Thesis Committees and Examinations

M.Sc. Supervisory Committee

The supervisory committee consists of:

(1) The supervisor (who must be a member of SGPS and have MSc supervisory privileges),

(2) At least one other member of the Psychology Department,

(3) One additional person. The supervisory committee advises the student on professional development in general as well as the development of the thesis topic.

M.Sc. Proposal Meeting

Proposing the thesis: A specific meeting of the supervisory committee in which a thesis is proposed may be held, but an M.Sc. proposal defense is not required by the department. If a proposal meeting is held, the supervisor can inform the graduate office of the outcome via e-mail, cc-ing the other committee members on the e-mail.

M.Sc. Examination Committee and Scheduling

For the exam (i.e., the M.Sc. thesis defense): The scheduling process begins with the student and supervisor agreeing on a (mostly) final draft that is ready to defend and potential examination committee members. Students are strongly encouraged to double-check that their supervisor approves of the version of the thesis they plan to upload to SGPS.

When a student and supervisor cannot agree on final version, students do have the option of submitting a thesis for examination without supervisor approval. This is a distinct process described here: https://grad.uwo.ca/administration/regulations/8.html, regulation 8.4.3. Students considering this option are required to meet with the Associate Chair of Graduate Studies to discuss the implications.

The M.Sc. Examination committee will consist of three members:

(1) Two members are from the Psychology department, one of whom has served on the student's supervisory committee. Examiners must be arms-length and not have made a substantive contribution to the thesis research or written thesis. The supervisory committee member serving as examiner should have, of course, provided advice on the thesis, but should not be an active collaborator on the project or have played a substantive role in the thesis writing and revision.

(2) The third member is a university examiner from outside the Psychology Graduate Program.

The student's supervisor does not serve as an examiner although they do attend the examination and give feedback on the student. The examining committee members should be approached, their willingness to serve confirmed, and a defense date determined by the student and/or supervisor. Once a date has been set, provide a completed Thesis Examination Request Form signed by both the supervisor and student to Lisa Drysdale, Graduate Program Coordinator. The Graduate Chair will then request that an exam be scheduled.

Timeline: The next steps occur roughly within a 5-week window. Note that the requirements noted below are general guidelines; the student and advisor must attend to the specific dates for thesis defense requirements set by SGPS for convocation eligibility (see http://grad.uwo.ca/academics/thesis/timelines.html). The thesis is due to SGPS no later than one week after the request to schedule an exam is made. The committee must have at least 3 weeks between the thesis being submitted to SGPS and the exam itself to allow sufficient time to read the exam. Any revisions and final thesis submission are due 6 weeks after a successful thesis examination.


Ph.D. Supervisory Committee

The supervisory committee consists of:
(1) the supervisor (who must be a member of SGPS and have PhD supervisory privileges)

(2) a minimum of two others from the Department. At least one of the other members of the committee must be a member of SGPS. Additional members may be added as needed to provide additional expertise.

The supervisory committee advises the student on professional development in general as well as the development of the thesis topic. Note that some clusters may have different supervisory committee requirements. The student and supervisor are responsible for complying with these and should consult with the relevant cluster chair.

Ph.D. Proposal

Proposing the thesis: Students are expected to complete and defend a Ph.D. proposal around the end of their Ph.D. 2 year (click here for a more detailed description of the proposal meeting and its structure). 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. These meetings are scheduled by the supervisor/student. Additionally, the committee may recommend that a student be removed from the program if the presentation and proposal are of very poor quality. The result of the proposal meeting is communicated to the graduate office by submitting the PhD Thesis Proposal Meeting Report Form. The student or the supervisor can submit the form via e-mail.

PhD Optional Departmental Exam

Optional departmental exam: An optional departmental-level Ph.D. exam may be held. If so, the examination committee will consist of at least one member of 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 only one member of the supervisory committee participates, then the other member will participate in the Senate Oral (see below).

The student’s supervisor will chair the exam 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.

As noted, this exam is optional; students may notify the Graduate Chair that they intend to proceed directly to the Senate Defense. In consultation with the supervisor and supervisory committee, the Graduate Chair may recommend to the student that it is in her/his best interest to have the departmental exam and any such recommendation will be kept in the student’s file.

Ph.D. Examination Committee

For the Senate exam: The examination committee consists of a chair (determined by SGPS), two examiners from psychology (only one from the supervisory committee), a university examiner (i.e., someone from outside psychology who was not on the supervisory committee), and an external examiner (arms-length, almost always from another university). All examiners must be arms-length from the student and supervisor and must not have been a collaborator on the thesis research. The student and supervisory are encouraged to consider diversity of representation on the committee (e.g., gender) when choosing from a pool of qualified examiners.

The student should not be in contact with the university or external examiners. For this reason, the supervisor, not the student, should contact university and external examiners to determine whether they are willing to be an examiner and their availability. However, the supervisory committee must approve the proposed university and external examiners to ensure that they are qualified and at arms-length. This approval must be communicated to the graduate office when the Thesis Examination Request Form is submitted. Please remember that final approval of the Examination Committee is by SGPS. Once a date has been determined, provide a completed Thesis Examination Request Form signed by both the supervisor and student to Lisa Drysdale, Graduate Program Coordinator. The Graduate Chair will then request that an exam be scheduled.


Ph.D. Examination Timeline

The scheduling process begins with the student and supervisor agreeing on a (mostly) final draft that is ready to defend and potential examination committee members.The next steps occur roughly within an 8-week time frame. Note that the date requirements below are general guidelines; the student and advisor must attend to the specific dates for thesis defense requirements set by SGPS for convocation eligibility (see http://grad.uwo.ca/academics/thesis/timelines.html).

The thesis is due to SGPS no later than one week after the request to schedule an exam is made. Candidates are encouraged to verify that the version of the thesis that they upload to the SGPS electronic repository, is the same version that the supervisor approved. The committee must have at least 5 weeks between the thesis being submitted to SGPS and the exam itself to allow sufficient time to read the exam. Any revisions and final thesis submission are due 6 weeks after a successful thesis examination.

8 weeks: Submit the Doctoral Thesis Examination Request Form, Exam Clearance Form and supervisory committee approval of the examination board to the Graduate Office.

7 weeks: Graduate Office submits the examination board to SGPS for approval, using the Doctoral Thesis Examination Request Form.

6 weeks: Doctoral candidate submits their thesis for preliminary examination through digital submission via the Scholarship@Western Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository.

1 week: SGPS will notify the doctoral candidate, examination board and graduate office of the result of the preliminary review of the thesis, and whether the thesis will move forward to defense. The Graduate Office will:

• provide the examination board and Supervisor with an examination package,

• circulate a poster announcing the public lecture to members of the Psychology Department, and,

• for remote exams, collect RSVPs for the public lecture and distribute Zoom meeting information to all who wish to attend.

Day of Exam: Public lecture by doctoral student (1 hour), followed by examination.

6 weeks later: Revisions and final thesis submission are due 6 weeks after a successful thesis examination. Revisions are submitted through digital submission via the Scholarship@Western Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository.