Before Your Thesis Examination: Deadlines & Submission Information

The information 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 information in the handbooks. You are strongly advised to check the pertinent sections of the appropriate handbook for detailed information.

What are the deadlines for submission in order to convocate in November or May?

Deadlines for the submission of theses are posted each year under Key Academic Dates

Even if you meet the deadline, unforeseen circumstances may still prevent you from graduating at the next convocation. Therefore, if possible, you 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 supervisor throughout the writing of your thesis.

Before you submit your thesis, your supervisor must submit to the Graduate Centre for Theological Studies 1) a recommended slate of thesis examiners (doctoral theses only); 2) a written confirmation that your thesis is ready for examination. Doctoral examination committees must be approved by the GCTS before a thesis is distributed to the examiners by the GCTS Office, so it is important that the approval of your examination committee precedes your thesis submission. Late submission of committees may jeopardize your ability to meet convocation deadlines. 

If you are a student in the ThD, DMin or PhD (USMC) programs, you will also need to submit a completed Defence Procedure Election Form to the GCTS Office. For further information on the defence procedure options, please see the Handbooks information page.

Finally, if you are in receipt of financial aid, you should check with the scholarship/bursary provider (e.g. your college, OGS, SSHRC) to see if you are required to give notice of a mid-year or mid-semester completion of your program

How many copies do I submit and to what office do I submit them? How should I submit my thesis?

COVID-19 UPDATE: Effective March 24, 2020, and until further notice, doctoral and master's thesis submissions should be made in PDF format, sent to Doctoral students are reminded to submit both their approved thesis proposal and thesis. Questions? Please contact

Doctoral students must submit five copies of their thesis and approved thesis proposal. MA (USMC) and ThM Option 1 students must submit three copies of their thesis. Copies are submitted to:

Graduate Centre for Theological Studies Office
Toronto School of Theology
47 Queen's Park Crescent East
Toronto, ON M5S 2C3

You must submit to the GCTS Office the required number of copies of your thesis printed double-sided, unbound, and with each copy contained in a letter-size expandable and re-sealable envelope (e.g. with string or Velcro).  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.

Does anything need to be submitted along with my thesis?

Doctoral students must include a copy of their approved thesis proposal with each copy of their thesis. No other materials are to accompany thesis submissions.

Master's Theses: How long does it take until I am informed of my grade?

If your examination committee has been approved before your thesis submission, you can expect your grade approximately six weeks after you submitted your thesis. However, unforeseen circumstances, such as the unavailability 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 within four months after submission, although circumstances such as a not-yet-approved committee or the unavailability of examiners can cause the process to take longer. The examination committee has a total of (at a minimum) two and a half months to read the thesis, so even an examination that follows an ideal timeline will take at least that long. The GCTS Office is exclusively responsible for scheduling your defence. You should not make contact with your committee members during the examination. Once your defence is scheduled, you will be notified by email. At that time, you must send the GCTS Administrator electronic copies of your CV. Please note that your CV will be made available to all present at the defence, including visitors and guests, so you may not want to include personal contact information. If you are in the conjoint PhD in Theological Studies, you will receive the external examiner's report in advance of the defence (normally at least two weeks before your defence date).

Doctoral Theses: What happens on the day of my defence?

*COVID-19 UPDATE*: Effective March 20, 2020, until further notice, in-person defences are not possible. Students may elect to have their defence held remotely via video-conference or to postpone their defence until such a time as an in-person defence is possible. Remote defences are completely closed: no visitors or observers are permitted.

Your defence will have been advertised by way of a poster to the TST member colleges. Defences are not open to the public. Only TST faculty and registered TST graduate students are permitted to attend as guests (the student may also invite one personal guest). Defences held at TST are limited to a maximum occupancy of 18 guests, not including examiners. Guests cannot be admitted once the defence is in progress. If you have an accommodation need for this defence due to a disability, please notify the Graduate Administrator ( at least one week prior to the date and we will do our best to make the appropriate arrangements.

Defences normally take place in one of TST's boardrooms. Unless the external examiner is in the Toronto area, he or she 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 appropriate handbook and the Final Oral Examination Procedures and Guidelines for further 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.

Doctoral Theses: What do I bring to my defence?

You should bring only a copy of your thesis and thesis proposal to your defence.  You may also bring a pen and pad to take notes with.

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 unless you are directed to do so by your examination committee). For information on submitting the final version of your thesis, please see the After Your Thesis Examination: TSpace Submission & Convocation Information page.

At the doctoral level, depending on the result of your defence, you may need to make minor corrections or modifications. Minor corrections must be done within one month of your defence date, 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. Please see your handbook for other possible results.

Once your changes/corrections are completed, you are ready to submit your thesis to TSpace and apply for convocation.