Preparing a Dissertation

After satisfactory completion of coursework and comprehensive examinations, a dissertation research proposal may be formulated for acceptance by the student’s advisory committee. The advisory committee should meet with the student to discuss the proposed research. Doctoral students cannot begin any formally supervised work on the dissertation proposal until all coursework and comprehensive examinations have been completed and the dissertation proposal has been formally approved by all members of the advisory committee.

The Ph.D. dissertation should constitute an original contribution to knowledge. Dissertation work is supervised and evaluated by the student’s advisory committee. As well, the dissertation is evaluated by two examiners from UBC outside the advisory committee and one examiner external to UBC. Copies of completed dissertations are available in the AnSo Thesis Room.

When the Advisory Committee agrees that the candidate's dissertation is ready to be defended, a Departmental Examination will be held to determine if the dissertation can be sent to the external examiner. The Departmental Examination will be conducted by the Advisory Committee members. No external Chairperson is required to conduct the defense.

The Advisory Committee must inform the SGSC in writing that a candidate is ready for a Departmental Examination. In consultation with the Advisory Committee, the student, the Supervisor and the SGSC will set a date for this examination. Two copies of the dissertation must be submitted to the Graduate Secretary at least two weeks before the Departmental Examination. One copy will be made available to the Chair of the Departmental Examination (typically, the Chair is the Dissertation Supervisor), the other copy will be made available to interested members of the Department.

Detailed information on the specific procedures for the conduct of a Departmental Dissertation Examination (including quorum guidelines) can be found in Appendix H of the grad guide.

After the departmental examination and before the university examination, the thesis will also be evaluated by an “external examiner” who will submit a written report and who may attend the university examination. The supervisor and the head of the department or chair of the SGSC will submit the names and addresses of at least two prospective external examiners to the dean of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (G&PS). No contact should be made between members of the department and the prospective external examiners.

Following a successful department examination and upon completion of any required revisions, the candidate is ready to advance to the university examination. The dissertation must be sent to the dean of G&PS prior to the scheduled date of the university examination. See G&PS guidelines and regulations regarding the submission of dissertations for examination. The university examination committee include two or more members of the advisory committee, two “university examiners” from UBC (at least one of who comes from another UBC Department), an “external examiner” from another university, a chair and any other persons appointed by G&PS. The two university examiners are chosen by the advisory committee. The departmental graduate secretary will schedule the university examination in consultation with the student, the advisory committee and G&PS.

Following a successful university examination, copies of the final version of the approved dissertation must be submitted to G&PS and to the sociology graduate office. Consult G&PS deadlines for submitting dissertations for graduation.