Doctoral Program Requirements
Doctoral Dissertation Information
- Doctoral Dissertation Supervisory Committee
- PhD Comprehensive Exam and Dissertation Proposal
- Dissertation Preparation
- Doctoral Dissertation Exam Committee
- Scheduling PhD Oral Exam
Doctoral Program Requirements
An internal promotion within the program may only be made within 3 terms (12 months) of registration in the Graduate Program.
KAHS Internal Promotion: Master's To PhD without completing Master's degree
For most students, completion of the Master's degree is the best route for entering the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree program. However, exceptional KAHS students who are making exceptional progress in their research project may transfer directly from the Masters to the PhD program without writing and defending their Masters thesis. Normally, it is expected that this situation is rare and would apply to only a few students within the Kinesiology and Health Science Graduate Program. A judgement as to the suitability of the student for this promotion is first made by the student's Supervisor to the Graduate Program Director before consideration by the Graduate Executive Committee. The supervisor and student must provide a copy of his/her work including a brief rationale for the transfer. If deemed suitable, an examining committee (including Graduate Program Director), will be formed to evaluate the suitability for promotion based on the student's progress, perceived research potential and scholarly maturity. After the examination, the examining committee's recommendation will be reviewed for approval by the Graduate Executive Committee, before it is forwarded to the Faculty of Graduate Studies for consideration and final approval.
- Supervisor must provide a copy of the student's work including a brief rationale for the internal promotion to the Graduate Program Director for consideration by Gradudate Executive Committee.
- If deem suitable, the Supervisor will contact the second Supervisory Committee member, two KAHS appointed faculty members, along with the Graduate Program Director, to be part of the examination committee .
- Supervisor provides the names of the examination committee to graduate program office along with date and time of examination at least 21 days prior to exam date.
- Student provides copy of his/her work including a brief rationale for the transfer to the each member of the Examining Committee, at least 14 days prior to the exam.
- Student presents a 10-15 minute synopsis of his/her work to the Examining Committee.
The duration of the examination shall be no longer than 1 hour. After the presentation, the examining committee members will ask the student questions related to their work in order to determine whether the student should be promoted, or whether he/she should remain in the Master's degree program to completion. Questioning should follow the standard procedure of a thesis defence, with 1-2 rounds of questions followed by committee deliberation. The Examining Committee's decision shall be unanimous in order to recommend for the internal promotion within the program.
If the internal promotion within the program is approved, the student must complete the online Graduate Admission application and pay the application fee. The student will be considered a PhD (year 1) student and will be governed by PhD degree requirements. (The two half graduate course electives at the KAHS 6000 level taken at the master's level will be applied to the PhD course requirement). The student must complete the PhD Comprehensive Examination within 24 months of entering the PhD program, and must also complete the required coursework for the Master's degree. If the student does not pass the PhD Comprehensive Examination, or if the PhD is not completed, the student can elect to transfer back to the Master's degree program and is eligible to obtain a Master's degree following successful completion of the Master's thesis and defence.
The PhD degree requires a minimum of two years (6 terms of registration). The expectation is that all requirements for a PhD degree shall be fulfilled within 15 terms (5 years) of registration as a full-time doctoral student. Terms that students register as Leave of Absence, Maternity Leave or Parental Leave are not included in these time limits. Any students who do not achieve these timelines will be given a warning and/or placed on probation by the Kinesiology and Health Science Graduate Executive Committee.
Student Evaluation and Process Reports
PhD dissertation progress shall be assessed at the September, January and May meetings of the Graduate Executive Committee via the Student Evaluation and Progress Report form in consultation with the Supervisory Committee, if necessary.
Supervisor and Supervisory Committee
Students Supervisory Committee should be formed within 12 months (3 terms of registration) of entering the PhD Program.
PhD Comprehensive Examination Deadline
Admitted before Fall 2017:
Students shall successfully complete their PhD Comprehensive Examination within 28 months of entering the PhD program. In the case of direct transition students, this period may be reduced to 12 months.
Admitted Fall 2017:
Students admitted to the graduate program starting Fall 2017 will follow a revised PHD Comprehensive Examination procedure. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for instructions.
