental form prepared by and obtained from the Graduate Program Assistant) to provide feedback on the thesis and indicate whether or not the thesis is ready for defense. This form should also indicate whether edits are requested pre-defense or post. The Evaluation of Draft of Thesis form will be submitted to the student with a copy to the candidateís Advisor. Normally, this feedback includes a number of changes designed to improve the thesis prior to the defense. The student then considers the recommendations in the evaluation forms, and, in consultation with the Advisor, makes changes specified by the committee members. Note that these changes may be done quickly or take a substantial amount of time (e.g., days or weeks). Consequently, students should remember to budget sufficient time for these revisions.

3. If necessary, the student will submit an electronic copy of the corrected thesis to each Advisory Committee member. The Advisory Committee members will typically review the revised draft within two weeks.

4. Following this, the Advisory Committee members will indicate whether the thesis is ready for defense by signing the Summary of Advice to Student form (a Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies form) and submitting it to the Graduate Program Assistant (who makes a copy for the student). All members should sign the same Summary of Advice form.

5. Once required edits have been addressed as per the committee membersí Evaluation of Draft of Thesis forms, the student should immediately send an electronic copy (PDF) of the thesis to the Graduate Program Assistant for distribution to the Final Oral Examination Committee members. If any member requires a hard copy, the student should also provide hard copies to the Graduate Program Assistant. The External Examiner must have a copy of the final thesis at least 1 month prior to the date of the Final Oral Examination.

6. Regardless of the recommendation of the PhD Advisory Committee, a student may submit a request for an examination. Requesting an examination without the approval of all of the members of the PhD Advisory committee is not recommended.

Also see the detailed guidelines on Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies website.

Look for "Area-specific approval of thesis and submission to committee" below CONTENTS for area-specific guidance if it exists. 

Thesis Preparation

See Chapter IV, heading Doctor of Philosophy, subheading Thesis

See Chapter IV, heading Doctor of Philosophy, subheading Department Regulations

Look for "Area-specific thesis preparation" below CONTENTS for area-specific guidance if it exists. 

Thesis Public Lecture and Examination

See Chapter IV, heading Doctor of Philosophy, subheading Thesis

See Chapter IV, heading Doctor of Philosophy, subheading Department Regulations

Maximum Duration of Oral Examination
PhD Examination: 3.5 hours

PhD Examination Procedure

Introduction by the Chair - 5 minutes
Presentation of research findings/scholarly work by candidate - 30 minutes (maximum)
Public Question Period - Audience - 10 minutes
Break - 5 minutes (members of the public are free to leave)
Examination Period (questions only from examiners) - 1 hour and 40 minutes

The Chair

The chair of the examination committee is the official representative of the Assistant Vice- President (Graduate Studies). The chair serves to administer the examination according to the approved format of the program. The chair does not serve as an additional examiner.

It is the responsibility of the Chair to ensure that the oral examination is conducted in a professional manner. The Chair must ensure that proper forms from the Office of Graduate Studies are available and duly completed and signed by the Examination Committee. The Chair should ensure that adequate time is allotted to the candidate for presentation of research findings, and to the examiners for questions. The details on the time allocation to the candidate and examiners are given in the following paragraphs. It is also the responsibility of the Chair to ensure that examiners should adhere to the allocated time.

In unforeseen circumstances where a Committee member is unable to attend the examination (e.g., due to sickness) either in person or by video/teleconference, the Chair will attempt to receive questions to ask on behalf of the absent member, to be answered by the student to the satisfaction of the examiners present. If this absent member is the External Examiner of a PhD thesis examination, and the written thesis Appraisal and/or questions to ask have not been received, the examination should be postponed.

If during the examination the behaviour of either the candidate or the examiner(s) is unprofessional, the Chair should provide a warning. If the unprofessional behaviour continues, the Chair should stop the examination and report to the Graduate Coordinator.

The Chair should ensure recommendations for revision of the thesis are completed, and should withhold their endorsement of the examination (through signing the Recommendation Form) until such time.

Role of the Examiners

The examiners have the responsibility to review the thesis as outlined in the University Guidelines for thesis evaluation. If an examiner feels that there is a major problem with the thesis, the examiner should inform the candidate in writing with a confidential copy only to the advisor and Graduate Coordinator. If the candidate and the examiner cannot resolve the problem before the oral examination, the Graduate Coordinator will act as facilitator. If there is no agreement, the examination can go forward at the student's request, or postponed on the advice of the Graduate Coordinator.

Ordering of Questions by the Examination Committee:

There will be two rounds of questions by the Committee. The questioning by the Committee will be in the following order:
1) Member of the Graduate Faculty (not on the Advisory Committee)
2) Member of the Advisory Committee
3) Advisor or second member of the Advisory Committee

Suggested time allotted to examination committee members:
External Examiner (Round 1: 25 minutes, Round 2: 10 minutes)
Graduate Faculty (Round 1: 20 minutes, Round 2: 10 minutes)
Advisory Committee Member (Round 1: 20 minutes, Round 2: 10 minutes)
Advisor/Advisory Committee Member (Round 1: 20 minutes, Round 2: 10 minutes)

Deliberation (in camera) - 35 minutes

Evaluation of Thesis

As stated in the graduate calendar “The thesis is expected to be a significant contribution to knowledge in its field and the candidate must indicate in what ways it is a contribution. The thesis must demonstrate mature scholarship and critical judgement on the part of the candidate and it must indicate an ability to express oneself in a satisfactory literary style. Approval of the thesis is taken to imply that it is judged to be sufficiently meritorious to warrant publication in reputable scholarly media in the field.” The thesis should strive to evincee critical and creative thinking skills, literacy skills and communication skills and a global understanding. Theses and student must be professional and adhere to the highest ethical standards. Evaluation of the thesis and oral examination will be done holistically. Numeric grades are not required; instead the work is reported as either satisfactory or unsatisfactory.

The candidate is deemed to have passed if a simple majority of Examination Committee members vote to pass the student. An abstention is regarded as a negative vote. If the Examination Committee decides thesis and oral exam are unsatisfactory, the candidate may be given the opportunity for a second attempt. A second unsatisfactory report constitutes a recommendation to the Board of Graduate Studies that the student be asked to withdraw. 

In addition to determining whether the candidate passes the exam, the Examination Committee members will also discuss the recommended and required changes to the thesis. After each committee member recommends changes, the committee will come to a consensus about which changes the student is required to do. In the rare event of a disagreement, the Chair will decide if a requested change by a committee member can be overruled. 

Following deliberations of the committee, the Examination Chair calls the student back to the examination room and verbally informs the candidate of the outcome of the Examination. If the defense is successful, changes will frequently be required. These changes may be minor or substantial.

Students should be prepared to make changes based on feedback received during the defense and must allocate sufficient time before final submission for this process. As noted above, those changes should be submitted to the Examination Chair for approval.

Following completion of the thesis revisions, the Examination Chair then submits the signed forms (i.e., Certificate of Approval, Report of the Examination Committee) to the Graduate Secretary, his/her Examination Chair report, and the Report of the External Examiner. The Graduate Secretary then contacts the student to complete graduation paperwork with the Department Chair. Once completed the student is responsible for the delivery of this paperwork along with the approved copies (2) of the thesis in its final form (following revisions) to Graduate Program Services.

Look for "Area-specific thesis public lecture and examination" below CONTENTS for area-specific guidance if it exists. 

Specific Milestones

Look for "Area-specific milestones" below CONTENTS for area-specific guidance if it exists. 

Area-specific specific milestones PHD IO

Please note that this document was prepared as a guideline to help you plan your time. Every project will be a little bit different.  Be sure to work out a timeline in consultation with your advisor.

1. PhD Qualifying Exam

Timing: See details in PhD qualifying exam documents; this is completed by May of the 1st year (or by the end of the second term in the case that a student begins the program out of timeline).

2. Form PhD thesis committee

Forms signed with members of advisory committee

Timing: No later than the 10th week of the 2nd semester

3. Initial PhD committee meeting

After the committee is formed, it is recommended that the student, their Advisor, and the two committee members meet to discuss the expectations for that particular committee (e.g., does committee plan to have regular meetings, when does the student expect to have a proposal meeting, etc.)

Timing: No later than the end of the 2nd semester

4. Draft of PhD proposal to advisor

Timing: There are actually many steps prior to this milestone – but they will vary with the project, the student and the advisor.  You will need to work out an individual timeline with your advisor regarding the steps needed to get your proposal done.  Most advisors will need at least 1 week to read any drafts, and most students will go through several drafts of each section of the proposal.

