University of Guelph Graduate Calendar

Regulations: Doctor of Philosophy

   There are three means of entry to PhD study:
  1. An applicant who holds a recognized master's degree obtained with high academic standing may be admitted to PhD studies as a regular or provisional student.
  2. An applicant who has achieved excellent standing at the honours baccalaureate level and who wishes to proceed to doctoral study may enrol, in the first instance, in a master's degree program. If the student achieves a super ior academic record and shows a particular aptitude for research, the Board of Graduate Studies, on the recommendation of the department, may authorize transfer to the PhD program without requiring the student to complete the master's degree. The applicat ion for transfer must be made between the end of the second semester and the end of the fourth semester.
  3. At the applicant's request, some departments may choose to recommend to the Board of Graduate Studies direct admission to the PhD program after completion of an honours baccalaureate with high (first-class) standing and demonstration of research prom ise. Information on direct admission and procedures to be followed is available from Graduate Program Services.

Minimum Duration
   At least five semesters of full-time study must be devoted to the doctoral program following completion of a recognized master's degree. At least seven semesters are required for those who are permitted to proceed from the honours baccalaureate without completing the master's degree. For a student registered part-time, the minimum duration period is based on the equivalence of three part-time semesters to one full-time semester. A minimum program fee is applied when a part-time stud ent applies to graduate.

   Normally, the thesis must be formally submitted within forty-eight months of the completion of the minimum duration. Candidates must understand, however, that announced departmental poli cy may require completion of the degree requirements within a briefer time period.

   The advisory committee will consist of no fewer than three members of the graduate faculty in the selection of whom the graduate student normally participates. At least one of the committee me mbers must be in a department other than that in which the student is registered. The committee chair is normally the adviser of the student's research, and is nominated by the department chair.

   The PhD degree is primarily a research degree; for that reason coursework commonly comprises a smaller proportion of the student's total program than is the case at the master's level.

Prescribed Courses: Some departments may designate that certain courses be taken as part of the student's background in his or her discipline. Other courses may be designated because of the close relationship to the research topic. It is such substantive courses that should comprise the prescribed courses in which the candidate must obtain an overall weighted average of at least 'B-' standing .

Additional Courses: In addition to the prescribed courses, it is not unusual for the student to complete ancillary courses supportive of the discipline and special field. These courses, and the st andings obtained in them, do not affect the average of the prescribed studies. The language requirement of some departments may be for some students most readily met by completing one or more courses in the language concerned (see entry for Departments of French Studies and Languages). They would not be regarded as prescribed.

   In the total program of a doctoral student, it is expected that the major part of the student's time will be devoted to research for their thesis. The research proposal should be formulated at as early a date as possible and presented to the advisory committee for approval.
   When it is necessary for the research, or some part of it, to be conducted off-campus, the arrangements are subject to the prior approval of the dean of Graduate Studies.

Qualifying Examination
   As early as possible and in no case later than the final semester of the minimum duration requirement, the student is required to pass an examination to assess his or her knowledge of the subject area and related fields. The examination ordinarily will be in several parts (written and/or oral) and should be completed within a two-week period if possible.
   The qualifying examination is an examination by the academic unit in which the student is enrolled (as distinct from an examination by the advisory committee). Upon completing it satisfactorily, the student is deemed to have met the depa rtmental standards and becomes a candidate for the PhD degree. The examining committee, appointed by the chair of the academic unit concerned, consists of some or all of the members of the advisory committee, together with two additional members of the graduate faculty, at least one of whom must be a member of the unit. The chair of the academic unit concerned or the chair of its graduate studies committee serves as chair of the examining committee, and is responsible for making all arrangements. As a qualif ying 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 examinin g committee, therefore, will receive from the advisory committee a written evaluation of the quality of the student's research performance to date and of the student's potential as a researcher. The examining committee will determine the relative importan ce to be given to these two major components of the qualifying examination.
   The student is deemed to have passed the qualifying examination if not more than one of the examiners votes negatively. An abstention is regarded as a negative vote. The results of the qualifying examination will be reported to the dean of Graduate Studies through the chair of the academic unit. The report to the dean will record the decision as unsatisfactory or satisfactory. If unsatisfactory, the student may be given a second attempt at the examination. A student who fails the qualifying examination and who is being given a second opportunity to pass the examination will be required to repeat it no later than six months after the failed attempt. Academic units may impose a shorter time limit. A second failure cons titutes a recommendation to the Board of Graduate Studies that the student be required to withdraw (see the section on Unsatisfactory Progress and Appeal of Decisions).

