Final Master’s Examination

At a time determined in consultation with his/her Supervisory Committee, the student shall prepare a thesis according to the guidelines for thesis preparation by the FGSR. An "Approval to write thesis" form must be signed by supervisor and supervisory committee members and provided to the Graduate Coordinator. Agreement to achieve approval to write thesis is generally done within the context of a supervisory committee meeting.

The Committee usually consists of the Supervisory Committee. In accordance with FGSR regulations, the Final Master’s Examining Committee shall consist of at least three faculty members who are normally full-time and recommended by the Department Chair for approval by FGSR. Since one member must be from outside the Department of Medical; Genetics, a member from another Department may be added to the Supervisory Committee to satisfy FGSR rules. The Graduate Co-ordinator of the department or his/her designate will chair the exam. Unless the chair is also an examiner, s/he will not vote on the outcome of the examination.

The thesis should be prepared using one of the formats described in the "Thesis Handbook: A manual of regulations and guidelines for thesis preparation" and submitted to the examiners at least three weeks before the Examination date.

A summary of FGSR formatting guidelines and forms can be obtained at the following link: http://www.gradstudies.ualberta.ca/degreesuperv/thesis/prepare.aspx

Overview of exam format and requirements

  • The Examining Committee shall conduct a final oral examination, based largely on the thesis.
  • It is the responsibility of the Supervisor to ensure that proper arrangements are made for the candidate's examination and the examination is scheduled and held in accordance with FGSR regulations. The candidate is not required to make these arrangements.
  • The Chair, student and all examiners should have a final draft of the thesis at the examination.
  • The candidate should make a public presentation about the thesis, usually 45 - 50 minutes long.
  • It is customary for the candidate to leave the examining room while procedures are determined and explained.
  • The most questioning time should be allotted to the Internal/External Examiner and the least to the Supervisor.
  • At the close of the examination, before the student is asked to withdraw, it is often beneficial to ask the candidate if there are any final comments.
  • For the adjudication, no final verdict should be rendered without each examiner having given an opinion.
  • The overall decision is based on the acceptability of the thesis and the acceptability of the defence.

Student Responsibilities:

  • Present thesis plan to committee for acceptance a minimum of 2 months before examination.
  • Prepare thesis in accordance with FGSR and Department policy.
  • Provide thesis to Supervisor for review at least 6 weeks before exam.
  • Submission of the thesis has to occur as a hard copy in person to members of the Examining Committee, as well as electronically by e-mail.
  • Prepare seminar to present before final thesis defence.
  • Amend thesis if necessary and submit to FGSR within 6 months of completion of the Final Oral Exam. Please note that there are also submission deadlines for each convocation period and registration requirements to consider when submitting your thesis.

Supervisor Responsibilities:

  • Inform the Graduate Administrator of meeting time, place, and committee members with a designated examiner and Chair, at least 3 weeks before the exam.
  • Book the room for the exam through the Graduate Administrator.
  • Examine amended thesis to confirm completion of revisions recommended by the Examining Committee.
  • Complete Thesis Approval / Program Completion form (available from Graduate Administrator).

Final Exam

Please adhere to the following deadlines when scheduling a final examination:

  • >2 months before: The student presents a thesis plan to his/her Supervisory Committee. A Final Supervisory Meeting may be held to discuss and accept the thesis plan.
  • 4 - 6 weeks before: The student presents thesis drafts to the Supervisor. The student shall allow a minimum of 2 weeks for the Supervisor to provide comments on the final draft of the thesis prior to submission to the Examining Committee. This draft should be free of typographical and formatting errors. Conversely, it is the responsibility of the Supervisor to provide timely comments on all drafts of the thesis. The Supervisor informs the Graduate Administrator of meeting time, place, and committee members with a designated examiner and chair, at least 3 weeks before the exam.
  • 3 weeks before: The Student Program Advisor submits a Notice of Approval of Oral Examining Committee form to the FGSR. The student distributes a completed thesis to members of the Examining Committee.


The final exam shall be immediately preceded with an open departmental research seminar given by the candidate, conducted in the normal manner with a question period and lasting approximately one hour. Immediately following the seminar, the final Examining Committee and the candidate shall proceed to the oral component of the final exam which will be held in a closed session and conducted in accordance with FGSR regulations.


At the close of the examination, the student will be given the opportunity to make final comments on the examination. The student will then be asked to withdraw, and Committee Members will be asked to comment on (1.) the acceptability of the thesis, and (2.) the acceptability of the defence. Following a discussion, the Examining Committee will recommend by a majority vote one of the following possible outcomes:

  • Pass - The thesis and defence approved. All Committee Members shall sign the signature page. Thesis must be submitted to the FGSR office within 6 months of the date of the Final Oral Examination.
  • Pass subject to minor revisions - Thesis requires minor revisions of editorial nature. All members but the Supervisor may sign the Thesis Approval/Program Completion form. The candidate shall make the appropriate revisions. The Supervisor will withhold signature until the thesis is satisfactorily amended.
  • Adjourned - Defence was unsatisfactory or thesis requires substantial revisions. No Committee Members will sign the Thesis Approval/Program Completion form. The Committee will specify in writing with as much detail as possible the nature of revisions and additional work, and decide upon a date to reconvene no later than 6 months from the date of the examination.
  • Fail - Thesis rejected.

Submission of Approved Thesis

It is the responsibility of the student to complete revisions of the thesis requested by the Examining Committee and to ensure that the revised thesis meets FGSR guidelines. Once Thesis revisions are completed and approved by the Supervisor, the Supervisor signs the Thesis Approval/Program Completion form. The form is then completed by the Graduate Coordinator or the Department Chair for submission with thesis to FGSR.

The student must submit to FGSR either one pdf version if submitted electronically or 2 approved and unbound copies of the thesis. In addition, the Department of Medical Genetics requires one bound copy, accompanied by high quality CD/DVD of multimedia files if appropriate. Students should note that it is customary for a bound copy of the thesis in its final form to be given to the Supervisor.

Please follow Departmental guidelines in terms of color for binding (see Graduate Administrator). For thesis binding, use a thesis binding requisition and submit to:

McCallum Printing Group Inc.
2-50 Cameron Library
University of Alberta

Additional information on binding can be found at the following link:


N.B. If the thesis is not submitted to the FGSR within the 6 month time limit, the candidate will be considered to have withdrawn from the program. After this time, the candidate must reapply and be readmitted to the FGSR before the thesis can be accepted.