Students shall complete:
- two Graduate Seminars (KAHS 7200 3.0 and KAHS 7210 3.0 - plus 2 presentations in years 3 and 4)
- and at least two half elective courses at the KAHS 6000 level
The selection of elective courses shall be approved by the Supervisor and Supervisory Committee. Candidates must demonstrate to their Supervisory Committee a satisfactory knowledge of statistical and/or computational techniques, as these techniques are deemed necessary for the conduct of their research.
Readings in Special Topics
A rationale must be given for the Supervisory Committee to require a Readings in Special Topics (KAHS 6220 3.0) course for a PhD student. Approval by Graduate Executive Committee will be based on the following criteria:
- Student cannot find a suitable course at York or at another university within reasonable commuting distance.
- Readings in Special Topic does not overlap with the three areas (cognate and dissertation proposal topics) that will be examined at the PhD Comprehensive Examination.
- Submission of a course outline to the Graduate Program Office which follows the Faculty of Graduate Studies protocol: title, course description, course director(s), method of evaluation (including at minimum two items of evaluation) and bibliography
These courses shall be graded on a pass/fail basis by the faculty member responsible for the Graduate Seminar series.
The content shall include visiting speakers, faculty and student presentations. Students shall give a presentation on their research at least twice during their tenure in the Graduate Program; once during the proposal stage of their research and once at a later stage. These presentations shall be taken into account by the Supervisory Committee when assessing research progress in Dissertation Research.
Doctoral Dissertation Information
The Faculty of Graduate Studies provides full details regarding doctoral dissertation supervisory committee including:
- Composition of Committee
- Approval Timelines
- Approval Process
- Supervisor's Roles and Responsibilities
- Supervisory Committee Roles and Responsibilities
NOTE: each student must follow only one of the procedures below based on when the student was admitted to the graduate program:
Students admitted after Fall 2017 (i.e FA17, FA18) follow two stage procedure:
Stage 1: Cognate Topics procedure
Stage 1: examination form
Stage 2: Dissertation Proposal Grant procedure
Stage 2: examination form
Students admitted before Fall 2017 (i.e. FA16, FA15, FA14) contact graduate program.
All students must refer to the Faculty of Graduate Studies web page on organization and technical requirements for the preparation of theses and dissertations. Outlined below for your convenience are some guidelines to be followed in the preparation of theses.
Expectation of Quality of PhD Dissertation
The doctoral candidate shall submit and defend a dissertation based on research that demonstrates their independence, originality and understanding of their area of study at an advanced level. By the time of the defence (oral examination), there is the strong expectation that the student will have been accepted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal, at least one principal-authored manuscript stemming from their PhD research.
As an alternative to the traditional dissertation format, one or more papers can be presented of which the student is an author or co-author. The following regulations must be observed:
- Candidates have the option of including, as part of the thesis, the text of one or more full papers submitted or to be submitted, for publication, or the clearly-duplicated text (not the reprints) of one or more published papers. These texts must conform to the Faculty of Graduate Studies technical requirements for the preparation of theses and dissertations with respect to font size, line spacing and margin sizes and must be bound together as an integral part of the thesis. (Reprints of published papers can be included in the appendices at the end of the thesis.) Relevant citation information for all published or "in press" manuscripts must be included.
- When co–authored papers are included in a PhD dissertation, the candidate must have made a substantial contribution to all papers included in it. Although there are variations in the cultures of different disciplines, a doctoral candidate might be expected to be first author on one or more of the papers. If a dissertation contains manuscripts or publications that are co-authored or multi-authored, then the dissertation will be accepted for examination by the Faculty of Graduate Studies only if accompanied by signed written statements from the candidate and the principal supervisor that explain in detail the candidate's contribution to the work. This statement should appear in a single section entitled "Contributions of Authors" as a preface to the dissertation. The Supervisor must also attest to the accuracy of this statement at the PhD Oral Examination (defense). Since the task of the examiners is made more difficult in these cases, it is in the candidate's interest to clearly specify the responsibilities of all the authors of the co-authored papers. This must be done in such a way that the Faculty of Graduate Studies is satisfied that what is being submitted is the original work of the candidate and that the work was done while the candidate was a student in the Faculty of Graduate Studies.
