The below is intended to answer some of the most commonly asked questions by students who are at the thesis stage. This information, however, does not replace the authoritative information in the handbooks. Students are strongly advised to check the pertinent sections of the appropriate handbook for detailed information. DMin students are advised to follow their handbook instructions rather than the instructions below.
What are the deadlines for submission in order to convocate in November or May?
- November Convocations: May 1 for doctoral theses; June 1 for advanced degree master's theses
- May Convocations: January 5 for doctoral theses; February 5 for advanced degree master's theses; March 2 for advanced degree ThM (II) extended essays
Even if the student meets the deadline, no guarantee can be given that unforeseen circumstances will not prevent the student from graduating at the next convocation. Therefore, if possible, the student should submit the thesis well in advance of the deadline.
Does anything need to happen before I submit my thesis?
You should be in contact with your thesis director throughout the writing of your thesis. Before you submit your thesis, your director should have submitted a recommendation for your thesis examination committee to your department. Your examination committee must be approved by the Graduate Studies Council, which acts on the recommendation of the department, before your thesis is sent out to the readers by the Graduate Centre for Theological Studies (GCTS) Office, so it is important that the approval of your examination committee preceeds your thesis submission.
At the time you submit your thesis to the GCTS Office, a letter from your supervisor must also be sent to the GCTS Office to confirm that your thesis is ready for examination.
How many copies do I submit and to what office do I submit them?
Doctoral students must submit five copies of their doctoral theses. MA and ThM Option 1 students must submit three copies. Copies are submitted to:
Graduate Centre for Theological Studies Office
Toronto School of Theology
47 Queen's Park Crescent East
Toronto, ON M5S 2C3
How should I submit my thesis?
You should submit unbound copies of your thesis, printed double-sided, with each copy contained in a letter-size expandable envelope, to the GCTS Office (please do not use legal-size envelopes). The expandable envelopes should be of a high enough quality for your thesis to be shipped to the examiners and for your examiner to carry around your thesis for at least two months. The envelope should have a flap and an elastic or wrap-string enclosure.
Does anything need to be submitted along with my thesis?
A copy of your approved thesis proposal must accompany each copy of your thesis. Also (as above), a letter from your director stating that your thesis is ready for examination should be submitted to the GCTS Office by your director at the time you submit.
Master's Theses - How long does it take until I am alerted of my grade and how am I informed?
If your examination committee is approved before your thesis submission, you can expect your grade approximately a month and a half after you submitted your thesis. However, unforeseen circumstances such as the unavailablity of an examiner can cause delays. When all three examiners have submitted their grades, the GCTS Office will average the grades and send you a final thesis grade report along with any comments from the examiners.
Doctoral Theses - After I have submitted, what happens and when might my defence be?
Most defences occur 3-4 months after submission, though unforeseen circumstances such as a not-yet-approved committee or the unavailability of an examiner can cause the process to take longer. The examination committee has a total of at least two months to read the thesis, so even an exceptionally quickly scheduled defence will be at least two months after the submission date. Students will usually receive correspondence from the GCTS Office about possible defence dates a little more than a month after submission. The GCTS Office is exclusively responsible for scheduling your defence. You are advised not to make contact with your committee members during this time. Once your defence is scheduled, you will be notified by email. At that time, you must send the GCTS Administrator copies of your CV and thesis abstract. Those materials are made available to the people at the defence, both your committee and visitors.
Doctoral Theses - What happens on the day of my defence?
Your defence will have been advertised by way of a poster to the TST member colleges. If you would like to invite more people to atttend, you are welcome to; please inform the GCTS Office if you expect more than ten guests. Defences normally take place in one of TST's boardrooms. Unless the external examiner is nearby, she or he will participate by telephone conference call. The defence normally takes two hours. The Chair of the defence will convene the defence and introduce everyone, after which time you and the visitors will be excused from the room for a few minutes while your committee meets in camera. Then you will be invited back into the room and the examiners will take turns asking questions for about an hour and a half. At the end of that session, you will be excused from the room once more, and after a few minutes you will be invited back in and the decision of the committee will be announced. There are a variety of possible outcomes. Please see the handbook for details.
As you are approaching your own defence, you may want to sit in on a defence prior in order to see what a defence is like. Please contact the GCTS Administrator to learn about upcoming defences.
What do I do after I have received my results (master's thesis) or after I have defended (doctoral thesis)?
At the master's level, you have an opportunity after you receive your grade to fix typographical errors before producing the final version of your thesis (no substantial changes should be made at this point). For information on submitting the final version of your thesis, please see the Thesis Submission & Convocation Information page.
At the doctoral level, depending on what the results of your defence were, you may need to make minor corrections or modifications. Minor corrections must be done within one month, and your supervisor must send a letter to the GCTS Office to confirm that they have been completed. Minor modifications must be made and approved by a subcommittee of the thesis examination committee within three months of the defence.
Once your changes/corrections are completed, you are ready to submit your thesis and apply for convocation.