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Section 5: Graduate Program Supervision and Thesis Examination Guidelines

Advising and Supervision

The regulations, procedures, forms and deadlines which govern all Master’s Programs at the University of Manitoba shall govern all Joint Master’s Programs as outlined in the Academic Guide at the University of Manitoba and the governing documents of the Joint Senate Committee.

Every graduate student, whether in a thesis-based, course-based, or practicum-based graduate program, is required to have a Graduate Program Advisor who is appointed by the Graduate Program Committee Chair. Ideally, the Advisor will be appointed at the time that the student begins their program of studies. The Graduate Program Committee Chair is responsible for approving the appointment of a thesis/practicum Supervisor and a Supervisory Committee for each graduate student.

The Thesis/Practicum/Project Supervisor
Within the first term of appointment of a Thesis/Practicum/Project supervisor, the Supervisor will meet with the student to discuss expectations relevant to the student’s program.

Topic may include:

  • Frequency of meetings (e.g., weekly, bi-weekly, monthly) and approximate length (hour, 2 hours);
  • Responsibilities at meetings (e.g., necessary preparation by student and supervisor, who does note-taking, etc.);
  • Communication preferences (i.e., email, telephone, face to face, appointment);
  • Students’ academic and professional goals;
  • Expectations of on-campus attendance by student;
  • Outside employment by the student and relation to program responsibilities;
  • Research Assistant or Teaching Assistant responsibilities;
  • Student’s current funding, potential future funding applications and strategies to promote student success in applying;
  • Authorship of papers arising from student research;
  • Ownership rights;
  • Intellectual property;
  • Student training opportunities, such as Post-Graduate Professional Skills Certificate Program and Higher Education Teaching Certificate;
  • For thesis students, discussion of the Thesis Supervisory Committee;
  • Time-line for research tasks, including thesis proposal and ethics application, to facilitate timely graduation.

Supervisors must provide a written record of the discussion to the Graduate Studies Office. They may utilize the Graduate Student/Supervisor Expectations Form or a departmental form that covers relevant items. In the event that there is a Co-Supervisor, then both Supervisors shall meet with the student to review the above matters.

The Supervisory Committee will be comprised of at least two faculty members from the student’s graduate program, and include the Supervisor and Advisor. GPC Chairs must submit the list of approved Supervisory Committee members to the Dean of Graduate Studies for information. All persons on a supervisory committee must be members of the Faculty of Graduate Studies at The University of Winnipeg unless expressly approved by the Dean of Graduate Studies. The Supervisor or Advisor may act as Chair of the Committee. For a full explanation of the role of the Graduate Advisor and Supervisor, please see Section III, “Faculty Participation in Graduate Studies at The University of Winnipeg.”

Thesis Examinations

All candidates for a thesis-based graduate degree must submit the results of their research in the form of a thesis. The thesis must be written in English and be prepared in a format approved by the graduate department and the Faculty of Graduate Studies. In general, the graduate thesis should show that the student has mastery of their topic and is fully conversant with the relevant literature. Candidates will be required to defend their thesis and research through an oral examination before a thesis examining committee. It is the responsibility of the Thesis Examining Committee to report its decision to the Faculty of Graduate Studies on the official Graduate Thesis Examination Form.

Thesis Submission
The completed thesis will be given to the Supervisor by the student for final assessment. Once the student and the supervisor are satisfied that the thesis is of a high standard and acceptable in both form and content, the thesis will then be forwarded to the student’s Supervisory Committee for preliminary comments. The committee will read the thesis and respond in writing regarding acceptability for defence. Once agreement is reached by the committee that the thesis is ready to be defended, arrangements will be made by the student’s Graduate Program Committee Chair to coordinate a date and time for the defence of the graduate thesis with the Faculty of Graduate Studies.

Thesis Examining Committees

Membership and Responsibilities
The Thesis Examining Committee will consist of the Supervisory Committee, plus one other examiner, one of whom must be external to the student’s graduate department or program. The Dean of Graduate Studies, or designate, will chair the committee but takes no part in the final decision. The Thesis Examining Committee will be responsible for examining and reporting on the student’s thesis. The final decision will be based both on the content of the thesis and the candidate’s ability to defend it.

