The Doctoral Thesis Proposal consists of a written document i) defining the specific problem addressed, ii) relating it to the state-of-the-art literature, iii) reporting on the hypothesis, goals, and any initial results, and iv) outlining the proposed research methodology and validation procedure(s). In other words, the proposal summarizes what has been done so far, and what is expected to be completed in the final dissertation. The Thesis Proposal must clearly identify what are the expected contributions of the final dissertation and how these contributions will be validated.

Doctoral Thesis Proposal Committee: The Thesis Supervisor should establish a Ph.D. Doctoral Thesis Proposal Committee comprising of three to five faculty members before the end of the 5th term of the initial registration. This committee must include:

  • Thesis Supervisor(s)
  • An OCICS member from EECS
  • An additional OCICS member from SCS.
  • A faculty member from another department at Carleton. This is optional for the proposal, but do take in to account that for the thesis defence, such a member is required.

The committee is responsible for the Doctoral Thesis Proposal Examination and grading. This committee must be approved by the Graduate Director.

Registration in COMP 6908: The Thesis Supervisor must submit a Doctoral Thesis Proposal Committee form at least three months prior to the Thesis Proposal Oral Examination and well before the last date for registration for that term. The form should indicate the names of the committee members and is submitted to the Graduate Administrator. Upon approval by the Graduate Director, the student can register in COMP 6908. Once registered in COMP 6908, the student must maintain continuous registration in this course until completed.

Scheduling of the Oral Examination: The Thesis Supervisor in consultation with the committee members fixes a date and time for the Oral Examination. This information is conveyed to the Graduate Administrator by completing the Ph.D. Doctoral Thesis Proposal Scheduling form. This form should be completed at least 4 weeks prior to the proposed date of the Oral Exam. In addition to the Committee members, the Oral Exam will require a Chair, who is a faculty member at SCS familiar with the rules and regulations of SCS and the FGPA. It is the responsibility of the Thesis Supervisor to find a Chair for the examination. The Graduate Administrator will then prepare a formal notice of the Oral Examination.

Submission of the Written Thesis Proposal: Student must submit a Written Thesis Proposal to the committee, at least 4 weeks before the Oral Examination. Student will submit an electronic version (and possibly hard copies as desired by the committee members) to the Graduate Administrator. The Graduate Administrator is responsible for circulating the Thesis Proposal as well as the formal Notice of the Oral Examination to all the committee members including the Chair. Students and Thesis Supervisor(s) are requested not to submit the electronic copy of thesis proposal directly to any of the committee members, and please let the Graduate Administrator handle this. This avoids having multiple versions of proposals and possibility of committee members having multiple versions of the proposal. This has led to some chaos during the Oral Exam in the past, and it is best to avoid this.

Format of the Oral Examination: The student is invited by the Chair to make a succinct presentation (15-20 minutes) to the committee members. After the presentation, committee members ask, in turn, questions to the student pertaining to all aspects of the Thesis Proposal. Questions are asked in a set of two rounds, where the first round is one-on-one questioning and the second round has no set format. It is the job of the student to convince all the committee members that what is being proposed is worthy of a doctoral thesis. The Oral Examination typically runs for 60-90 minutes.

Grading of COMP 6908: After the Oral Examination, the committee members deliberate on the acceptability of the Doctoral Thesis Proposal. The Chair of the Oral Examination Committee documents the results using the official grading sheets provided by the Graduate Administrator. Once approved, the Doctoral Thesis Proposal is considered as a contract and must be placed in the students file with the Graduate Administrator. If the Thesis Proposal is unacceptable, the Doctoral Thesis Proposal Committee will recommend appropriate actions on the grading form.

Note that all the requirements for COMP 6908 should be completed by the end of the 6th term of the initial registration.