Each PhD student prepares a written thesis proposal that describes his or her planned thesis research, including the research question(s) and detailed methods.

The student’s written thesis proposal is evaluated by the Thesis Advisory Committee (TAC).

The written proposal cannot be submitted to the TAC for evaluation until the student has successfully passed both parts of the comprehensive examination.

Once the TAC approves the proposal, the student submits the Statement of Thesis Supervisor form and the Thesis Proposal by Service Request under the Plan of Study category (select View All if this type is not visible in the initial list). Once the proposal has been approved by the TAC, and any necessary research approvals are in place (e.g., research ethics board approvals, contracts), the student may begin his or her thesis research.

While there is no oral defence of the thesis proposal, each PhD student in Epidemiology must publicly present his/her thesis proposal within 6 months of the TAC’s approval of the proposal. The forum for this presentation is tailored to the student’s research area but is expected to be a group that is not the supervisor’s research team and not classmates in a course the student is taking.

The student should choose a forum that provides an opportunity for content or methods experts in the student’s field to provide feedback on the proposed research. Potential venues may include the School of Epidemiology, Public Health and Preventive Medicine (SEPHPM) seminar series, the Clinical Epidemiology Program seminar series, or other rounds, within or outside of Ottawa. The forum chosen should allow a full-length (at least 30 minute) presentation.

The student submits a short report to the TAC after the presentation, outlining where the proposal was presented, the general nature of the feedback, and any changes to the project made as a result. The TAC approves this report and submits it to the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies Office.

  • After comprehensive examination complete (ideally the term following the completion of the comprehensive examination): thesis proposal submitted to and approved by TAC
  • Within 6 months of TAC approval of thesis proposal: public presentation of thesis proposal in a forum chosen by student, with short report to TAC following the presentation