Process for Appointment to a Thesis Examining Committee
The Advisor will recommend a suggested Thesis Examining Committee to the Graduate Program Committee on the "Thesis Title and Appointment of Examiners" form. After this form is forwarded to the Dean of Graduate Studies for approval a formal invitation to participate in a Thesis Examination Committee will be issued. In circumstances where the external examiner is not internal to The University of Winnipeg, this examiner’s CV should be forwarded to the Faculty of Graduate Studies for review and approval at least four weeks prior to submission of the “Thesis Title and Examiners” form.

Distribution of Thesis
The Graduate Studies Office will arrange for the distribution of the thesis to members of the Thesis Examining Committee.

The Thesis Examination
Normally, the examining process will be completed within one month after distribution of the thesis. Students have the right to an examination of the thesis if they and their Supervisor believe it is ready for examination.

Thesis students must pass an oral examination on the subject of the thesis and related matters as part of the thesis examination process. The oral examination is open to all members of the University community and guests invited by the candidate. The first part of the examination will consist of an oral presentation of 20-30 minutes that will include a summary of the salient points of the research. This presentation will be followed by one or two rounds of questions from the Thesis Examining Committee, and then may be opened to the audience for informal questions. The Dean of Graduate Studies, or designate, who is designated as Chair of the Thesis Examining Committee, will be responsible for maintaining the relevance of questioning and ensuring that the time limits are not exceeded. Following the completion of questioning, the candidate and all spectators will be required to leave the examination room before the examiners begin to discuss their report.

For additional information on the conduct of thesis examinations in video-conference format, please see the Guidelines for Video-Conference Thesis Examination.

Report on Thesis
The evaluation of the thesis will not receive a letter grade but will be designated on the report as one of the following: 1) Accepted with distinction (excellent quality of contribution, minor editorial revisions), 2) Accepted (minor, non-substantive revisions required, such as re-organizing sections), 3) Accepted with Revision (some major or substantive revisions required, such as rewriting analyses or the addition of material. The changes requested by the examiners are made to the satisfaction of the Thesis Supervisor), 4) unsatisfactory in present form (major modifications required), or 5) rejected.

In the case of a student receiving a 4 evaluation, one opportunity for a second examination within one calendar year may be requested once the required modifications are completed. In the case of a student receiving a 5 evaluation, the student’s program is terminated. The Committee will attempt to reach consensus on the evaluation of the thesis, failing which a majority vote will decide. Each member of the Thesis Examining Committee will sign the report indicating concurrence or written reasons for non-concurrence. The decision may be reported verbally to the candidate by the Chair of the Thesis Examining Committee once a decision has been reached and the appropriate form has been signed by all of the examiners. At the same time, the candidate will be informed in general terms of any revisions of the thesis required and it will be th

Supervisor’s responsibility to ensure that all such revisions are carried out before the copy of the thesis and results of the examination are transmitted to the Faculty of Graduate Studies. Should the student fail the thesis examination twice, they will be required to withdraw from the program (Please see Section 6 regarding maximum degree time allotments and involuntary withdrawal procedures and policies).

Upon notification from the Thesis Examining Committee and receipt of two final copies of the thesis, the Faculty of Graduate Studies will record that the student has fulfilled the necessary thesis requirements for receipt of a Graduate degree.

Graduation Deadline
To be eligible for Spring Convocation, all degree requirements, including the oral defence and submission of the final copy of the thesis, must be completed prior to April 30 of the same year. To be eligible for Fall Convocation, all degree requirements, including the oral defence and submission of the final copy of the thesis, must be completed prior to August 31 of the same year.

Publication and Circulation of Graduate Theses
Every graduate student registering in a degree program at the University will be required to grant a license of partial copyright to the University and to Library and Archives Canada for any thesis submitted as part of the degree program. This is a non-exclusive right to distribution. Publication for commercial purposes remains the sole right of the author. Students retain full moral copyrights of attribution and the integrity of the work. Digital copies of theses will be made
available by WinnSpace (the University of Winnipeg’s Open Access Institutional Repository) and Theses Canada, through Libraries and Archives Canada.

