Thesis Preparation, Requirements + Deadlines

If you are in a thesis degree program, you must present and defend your thesis to graduate. On this page, you’ll find a step-by-step guide to correctly formatting and submitting your thesis as well as applying to graduate. 

Information on thesis requirements is found in the University Calendar.

Step 1: Format Your Thesis

Your thesis submission must meet the proper formatting requirements, or it may be rejected. It is your responsibility to correctly format and submit your thesis. The specifications below ensure your thesis is compatible with the standards of the University of Alberta Libraries and Library and Archives Canada (National Library).

Important notes:

  • 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.
  • Be sure to consult with your supervisor and department for guidelines that may be specific to your program. You are required to use the Thesis Title Page Template (below) with drop-down menus with current degree and department names.

Useful links:

  • GPS Minimum Thesis Formatting Requirements
    • This document establishes the minimum academic criteria for master's and doctoral theses.
  • Thesis Submission Checklist [pdf]
    • This checklist will help you successfully prepare and submit your thesis.
  • Thesis Title Page Template
    • Check with your department to verify your specialization, if applicable. You can also check on Bear Tracks by 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]
    • View a range of sample prefaces to help you in drafting your own.

You must submit properly formatted draft copies of your thesis to all examining committee members at least three weeks (four weeks for doctoral external examiners) before your final examination (thesis defence). This will give committee members adequate time to appraise the thesis.

Step 2: Prepare + Submit the Thesis Approval/Program Completion Forms

Before your final examination (thesis defence), complete the student portion of the Thesis Approval/Program Completion (TPAC) form found in the GPS Forms Cabinet. If registration should not be removed for the proceeding academic term due to scholarship/awards purposes, please inform your GPS program advisor with a note attached to the form indicating that registration is required for that particular term. Once you have completed the student portion of the form, give it to your supervisor, who will bring the form to your final examination. 

If students or departments submit this form to GPS after the set deadline, the form is considered submitted in the next submission period and students will require normal registration in the current term. Fees will be assessed according to the registration.

"Received at GPS" means the form has been date-stamped by the GPS Office.

Thesis Completion Form + Thesis Submission Deadlines

Action required by:

Note: The TPAC form deadline is not the same as the thesis submission deadline.

Information on the conduct of exams and completion of this form can be found in the University Calendar.

Step 3: Make Required Revisions to Your Thesis

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

If you pass your defence with no revisions, your department will sign off and send your TAPC to GPS shortly after your defence. If revisions are required, your TAPC will not be sent to GPS until all revisions are complete. 

Be sure to revisit the minimum formatting requirements outlined in Step 1 when making revisions to your thesis. 

GPS must receive this form by the listed deadlines to avoid future registration and fees.

Step 4: Apply to Graduate in Bear Tracks

You must apply to graduate in Bear Tracks before submitting your 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.

If you are submitting your thesis for May or October, there is a blackout period between convocations in Bear Tracks. Submit your thesis in Thesis Deposit and apply for graduation after your thesis has been accepted and approved by GPS. Students can apply for the next available convocation after the blackout period is lifted.

If you require a program extension and you are blocked from applying for convocation, please skip this step. You will be able to apply as soon as you receive confirmation from Thesis Deposit that your thesis has been approved.

Step 5: Prepare + Submit Supporting Documents

Complete and send the following documents to GPS (2-29 Triffo Hall), or scan and email the document to your GPS Program progression specialist

These documents must be received before electronic submission of your thesis.

1. University of Alberta Thesis/Dissertation Non-Exclusive License [pdf]

  • Print and complete one form (print, fill out and sign this form by hand).
  • This form grants permission to U of A Libraries to include your thesis in its collection.
  • The student, as author, still retains the copyright.
  • This form 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 the inclusion of another person's work in your thesis, the letters must be included. See Copyright Office Resources.

3. Thesis Approval/Program Completion form [pdf]

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

Note on 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 GPS Forms Cabinet) to GPS. The request must be made before submitting the Thesis to GPS. See the University Calendar.

Step 6: Register + Submit Your Thesis

You must submit your thesis and receive approval in Thesis Deposit within six months of your thesis defence to avoid readmission to your program.

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 three to five working days before any deadline, as corrections may be required. Please review the various deadlines below for more details.

Confirm that your thesis complies with the minimum formatting requirements as well as your department’s specific deadlines. Then, convert your thesis to a single PDF/A file.

PDF/A Conversion

Your final PDF/A must be named as follows:

  • lastname_firstname_middleinitial(s)_submissionyearmonth_degree.pdf
  • Example: Smith_Jill_M_201404_PhD.pdf

Below are some resources that can assist you with the conversion of your thesis document into a single Portable Document Format (PDF/A).

  • Adobe software: You may purchase the Adobe Acrobat software from Adobe.com. You can also access Q&A's, user forums and customer support on this site.
  • *Third-party PDF conversion services: The following companies provide PDF conversion services on the web. Some are free and others charge a fee.

Many of these services require your document to be in postscript format before conversion. Check 'help' on your word processing software for details.

*GPS provides these listings as a resource and does not endorse any of these third-party web services.

Register with Thesis Deposit + Submit Thesis

Before submitting your thesis to Thesis Deposit, you must register with Thesis Deposit. 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

For more information on registering with Thesis Deposit, visit Submitting Your Thesis Electronically in Thesis Deposit [pdf].

Step 7: Await Thesis Review + Approval

Staff in GPS review your electronic thesis in Thesis Deposit within three to five business days of submission to make sure it meets the minimum required specifications.

If not approved:

  • An email from GPS 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 GPS, 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 GPS. (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.

Step 8: Thesis is Published

Under GPS’ 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 U of A graduate students are included in:

  • The U of A Libraries theses collection and the NEOS Library Consortium, to which U of A Libraries belongs
  • Library and Archives Canada's electronic Theses Canada Portal, Library and Archives Canada's microfilmed collection

When you submit your thesis electronically it will not be immediately released. Theses will be released on embargo dates of June 15 for Spring Convocation and November 15 for Fall Convocation.

They will be accessible in the U of A's institutional repository: Education and Research Archive (ERA). The U of A 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).

If you need a Letter of Completion at the end of your program, please use the Completion Letter Request Form to do so instead of emailing GPS. Please read the instructions in the form carefully before submitting.

Note

  • Deadlines are firm and are not subject to appeal by departments or students.
  • You cannot be cleared for convocation, receive your degree or receive a letter of completion for your degree until the thesis has been submitted and approved by GPS.
  • Received at GPS means the form has been date-stamped by the GPS office.
  • You must also pay any outstanding account with the U of A.
  • If you have questions, please contact your graduate coordinator.