For departmental guidelines, consult the departmental handbook (PDF). Within the lab, the most important criteria is your research output. A general expectation is 1 to 2 publications for MASc degrees and 3 to 5 publications for PhD degrees in peer-reviewed journals.

Note, these publications refer to original research; review articles do not count.

Moreover, an equally important assessment is your ability to defend your work – its merits and limitations, and directions for the future. This is judged during yearly committee meetings. Your thesis committee will let you know if they think you’re ready to defend your thesis.

Thesis The actual thesis document can be a “paper”-based thesis – a collage of your publications, along with an introductory chapter and a future chapter. These two chapters could be written specifically for the thesis, or as part of a review paper. If you’re productive, then you should have 3-5 (or 1-2 for MASc) original research papers + 1 review article by the time you’re ready to graduate. This will make your thesis preparation very straightforward and enjoyable.

Defense The actual defense will be a 30-minute oral presentation, followed by 1 to 2 hours of Q&A by your committee members. In our lab, we advocate for an open defense, meaning it will be publicly advertised and anyone who wishes to attend your presentation can do so. This is a great opportunity for your friends and colleagues to see what you have been up to for the last few years, and also a chance to practice public speaking. The follow up Q&A session will be private. Don’t stress this. If you’ve gotten the go-ahead from your committee, we think you’re ready and you will be fine for your actual thesis defense.

Leaving checklist

In addition to the above, we ask that you complete the following items before leaving the lab to keep the lab environment sustainable and so that others coming in can enjoy it as much as you did:

  • Clean up your desk space surfaces and remove un-necessary items
  • Clean up your bench space surfaces and remove all un-necessary items
  • Go through all of your reagents. Either discard or transfer them to current lab member(s)
  • Archive all your project contents (this includes notes, experiments, all deliverables, and sample/reagent documentation) into the lab’s network attached storage for archival
  • Find another lab member to sign your lab agreement form as a witness
  • Submit the signed form to Leo