Thesis Dissertation Guidelines

Tips for an Effective Dissertation

Some Ph.D. dissertations are basically composed of a collection of papers written by the student, sandwiched between an introduction and conclusion. Here are some suggestions to make the final dissertation effective:

  • Related work receives a shallow treatment due to the (multiple) paper format. Extended comments on related work should be part of the introductory chapter.
  • Go through the dissertation and create a list of the major concepts in each paper. Make sure all these concepts are:
    • Defined clearly in the paper where they first appear.
      If they aren't, add a preface to that chapter to clarify as necessary.
    • Defined consistently in the separate papers.
      If they aren't, add a preface to the chapter where the usage or definition changes and explain the change carefully.
    • Tied together, where possible, in your concluding comments.
  • The relationship(s) between the papers, and the major ideas or contributions they contain, should be summarized in the conclusions, or foreshadowed in the introduction.
  • Supply comparative tables or figures in the concluding chapter to summarize all major results from the separate papers.
  • Supply pseudocode for all of your algorithms so they can be re-implemented by others - this material should appear in an appendix.
  • Read through the individual papers and look carefully for any place where there is a remark like: "We couldn't include this material for lack of space". That is certainly true for the individual papers, but it needs to be remedied in the thesis. For any comments like this, add a "Notes and comments" section at the end of the relevant chapter - before the references - and include the material that had to be left out of the paper.

(Contributed by M.MacGregor)

Thesis Submission

To be eligible for convocation, all students in a thesis degree program must present a thesis embodying the results of their research and the topic must be approved by the student's supervisor or supervisory committee.

*Changes to thesis submission as of April 3, 2014*

  1. Mandatory inclusion of preface for collaborative work
  2. Inclusion of a comprehensive bibliography
  3. Electronic submission of thesis (paper copies will no longer be accepted)

FGSR Formatting Requirements for Preparation of a Thesis (PDF, 626KB)
Comparison of New and Current Thesis Formatting Requirements (PDF, 54KB)