Before Your Thesis Examination

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 program Handbooks. You are strongly advised to check the pertinent sections of the appropriate Handbook for detailed information. If you have questions after reviewing the information below and in the Handbooks, contact the GCTS Office.

Thesis Deadlines and Submission

You may submit your thesis at any time of year but if you are seeking to meet an upcoming convocation deadline, see the submission deadlines posted on the Key Academic Dates calendar. If possible, you should submit your thesis well in advance of the deadline. Even if you meet the deadline, unforeseen circumstances may still prevent you from graduating at the next convocation.

You should be in contact with your thesis supervisor throughout the writing of your thesis.

Approximately one month prior to the anticipated date of your thesis submission:

  1. Your supervisor should notify the GCTS Office that your thesis is close to being ready for submission.
  2. For doctoral students, your supervisor will also need to recommend the names of examiners for your Final Oral Examination (FOE) committee. This advanced notice is required to obtain the required approval(s) for your proposed examiners to serve on your FOE committee, and to also ensure your examiners’ availability to participate within the proposed examination time frame. Late submission of committee requests may jeopardize your ability to meet convocation deadlines.
  3. If you are a student in the ThD, DMin, or PhD (USMC) programs, you will also need to submit a completed Final Oral Examination Procedure Election Form to the GCTS Office. For further information on the defence procedure options, please see the Handbook for your program.

Before you submit your thesis, your supervisor must also confirm (via email to the GCTS Office, that your thesis is ready for submission and examination.

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.

Effective March 24, 2020, and until further notice, doctoral and master's thesis submissions should be in PDF format, sent by email to the GCTS Office,

Doctoral students must include a copy of their approved thesis proposal with each copy of their thesis. If you are a student in the ThD, DMin, or PhD (USMC) programs, and have not already done so, you will also need to submit a completed Final Oral Examination Procedure Election Form to the GCTS Office. For further information on the defence procedure options, please see the Handbook for your program. No other materials are to accompany thesis submissions.

Doctoral Students

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 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.

When your examination is ready for the defence to be scheduled, you will be notified by email. At that time, you must email a PDF of your CV to the GCTS Office, 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 program, or have selected Option 2 for your examination, you will receive the external examiner's report in advance of the defence (normally at least two weeks before your defence date).

Normally, students must be present physically for their defence, with only one examiner permitted to participate remotely (the external). However, we are following UofT in permitting remote defences for all participants. Two defence options are available:

Online: All participants attend via videoconference.

Hybrid: You, your supervisor, the chairperson, and any guest will attend your defence in person at TST. The external examiner would attend remotely via videoconference or may choose to attend in person if they are located in the GTA. Other members of your examination committee may choose to attend in person or via videconference.

Your defence will have been advertised by way of a poster to the TST member colleges. Defences are not open to the public.

For online defences, the student is permitted to invite one guest.

For hybrid defences, the student may invite one personal guest; TST faculty and registered TST graduate students are permitted to attend as additional guests. Hybrid defences are limited to a maximum occupancy of 18 guests, excluding the examiners (the GCTS reserves the right to reduce this number without notice). Guests cannot be admitted once the defence is in progress. During the in camera sessions of the defences, the student and guests are required to leave the room. Although the proceedings are not recorded, guests may be visible on camera. If you have an accommodation need for a defence due to a disability, please notify the GCTS Office,, at least one week prior to the date and we will do our best to make the appropriate arrangements.

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 program Handbook and the Final Oral Examination Procedures and Guidelines for more information.

As you are approaching your defence, you may want to sit in on a hybrid defence prior to see what a defence is like. Please contact the GCTS Office to learn about upcoming defences.

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

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 contact the GCTS Office via email,,  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 the program Handbook for other possible results.

Once your approved changes/corrections are completed, you will be ready to complete the TSpace upload process and apply for convocation - see After Your Thesis Examination.

Master's Students

If your examination committee has been approved before your thesis submission, you can expect to receive your grade approximately six weeks after you submit 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.

At the master's level, after you receive your grade, you will have the opportunity 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). Once your approved changes/corrections are completed, you will be ready to complete the TSpace upload process and apply for convocation.

For information on submitting the final version of your thesis to TSpace, see After Your Thesis Examination.