MSc Thesis

Completing and Defending your MSc Thesis


Prior to completion of the thesis, the student should review the Checklist for MSc for the completion of the MSc degree. Below is an overview of the MSc thesis defence process.

Permission to write the thesis

The student’s Supervisory Committee must confirm that sufficient work has been done for inclusion in the thesis.

Committee Approval of the thesis for defence

The student must present his/her completed thesis (instruction on thesis preparation: http://www.grad.ubc.ca/current-students/dissertation-thesis-preparation/structure-masters-thesis) to his/her Supervisory Committee with sufficient time required for review and processing. It is the function of the Supervisory Committee to review the thesis, to ensure any necessary revisions have been made, and to approve the thesis before the student may proceed to the final examination. The student should offer the thesis to the chair as a courtesy, but the chair is not required to sign off on the thesis.  Following committee approval, a minimum of three weeks should be allowed before the defense of the thesis.

Once the Committee has reviewed and approved the thesis they each must fill out this form – including the Research Supervisor – and return it to the Pathology Graduate Studies Coordinator.

Failure to complete all requirements for the MSc degree within the 5 year University deadline will necessitate application for an extension requiring approval of the Graduate Advisor and the Dean of Graduate Studies.

Selection of the Examination Committee

Once the student’s Supervisory Committee has recommended that his/her thesis examination can proceed, the supervisor will select and invite potential examination committee members, and the supervisor will forward those individuals’ names to the Graduate Advisor for approval (please cc the Pathology Graduate Studies Secretary). Once approved, these members will be formally invited by the supervisor to sit on the exam committee. It is the supervisor’s responsibility to identify and recruit departmental and external examiners; the student is not to contact those faculty members.

Constitution of the Examination Committee

The examination committee must consist of:

  • the Supervisor
  • the Chair of the student’s Supervisory Committee, who acts as the Chair of the Examination Committee.
  • at least one member of the student’s Supervisory Committee who is not the Supervisor or Co-Supervisor.
  • a faculty member from within the Department of Pathology who has not been involved in the project.
  • a second faculty member from within or outside the Department of Pathology, who has not been involved in the project.  Supervisors are asked to select this examiner from faculty members in the Basic Medical Sciences or from an appropriate department in the Faculty of Science.

In addition:

  • A further examiner may be appointed by the Graduate Advisor. For the purposes of the MSc examination a quorum will consist of the individuals designated in the points above.

Responsibilities of the Graduate Student

  • Provide the Pathology Graduate Studies Coordinator with an abstract of the thesis to be included in the announcement of the examination, at least one week prior to the exam
  • With supervisor, choose a variety of dates and times to propose to their examining committee.
  • Once the above is confirmed it is up to the student to organize the time, dates and location of the defence.  Please communicate this information to the Pathology Graduate Studies Coordinator. All PALM Examinations are not to be scheduled during the blackout months of July and August.
  • Once a date is set for the examination, deliver final copies of the thesis to all members of the examination committee at least 3 weeks before the date of the examination.  It is advisable to send a reminder email to the exam committee one week before the exam.
  • Prepare an oral presentation of the research presented in the thesis. This must be no longer than 20-30 minutes in length and must not be read from a prepared script (cue cards are permissible).
  • After the Chairman submits a written report (Pre-Sept 1, 2015 Admission & Post-Sept 1,2015 Admission*) with the thesis mark to the Graduate Advisor and the candidate has satisfied all conditions, he/she must forward the required forms (mail or in person) to the Faculty of Graduate Studies. (https://www.grad.ubc.ca/current-students/final-dissertation-thesis-submission/document-requirements) * Students who entered the MSc Program as of September 1, 2015  and beyond will be graded on an honours/pass/fail basis.
  • Ensure that the thesis complies with the Faculty of Graduate Studies guidelines on Dissertation & Thesis Preparation.
  • After submission of required approval forms (mail or in person) to the Faculty of Graduate Studies, submit the thesis electronically to cIRcle: https://www.grad.ubc.ca/current-students/final-dissertation-thesis-submission/electronic-submission
  • Arrange to have your thesis bound for yourself and your lab.  You are no longer required to provide a bound copy to the department.  Contact the Pathology Graduate Studies Coordinator for assistance with this. Payment will be arranged separately by the student.
  • Arrange for an exit interview with the Graduate Advisor.

Completion of Degree

When all conditions have been met, the Dean will inform the Senate of the candidate’s successful completion of the program. On approval by the Faculty, the candidate will be nominated for the awarding of the degree. Nominations for the awarding of degrees are considered at the May and November meetings of the Senate. For a candidate to be considered for a degree, all procedures must have been completed by the dates specified in the University Calendar.

NOTE: In order to formally graduate the Student must apply for graduation.  Details on graduation may be found here.