- The dissertation must be more than a collection of manuscripts. All components must be integrated into a cohesive unit with a logical progression from one chapter to the next. In order to ensure that the dissertation has continuity, connecting texts that provide logical bridges between the different papers are mandatory.
- The dissertation must conform to all other requirements of the Faculty of Graduate Studies Organization and Technical Requirements. In addition to the manuscripts, the thesis must include the following:
- a table of contents;
- an abstract in English;
- an introduction or opening chapter which clearly states the rationale and objectives of the research and includes a comprehensive review of the literature (in addition to that covered in the introduction to each paper). The literature review must adequately explain its relationship to the literature of the work undertaken.
- a final conclusion and summary chapter which integrates the results of the various manuscripts, including all previously published parts.
- a complete reference list that forms the final chapter (prior to appropriate appendices) rather than separate reference lists for each chapter.
- As manuscripts for publication are frequently very concise documents, where appropriate, additional material must be provided (e.g., in appendices) in sufficient detail to allow a clear and precise judgment to be made of the importance and originality of the research reported in the dissertation.
When previously published copyright material is presented in a thesis, the candidate must include signed waivers from the co-authors and publishers and submit these to the Faculty of Graduate Studies Thesis Office with the final deposition, if not submitted previously.
Irrespective of the PhD external examiner's reports, if the Dissertation Examining Committee feels that the dissertation has major omissions with regard to the above guidelines, the candidate may be required to resubmit an amended version.
In no case can a co–author of any component of the dissertation serve as an external examiner.
Full details regarding composition of the dissertation examining committee are available at the Faculty of Graduate Studies.
All program requirements should be completed within 6 years of entering the graduate program.
25 work days prior to a dissertation exam, the student is required to follow the steps below:
- review the oral exam guidelines
- set exam date with the members of your examination committee
- email exam date and time to email@example.com
- submit to the graduate program a completed Recommendation for Oral Examination Form, along with one hard copy of the dissertation
- deliver dissertation copies to other members of exam committee
- apply to graduate
The graduate program assistant will:
- reserve an examination room
- book audio/visual equipment
- send via courier a hard copy of dissertation to external examiner
Recommendation of Dissertation to the Faculty of Graduate Studies
The Graduate Program Director is responsible for recommending the membership of Dissertation Examining Committee to the Faculty of Graduate Studies, along with the date, time and place of the PhD Oral Examination. The Recommendation for Oral Examination form must be submitted to the graduate program assistant at least five weeks prior to the examination date, along with a hard copy of the dissertation, which will be forwarded to the external examiner.
The graduate program requires ALL examining committee members to be present on the date set (video conference is not allowed for a PHD defence).
Members of Dissertation Examining Committee must receive a copy of the dissertation at least FOUR WEEKS before the PhD Oral Examination is held.
External Examiner's Copy of Dissertation
Students should not contact the external examiner directly themselves. A copy must be submitted to the graduate program assistant at least 25 work days prior to the PhD Oral Examination date, so that the dissertation can be sent directly to the external examiner. The copy must be received by the external examiner at least four weeks prior to the examination.
Conduct of the PhD Oral Examination
- Before the PhD Oral Examination can be convened; a majority of the Dissertation Examining Committee members must agree that the dissertation is examinable. The Graduate Program Director shall poll the members of the examining committee one week before the scheduled date for the oral examination. If the candidate's dissertation does not receive a majority vote, the members of the examining committee who do not agree that the dissertation is examinable are required to give their reasons in writing to the candidate, the Supervisor, and the Dean within one week after the poll. In such cases, the oral examination shall be postponed for a period not to exceed one year. However, the student has the right to insist that the oral examination proceed as planned.
- The time and place of PhD Oral Examination shall be set by the Graduate Program Director in consultation with the candidate, the Chair and members of the PhD Oral Examining Committee and with the approval of the Dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies. Normally the examination shall be held no less than four weeks from the date on which copies of the completed dissertation approved by the supervisory committee are received by each member of the examining committee. The PhD Oral Examination may be held less than 20 work days from the time copies are received by the examining committee provided all parties agree.