The forms and conditions pertaining to these agreements are available through the Faculty of Graduate Studies.

  • This and other related regulations may give rise to important questions of law and students may need additional legal advice on the copyright laws of Canada and/or other countries. Students who wish to obtain legal advice concerning their subsequent rights are advised to do so prior to signing the agreements.
  • For non-legal advice, students may also contact the University Copyright Office.
  • Before signing the Graduate Student Thesis Library Submission Form, contents of the thesis should have been delineated and the importance of copyright and/or patents fully comprehended.
  • Publication in the above manner does not preclude further publication of the thesis or any part of it in a journal or in a book. In this case, acknowledgment shall be made that the work was originally part of a thesis at The University of Winnipeg.
  • Students will be required to submit their thesis to WinnSpace, which will enable the work to be discoverable online. It will also automatically submit the thesis to Theses Canada.
  • A copyright symbol © is incorporated on a page containing statements of permission to microfilm and to lend copies of the thesis. This page should be inserted at the front of the bound thesis on the page immediately following the title page. Blank copies of this page are available from the Faculty of Graduate Studies.
  • In exceptional cases not covered by the regulation concerning patents where adequate cause can be shown to delay publication, the student may request the Faculty of Graduate Studies to restrict access to any copies of a thesis submitted to the University for a period of up to three years after submission, and the Faculty of Graduate Studies, in consultation with the Supervisor, shall determine for what period, if any, access will be restricted. The student always retains the right to allow access by designated individuals.

Style and Format
In general, the Graduate thesis should show that the student has mastery of their topic and is conversant with the relevant literature. The thesis style must follow a standard style manual acknowledged by a particular field of study, be lucid and well written, and be free from typographical and other errors.

For thesis examination purposes, one hard copy of the thesis must be submitted in good, clear type on both sides of the paper for the Chair of the thesis examination committee as well as one digital copy. The thesis copies must be submitted to the Faculty of Graduate Studies at least 4 weeks prior to the examination date.

Paper size: 8½×11 inches (21.59 x 27.94 cm). Minimum paper weight for the original is 16 lb. bond or equivalent. The minimum left-hand margin allowable is 1½ inches (3.81 cm). Other margins must be at least 1 inch (2.54 cm). Wherever possible, these margins should be adhered to for illustrative materials as well. The body of the thesis must be 10 – 12 characters per inch and no less than 12-point Times Roman with notes in 10-point font.

Submission of Final Copies
After the approval of the thesis by the Thesis Examining Committee and the completion of any revisions required by that Committee, one electronic and two hard copies of the thesis must be submitted to the Faculty of Graduate Studies in unbound form, with the sheets enclosed in an envelope or folder prior to the final day of the end of term.

The examination signature sheet must be included as the first page of the thesis, and the copy with the original signature sheet will be retained by the Faculty of Graduate Studies. The other thesis copy will become the property of The University of Winnipeg Library. The Faculty of Graduate Studies will arrange and pay for the binding of these two copies of the thesis. These are the property of The University of Winnipeg. Students may wish to make similar arrangements for the binding of additional copies of the thesis at their own cost. More information on the thesis examination and submission process may be found in the Thesis handbook on the Faculty of Graduate Studies website:

Forms for Students | Graduate Studies | The University of Winnipeg (uwinnipeg.ca)

For information on Thesis Examinations Guidelines for Video Conference Examinations, see Appendices.


Research Ethics
All members of the University community who conduct research or teaching activities in which human or vertebrate animal subjects are used must have the approval of the appropriate Research Ethics Committee prior to data gathering.

Animal Ethics
Ethics protocols must be submitted by all researchers whose work involves the use of vertebrate animal subjects for research, experimentation, and/or teaching exercises.

Human Ethics
Ethics protocols must be submitted by all researchers whose work involves direct contact with human subjects/participants and/or the acquisition of raw or unformulated data obtained directly from human subjects/participants either by the researcher or by a third party.

If you have any questions regarding animal and human ethics, please contact the Program Officer, Research Implementation, Ethics, and Contracts at 204.786.9058.

Visit the Research Website for more information:

Ethics Information and Policies | Research | The University of Winnipeg (uwinnipeg.ca)

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