M.Sc. Exam Committee & Scheduling

Scheduling The M.Sc. Oral Exam

The supervisor and all supervisory committee members must approve the student's thesis prior to the online submission of the M.Sc. Exam Request form. The supervisory committee and supervisor will be e-mailed after the submission of the form for confirmation. Supervisors are expected to read and return the thesis to their students within three weeks, after which the student will distribute a revised draft to the Supervisory Committee members. The Supervisory Committee members are expected to read and return the M.Sc. thesis with comments within two weeks. Failure of faculty members to meet these deadlines must be reported to the Graduate Coordinator as described below.

Students will submit an M.Sc. Exam Request form online once they have confirmed a date and time for the exam with all exam committee members. This request must be submitted no less than three weeks before the exam. It is the student's responsibility to distribute a copy of the thesis to each member of the Exam Committee at least two weeks prior to the exam. Failure to do so may result in the rescheduling of the exam.

Choosing The M.Sc. Thesis Defence Exam Committee

The final composition of the committee is subject to the Graduate Coordinator's approval. The Exam Committee is composed as follows:

  • An Examination Committee member from the student's primary research field (voting member) will chair the Exam Committee. The Examination Committee is expected to read the thesis and participate in the examination of the student.
  • Anyone who served as a supervisory committee member cannot be the examination committee rep as this person must be objective and arms-length.
  • The student's supervisor (voting member). The student's supervisor may participate in the exam by asking questions and/or discussing the student.
  • At least one Supervisory Committee member (voting member). Multiple committee members are welcome to attend the exam but are not required to do so.
  • One 'Arm's-Length Examiner' (voting member). This faculty member must hold a graduate appointment in SGS and may be from within the Department of Molecular Genetics or another department. This examiner should have an arms-length relationship with both the student and the supervisor.

The Student Services Assistant will issue a formal exam notice to all parties concerned once the Department approves the exam committee. A copy of the notice is kept in the student's file and recorded on the database. As noted above, the student is responsible for the distribution of the thesis.

M.Sc. Exam Quorum

Quorum will be

  1. Supervisor
  2. The Examination Committee Member (please note this person cannot also be a committee member)
  3. One Supervisory committee member (other than the student's supervisor)
  4. The Arm's-Length Examiner.

Delays In Scheduling The M.Sc. Oral Exam

If the student does not schedule an oral exam within three months of the date when they were given permission to write a thesis and the "M.Sc. Terminal Committee Meeting Report" was signed, the student must submit a "Request to Extend the Time Limit for Completing the M.Sc. or Ph.D. Thesis" form (on the Departmental website), to the Graduate Coordinator. This request must include the following information:

  1. Which chapters have been written and approved by the supervisor (s)
  2. Which chapters are written but not yet approved Which chapters are incomplete and the reason(s) for this
  3. When the student expects to provide the supervisory committee with a complete draft of the thesis
  4. A realistic timeline for the oral exam

If the three-month deadline passes without an approved extension, the graduate stipend may be withdrawn due to failure to meet program requirements. HOWEVER, a supervisor may not withdraw a student's stipend without prior consultation with the Graduate Coordinator. If a student has set up the exam within the required time frame, the student must be paid the stipend until they complete the oral exam and thesis revisions recommended by the Exam Committee.

Delays In Providing Feedback On The M.Sc. Thesis By The Committee

Since thesis writing and committee feedback must be completed within a tight time frame, supervisors and supervisory committee members are obliged to promptly read and provide feedback on the draft thesis. Supervisors are expected to read and return M.Sc. theses to their students in two weeks or less. Committee members are expected to read and return M.Sc. theses with comments in two weeks or less. If students do not receive the corrected thesis within these time frames, they should contact their supervisor or committee member by e-mail and obtain a revised deadline for finishing the corrections. If this subsequent deadline is unreasonable or the student does not meet this deadline, they should report the situation to the Graduate Coordinator and appropriate documentation. The Graduate Coordinator will take immediate measures to resolve the situation.

Thesis committee members sign the "Request to Schedule a M.Sc. Oral Examination" form only after reading and critiquing the thesis. At that time, committee members will return the critiqued thesis and any additional suggestions for revisions. Students are expected to incorporate these changes before distributing the thesis to the External Examiner and other Exam Committee members. If there are disagreements between a committee member and the student and/or supervisor about the nature and/or extent of the changes to be made to the thesis, the Graduate Coordinator should be consulted. The Graduate Coordinator will decide on how to proceed. It is important to note that this resolution process will not be influenced by prior unofficial arrangements of M.Sc. oral exam dates (e.g. having agreed on a date with an external examiner).

The Department will not tolerate excessive delays by faculty members in reading and approving theses. Offenders will be sanctioned and may lose their graduate appointments.