   Each candidate shall submit a thesis, written by the candidate, on the research carried out by the candidate on an approved topic. The thesis is expected to be a significant contribution to knowledge in its field and the candidate must i ndicate 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.

External Examiner: For each doctoral thesis an external examiner from outside the university is appointed on behalf of the dean of Graduate Studies by the department chair, in consultation with the adviser. The nomination wil l be made when the candidate's adviser declares that the thesis is about to be prepared, normally no later than the beginning of the student's last semester. The external examiner will submit a written appraisal of the thesis (at least seven days prior to the examination) to the chair of the department. The external examiner is expected to participate in the final oral examination and to assist in evaluating all aspects of the candidate's performance.

Procedures: The thesis may be submitted at any time of the year, but candidates are advised to allow ample time for revision and examination. A copy of the schedule of deadlines should be obtained from Graduate Program Services by the candidate no later than the beginning of the semester in which the candidate intends to graduate.
   It is understood that, as the thesis is being written, the candidate will be in regular communication with the advisory committee. When a draft is completed which the advisory committee recommends for examination, the candidate, with the endorsement of the departmental chair, formally requests an examination. A copy of the final draft is then sent to the external examiner as fair copy of the thesis. Arrangements for the final oral examinations are made. It is understood that as a result of the final oral examination corrections may be necessary to produce a revised final draft of the thesis.

The Final Oral Examination: The final oral examination is devoted chiefly, but not necessarily entirely, to the defence of the doctoral thesis. It is a faculty (as distinct from a departmental) examination, for which the arrangements are made by th e department on behalf of the faculty in consultation with Graduate Program Services.
   The examination is conducted by a committee consisting of five members:
   The dean of Graduate Studies, or a designate, may attend a part or all of the examination. The examination is open to the public but members of the audience may question the candidate only upon invitation of the chair of the committee.
   The members of the examination committee, including the external examiner, report individually on the final examination and the thesis. The candidate is deemed to have passed if no more than one of the five examiners votes negatively. An abstention is regarded as a negative vote. Concurrently, the members sign the Certificate of Approval, which is submitted with the approved thesis in its final form to Graduate Program Services. The report to the dean of Graduate Studies will record the decision as unsatisfactory or satisfactory. If unsatisfactory, the candidate may be given a second attempt. A second unsatisfactory constitutes a recommendation to the Board of Graduate Studies that the student be required to withdraw (see the section on Unsatisfactory Progress and Appeal of Decisions).

Copies of Thesis: Two unbound copies of the certified thesis must be submitted to Graduate Program Services by the deadline date shown in the Academic Schedule in the calendar. Both copies must include the Certificate of Approval signed by t he external examiner and the members of the examination committee. Also included must be a copy of an abstract consisting of no more than 350 words and a copy of the circulation waiver and the copying licence.

Publication: The Certificate of Approval indicates that the thesis is suitable for publication. The university requires publication of the thesis in the following manner:
   One unbound copy of the thesis is forwarded to the National Library of Canada, together with an agreement form signed by the candidate authorizing the National Library to microfilm the thesis and to make copies available for sale on requ est. The National Library will film the thesis exactly as it is and will list the thesis in Canadiana as a publication of the National Library.
   The National Library's Microfilm Publication Agreement will be sent to the candidate prior to the final oral examination, to be signed and submitted to Graduate Program Services immediately after the successful completion of the e xamination.
   An abstract of not more than 350 words, prepared by the author and approved by the adviser, is forwarded by the National Library to the publishers of American Doctoral Dissertations. The abstract is printed in this work and the av ailability of the thesis in microfilm at the National Library is announced.
   The candidate, in consultation with the adviser and the department chair, shall have the right to request that circulation and/or copying of the thesis in any form be withheld for up to one year.
   Publication in the above manner does not preclude publication of all or part of the thesis in journals or in book form.

Departmental Regulations
   Individual departments may have specified regulations in addition to those described in this calendar. The student is responsible for consulting the department concerning any such regulations. University regulations, as specified herein, take precedence and may not be overruled by any department regulations.