5. Approval of PhD proposal by advisor

When the Advisor has deemed that the proposal is satisfactory, the Advisor will let the student know (via email) that the proposal is satisfactory and ready for submission to the Advisory Committee members for evaluation

Timing: Deadline to be worked out with advisor

6. Send proposal to committee members

Timing: 2 weeks prior to proposal meeting

7. Meeting with committee members to discuss proposal

The student must present a thesis proposal to the Advisory Committee and have this approved by that committee. At least one meeting between the Advisory Committee and the student must be held to discuss the thesis proposal and to work out changes necessary for an acceptable proposal. Approval of the thesis proposal entails consideration of the feasibility of the study in terms of time limitations, expenses, and availability of subjects, as well as its empirical, theoretical, and conceptual value. The proposal can only be approved once it meets the quality standard as outlined on the Criteria for Evaluation Proposals document. Timing: Students should aim to have their proposal approved in the 4th or 5th semester; they must have their thesis proposal approved by the end of the 6th Ph.D. semester, at the latest .

8. Changes to proposal based on committee meeting; Resubmission of entire proposal, or just of required changes to committee members. Timing: May be anywhere from 1 – 4 weeks, depending on nature of changes

9. Committee approval of proposal

Students will not be permitted to proceed with the implementation of the study until the thesis proposal has been approved by the Committee and the Approval of PhD Thesis Proposal form has been signed by the PhD Thesis Advisor and the PhD Thesis Committee member and submitted to the Graduate Secretary. Timing: Students should aim to have their proposal approved in the 4th or 5th semester; they must have their thesis proposal approved by the end of the 6th Ph.D. semester, at the latest.

10. Submit ethics forms to REB

In most cases, is necessary to obtain the ethical approval before proceeding with a thesis study. The University of Guelph Human Subjects Committee must approve the project. Timing: The REB generally provide a response (not necessarily approval) within 2 weeks

11. Respond to any changes required by ethics committee

The ethics committee may ask for changes to the ethics application – you need to respond to these requests before starting data collection. Timing: 1-2 weeks, depending on the nature of the changes

12. Data collection

Once the proposal is approved, students should have a firm understanding of how to proceed. Difficulties may arise during the data collection phase of the study which require making changes to the approved procedures, such as limited access to participants or failed equipment. In these cases, all changes must be approved by the Advisory Committee. Timing: You will need to discuss with your advisor how long this phase will take – it will depend on source of your data

13. Data entry/Data cleaning

Before you can analyze your data, you need allow some time for data entry and/or data screening and cleaning

14. Data Analysis

Conduct proposed analyses

15. Updates to committee

Often it’s a good idea to update your committee members once you know what your results are. This can be a meeting, an email, a document  - depending on what your committee prefers.

16. Draft of PhD thesis to advisor

During the preparation of the written thesis, the student should be receiving feedback from the Advisory Committee (what form that takes e.g., drafts, meetings, etc., will be up to each committee to determine). Have a carefully planned out timeline for this process, as it will likely take longer than you think. Timing: Deadlines to be worked out with advisor

17. Approval of PhD thesis by advisor

When the Advisor has deemed that the thesis is satisfactory, the Advisor will let the student know (via email) that the thesis is ready for submission to the Advisory Committee members for evaluation

18. Thesis goes to committee members

ALL members of the student's Advisory Committee are to complete their own Evaluation of Draft of Thesis form (this form will almost always include suggested changes to thesis). Timing: Committee members get at least 3 weeks with the document.

19. Make changes to thesis based on committee members’ feedback

Timing: 1-4 weeks, depending on the nature of the changes

20. Approval of PhD thesis by committee

The PhD Thesis Advisory Committee indicates that the student is ready for a Final Oral Examination by each signing the Evaluation of Draft of Thesis (after revisions have been made) and the Summary of Advice to Student

21. Student will be contacted by the Graduate Secretary to sign the Summary of Advice to Student form acknowledging receipt of comments regarding their thesis.

Timing: This process must begin a minimum of 7 weeks before the proposed Final Oral Examination is to take place.

22. The Chair of the Department selects the Chair of the Final Oral Examination 23. Committee and identifies the remaining 4 members of the committee.

24. The date of the Final Oral Examination is established and the External Examiner and other members of the Committee are given copies of the final draft of the PhD Thesis at least 28 days before the date of the Final Oral Examination.

25. Defense of Thesis

Timing: Normally students are expected to complete their PhD thesis within two years following approval of the proposal.

26. Changes to thesis based on defense

Timing: Students typically require a week following the examination to make changes to their thesis and ensure that it follows the prescribed format. Occasionally this stage can take longer than 1 week.