Thesis and practicum defined

  • Thesis

    A thesis is a formal comprehensive, written document describing original research completed on a chosen subject. This work may include, but is not restricted to:

    • investigation aimed at a discovery and/or interpretation of facts
    • challenge and/or possible revisions of accepted theories or laws
    • the ordering and synthesizing of existing findings to support a conclusion, which could open up new research directions

    An essential feature of the thesis is the candidate’s demonstration of competence to complete a research project and present the findings. In particular, the PhD thesis must constitute a distinct contribution to knowledge in the major field of study, and the material must be of sufficient merit to be, in the judgment of the examiners, acceptable for publication.

  • Practicum

    practicum differs from a thesis in its emphasis on the application of theory; however, it is similar in scope, span, and rigor. The extent of work required for the practicum is equal to that required for the master’s thesis.

    In general, the practicum takes the form of an exercise in the practical application of knowledge and skills. It usually involves:

    • the careful definition of a problem 
    • the application of appropriate knowledge and skills to the problem
    • a report of the results in a manner suitable for evaluation by an examining committee.

Theses and practica will vary depending upon the discipline and academic unit. Each student must familiarize themselves with Faculty of Graduate Studies and departmental regulations regarding the thesis and practicum.

Writing, formatting and submitting your thesis or practicum

Refer to these guidelines and requirements to help ensure your thesis or practicum meets university standards for acceptance.

The PhD oral examination process

Graduate student writing support

Take advantage of the wide range of support available to you when writing your thesis or practicum.