Procedure for the submission and defense of the thesis proposal

PhD in Women’s Studies

  1. Students must register for the PhD Thesis Proposal (FEM9997) at the beginning of the session in which they start preparing for it. Students must re-register for each session until the thesis proposal has been successfully defended. Students have up to six months after having completed the comprehensive examination to prepare and submit their PhD thesis proposal. For information about the format of the thesis proposal, please consult the document entitled « Guidelines for the preparation of the thesis proposal – PhD in Women’s Studies ». Students can consult with the members of the thesis committee during the preparation of the thesis proposal, but not after it has been submitted to the IFGS secretariat for evaluation.

  2. When the supervisors deem the thesis proposal ready for defense, they give their approval by signing the « Thesis proposal approval form » available from the IFGS secretariat. Students then bring the signed form to the IFGS secretariat and send an electronic copy of their thesis proposal to the IFGS academic assistant at

  1. The IFGS academic assistant submits the thesis proposal and the « Thesis proposal evaluation form » to the other members of the thesis committee for evaluation. The other members of the thesis committee have a maximum of four (4) weeks to evaluate the thesis proposal and send by email their evaluation form (including their written comments) to the IFGS academic assistant at (if submitted in person, FSS11002). When all the evaluations have been submitted to IFGS, the academic assistant will send copies of the comments to the supervisor and to the student. The supervisor and student should receive the evaluations prior to the student’s thesis proposal defense so that the student has the opportunity to take the comments of the thesis committee members into consideration.

  1. While the thesis proposal is being evaluated, the academic assistant will contact the examiners, the supervisor and the student to determine a date and time for the thesis proposal defense and reserve a room for the defense.  Before the defense, the supervisor obtains from the IFGS secretariat the « Thesis Proposal Defence form ».

  1. Only the student and the members of the thesis committee may be present at the thesis proposal defense. The supervisor presides over the thesis proposal defense. The other members of the thesis committee constitute the jury. The defense typically unfolds as follows:

- The student briefly presents their thesis proposal;

- The student answers the questions posed by the members of the jury;

- The student is asked to leave the room so that the jury may deliberate in their absence


A) If the members of the jury are satisfied with the thesis proposal as a whole – even if the latter could benefit from minor changes, the thesis proposal is accepted. After deliberating, the members of the jury come to an agreement regarding the comments and suggestions that the student should address in further thesis work.

B) If only one member of the jury finds the thesis proposal unsatisfactory, the thesis proposal is accepted, but the examiner must explain their objections and the members of the jury must come to an agreement that clearly identifies the concerns that the student must address in a satisfactory manner in further thesis work.

C) If any two members of the jury find that the thesis proposal does not meet the requirements of the program, a new version of the thesis proposal must be submitted within a reasonable time limit and undergo a second defense to the satisfaction of the members of the jury.

- Once the members of the jury have reached a decision regarding the verdict and the   comments, suggestions or concerns that the student will have to address in further thesis work, the supervisor and members of the jury sign the « Thesis Proposal Defence form », indicating that the defense has occurred, the date and the decision of the jury.

  1. The student is called back into the room; the president of the defense then communicates to the student the result of the jury’s deliberations, and the defense is over.

  1. After the defense, the supervisor hands in the signed form to the IFGS secretariat and the academic assistant submits the form to the Operations Coordinator who then enters in the system the student’s grade for the course FEM6997 (verdicts A or B = graded “S” for Satisfactory; verdict C = graded “NS” for Non Satisfactory).

  1. A Non Satisfactory (NS) grade on the second attempt will result in the student withdrawing from the program.

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