Academic Requirements

Thesis Requirement & Preparation

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

Information on thesis requirements is found in the Graduate Program Manual §8.4 or the University Calendar §204.4.

Preparing Your Thesis

There are four steps in preparing and submitting your thesis to the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research (FGSR).

Always consult with your department, who may have additional steps and procedures.

Please note: All theses must be submitted electronically.

  • Step 1: Format Your Thesis

    The FGSR Minimum Thesis Formatting Requirements document (below) establishes the minimum academic criteria for master's and doctoral theses. Also consult department-specific guidelines and your supervisor. You are encouraged to use the Thesis Title Page Template (below) which has drop-down menus with current degree and department names.

    These specifications ensure your thesis is compatible with the standards of the University of Alberta Libraries and Library and Archives Canada (National Library).

    FGSR Minimum Thesis Formatting Requirements

    Thesis Title Page Template [Word Document]

    •Check with your department to verify your specialization, if applicable. Also check on Bear Tracks, going to Academics>My Academics>Graduation.

    • If using a PC, when using the template, you may be asked at the bottom of the page how you want to open it. Click 'Open'. You may have to click 'Enable Editing' before proceeding.

    • Complete the thesis title page template and copy and paste it into your document.

    Preface Samples [PDF Document]

    • Students are responsible for formatting their theses. Failure to meet the formatting requirements may result in a thesis being rejected. Do not copy the specifications and/or formatting of theses written by other students in your graduate program, as previously submitted theses may not conform to the current technical requirements.

    Thesis Submission Checklist [PDF Document]

    Locate Adobe Acrobat Resources

    • Copies of your thesis will need to be supplied to all examining committee members at least three weeks (four weeks for doctoral external examiners) in advance of your final examination. This will give committee members adequate time to appraise the thesis.

  • Step 2: Prepare Thesis Approval/Program Completion Form

    Complete the student portion of the Thesis Approval/Program Completion form found in the FGSR Forms Cabinet and take it to your final examination.

    Information on the conduct of exams and the final completion of this form, is found in the Graduate Program Manual §8.3 or the University Calendar §204.3.

  • Step 3: Make Required Revisions to Your Thesis

    After your final examination, you will make any required revisions as directed by your examining committee.

    After your supervisor has approved your revisions and signed the Thesis Approval/Program Completion form, the form is given to the Graduate Coordinator/Department Chair to complete the program completion section and will send it to the FGSR. FGSR must receive this form by the listed deadlines in order to avoid future registration and fees.

  • Step 4: Submit Your Thesis to the FGSR

    Graduate students must apply to graduate in Bear Tracks before submitting their thesis. Once in Bear Tracks, go to Academics>My Academics>Graduation and follow the directions. Students who fail to apply will not be eligible for convocation.

    Theses must be submitted within six months of the date of the final oral examination.

    There are thesis submission deadlines for each convocation period and registration requirements when submitting your thesis. We recommend you submit your thesis a minimum of 3-5 working days before any deadline, as corrections may be required. Please consult the Thesis Deadlines section for more details.

    Your thesis must be in a software application that can be converted to PDF/A (Archive), eg MicrosoftWord, WordPerfect, etc. You will need to convert your thesis to a single PDF/A file and submit it to Thesis Deposit. Once in Thesis Deposit, the FGSR will review your thesis for acceptance. Follow the steps below.

    4.1 Confirm Thesis is Formatted Correctly

    Before converting your thesis to PDF/A, confirm that it complies with the FGSR Minimum Thesis Formatting Requirements and department-specific guidelines. Refer to Step 1: Format Your Thesis.

    4.2 Convert Thesis to PDF/A (Archive)

    Your thesis needs to converted to a single PDF/A file, even if it was originally saved in one or more files.

    How to Save as PDF/A (Archive) [PDF Document]

    Your final PDF/A must be named as follows:

    •lastname_firstname_ middleinitial(s)_submissionyearmonth_degree.pdf
    (Example: Smith_Jill_M_201404_PhD.pdf)
    •To convert your thesis to PDF/A, you may need to use Adobe Acrobat (not the freely available Acrobat Reader).
    •For information on where to access Adobe Acrobat and other resources, go to the Adobe Acrobat Resources page

    4.3 Prepare Supporting Documents

    Complete and send the following documents to the FGSR (2-29 Triffo Hall), or scan and email the document to the Program Services Unit. For more contact information click here

    These documents must be received prior to electronic submission of your thesis.

    •print and complete one form
    •this form grants permission to University of Alberta Libraries to include your thesis in its collection
    •the student, as author, still retains copyright
    •grants the National Library permission to publish and disseminate your thesis either by interlibrary loan or sale
    2. Copyright Permission Letters

    If you have copyright permission letters allowing inclusion of another person's work in your thesis, the letters must be included.

    This form (signed after the final examination and completed by the Graduate Coordinator), must have been sent to the FGSR. Confirm with your department that this form has been completed and sent to the FGSR.

    NOTE: Restricting Access to a Thesis: Students who want to restrict access to their theses for an embargo period must complete and submit the Request to Restrict Access to a Thesis form (found in the FGSR Forms Cabinet) to the FGSR. The request must be made before submitting the Thesis to the FGSR. See the Graduate Program Manual §8.4.3 or the University Calendar §204.4.3.

    4.4 Register with Thesis Deposit and Submit Thesis

    Before submitting your thesis to Thesis Deposit, you must register with Thesis Deposit (see procedure below). You must use a computer with:

    •internet access using either a broadband or dial-up connection
    •Windows, Macintosh or UNIX/Linus operating systems
    •Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer 8.x or later, Safari or other modern browser

    Go to Thesis Deposit, using the procedure Submitting Your Thesis Electronically in Thesis Deposit [PDF Document]

    4.5 Thesis Submission Review by FGSR

    Staff in the FGSR review your electronic thesis in Thesis Deposit to make sure it meets the minimum required specifications.

    If not approved:

    •an email from the FGSR will be sent to the email address used when registering with Thesis Deposit, notifying you that your electronic thesis has been rejected. You will be required to make any modifications instructed by the FGSR, log back into Thesis Deposit and re-submit.

    •you must continue to check your email after each submission in case there are any corrections required. Your submission is not complete and you will not meet the deadline until your thesis is approved by the FGSR. (It may be necessary to check your spam/junk folder.)

    Once approved:

    •an email will be sent to the email address used when registering with Thesis Deposit, confirming that your thesis has been successfully submitted and approved and outlining the final required steps.

What Will Happen to Your Thesis

Under the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research’s policy on public access to theses, academic and research achievements of graduate students should be shared with the greater community for scholarly and scientific purposes, and access should be made freely available after convocation.

For this reason, theses submitted from University of Alberta graduate students are included in:

  • The University of Alberta Libraries theses collection and the NEOS Library Consortium, to which University of Alberta Libraries belongs
  • Library and Archives Canada’s electronic Theses Canada Portal, Libary and Archives Canada's microfilmed collection.

When you submit your thesis electronically it will not be immediately released. Theses will be released on June 15 for Spring Convocation and November 15 for Fall Convocation, and accessible in the University of Alberta's institutional repository: Education and Research Archive (ERA). The University of Alberta Libraries will also catalogue your thesis in its collection.

Although your thesis will be shared publicly, keep in mind that you as author retain both copyright ownership of your thesis and the moral rights (the rights you retain over the integrity of the work and the right to be named as its author even after sale or transfer of the copyright).