- The PhD Oral Examination will centre on the dissertation. The student begins with a seminar (generally expected to use a PowerPoint presentation) of 20–25 minutes duration.
Following the seminar, the student will be examined on his/her dissertation. Each committee member will question the candidate. Typically two rounds of committee questions are conducted prior to deliberation. Normally, the first round of questions will refer to general aspects of the work. Subsequent questions will deal with more detailed matters. Total length of the seminar and examination should be approximately 3 hours.
- The PhD Oral Examination is a public academic event. Faculty members, graduate students and others may attend oral examinations at the discretion of the Chair of the examining committee. They may, at the discretion of the Chair, participate in the questioning.
Only members of the Dissertation Examining Committee may be present for the final evaluation and for the vote at the conclusion of a PhD Oral Examination.
The quality of the dissertation and the performance of the student will be assessed as indicated on the accompanying Examining Committee Thesis/Dissertation Defence Checklist, which must be completed by each examining committee member following the examination. The Chairperson of the Dissertation Examining Committee shall submit these reports to the Graduate Program Office.
If the candidate is nominated for a Faculty of Graduate Studies Thesis and Dissertation Prizes, it is the responsibility of the Chair of the PhD Dissertation Examining Committee to detail in a letter those aspects of the written thesis AND oral defence that led the committee to their judgement of excellence. This letter should be circulated to all committee members and submitted to the Graduate Program Office shortly after the examination.
PhD Oral Examination Requirement
The PhD Oral Examination requirement is met if the committee accepts the dissertation with no revisions.
The PhD Oral Examination requirement is met if the committee accepts the dissertation with specified revisions.
Specified revisions could range from typographical errors or changes of a minor editorial nature, to specified insertions or deletions that do not radically modify the development/argument of the dissertation. The committee must specify such changes with precision. It is the responsibility of the Supervisor to ensure that all such changes are made, and the Dean's Representative will confirm that this is the case.
All specified revisions must be completed within six months of the date of the PhD Oral Examination. These six months are considered to be outside of the time limitations on the degree program. Failure to complete these specified revisions within the six months will result in a failure on the dissertation. The revisions must be approved by the candidate's Supervisor and the Dean's Representative from the Dissertation Examining Committee.
A dissertation is referred for major revisions if any of the following conditions exist:
- the committee agrees that the dissertation requires substantive changes in order to be acceptable.
- there are two votes for failure.
- there is one vote for failure plus a minimum of one vote major revision.
- there are at least three votes for major revision.
In cases where there are no more than two votes for major revision or one vote for failure, then specified revisions are expected.
Procedure for Major Revisions
In the cases of major revision, one of the following procedures, agreed upon by the Dissertation Examining Committee before the PhD Oral Examination is adjourned, must be used to finalize the oral results:
- the committee will reconvene within twelve months to continue the oral examination.
- the revised dissertation will be circulated within twelve months to all members, who will inform the Chair and the Dean's representative whether they feel the stipulated requirements have been met.
Detailed reasons for referring pending major revisions must be supplied in writing by the Chair to the Dean, the Graduate Program Director and the candidate concerned, within two weeks from the PhD Oral Examination date.
All major revisions must be completed within twelve months of the date of the PhD Oral Examination. Major revisions require re–examination by the Dissertation Examining Committee or circulation of the revised dissertation to all Dissertation Examining Committee members for approval.
A dissertation is failed if there are a minimum of three votes failure. In the event of failure, detailed reasons must be supplied in writing by the Chair to the Dean, the Graduate Program Director and the candidate concerned, within two weeks from the PhD Oral Examination date.
After an adjournment and when the major revisions have been completed, the dissertation is failed if there are two or more votes for failure. A dissertation cannot be referred for major revisions more than once and no further adjournment is permitted. In the event of failure, detailed reasons must be supplied in writing by the Chair to the Dean, the Graduate Program Director and the candidate concerned, within two weeks from the PhD Oral Examination date.
Decisions of the Dissertation Examining Committee are communicated to the Faculty of Graduate Studies' Thesis Office, usually in the form of the Certificate Pages containing appropriate signatures, through the Dean's representative.