Thesis Committees and Orals

Supervisory Committee

MSc students. The supervisory committee consists of the supervisor (who must be a member of SGPS and have MSc supervisory privileges) and at least one other member of the Psychology Department. Remaining members, if approved by the Associate Chair - Graduate Affairs, may be a part-time member of faculty, or a scientist or professional outside the Department or outside the University.

PhD students. The supervisory committee consists of the supervisor (who must be a member of SGPS and have PhD supervisory privileges.) and a minimum of two others from the Department. At least one of the other members of the committee must be a member of SGPS. Changes in the committee must be approved by the supervisor and the change should be registered with the Graduate Office. Note that the Cognitive, Developmental and Brain Sciences cluster has different supervisory committee requirements. Please follow this link: to view the specific requirements.

Thesis Proposal

MSc students. The supervisor will approve the Masters thesis proposal, and a meeting of the thesis supervisory committee may be held (but is not required) in order to examine the scientific merits of the proposal as well as its feasibility. Further meetings may also be held, but there is no formal requirement for a Masters thesis proposal defense.

Ph.D. students. Students are expected to complete and defend a Ph.D. proposal around the end of their Ph.D. 2 year. A formal Ph.D. proposal meeting will be scheduled through the Graduate Office. Students should submit copies of their proposal to the committee at least two weeks before the proposal meeting is held. The committee may approve the proposal as written or may require that changes be made before the research can proceed. Further proposal meetings may be necessary before the proposal is formally approved.

Thesis Defense

MSc and Ph.D. Departmental oral examinations are scheduled through the Graduate Office. Although students will consult the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies’ web site for information, the student’s supervisor will schedule the PhD Senate oral through the Psychology Graduate Office.

MSc students. The examination committee will consist of three members: two from the Psychology department, one of whom usually will also have served on the student's supervisory committee. The third is a university examiner. The student's supervisor maynot serve as an examiner.

PhD students. Doctoral students are expected to pass a departmental and a Senate exam. The PhD Departmental Oral examination committee will consist of at least one memberof the student’s Ph.D. supervisory committee, plus a second faculty member from the Department of Psychology who is not a member of the supervisory committee. If onlyone member of the supervisory committee participates, then the other member will participate in the Senate Oral. The student’s Supervisor will chair the Departmental Oral, and must not ask questions during the oral. Following an optional 10 minute talk, there will be at least one round of questions, of at least 10 minutes per examining committee member. Subsequently, the student and examiners will have the option of participating in an open discussion regarding the possible questions and issues that they believe the student should think about. The Departmental Oral is the default option; nonetheless students may submit a request to the Associate Chair-Graduate Affairs to skip this step, and proceed directly to the Senate Defense. The Associate Chair-Graduate Affairs, in consultation with the supervisor and supervisory committee, may recommend to the student that it is in her/his best interest to have the Departmental Oral, and any such recommendation will be kept in the student’s file in the Departmental Graduate Office.

Regulations concerning the composition of the Senate examination board and the timing of the Senate exam may be found on the SPGS website: