Doctoral Programs Faculty and Student Handbook Edition

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1 Doctoral Programs Faculty and Student Handbook Edition

2 Ingram School of Nursing PhD Program Manual Revised November

3 CONTENTS Mission of McGill University... 1 Mission of the Ingram School of Nursing... 1 Ingram School of Nursing Vision Statement PhD PROGRAM ORGANIZATION, REQUIREMENTS, AND TIMELINE ACADEMIC EXPECTATIONS ADDITIONAL PROGRAM EXPECTATIONS Funding Publications / Presentations at Scientific Meetings Seminars, Talks and Workshops Teaching and Research assistantships FLEXIBLE PROGRAM FOR DISTANT STUDENTS Course Work Research Work TIME LIMITATION Procedures for Readmission Interim Access to Libraries and Electronic Resources Strategies to Assist Students to Complete Degree Requirements on time...6 TABLE 1. ANTICIPATED PROGRAM TIMELINE TO COMPLETION (for full-time students) STUDENT RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES STUDENT RIGHTS STUDENT RESPONSIBILITIES Follow Rules and Regulations Maintain Accessibility and Communication Perform Academically Conduct Research in a Responsible Manner RESPONSIBILITIES OF FACULTY AND COMMITTEES THE SUPERVISOR Follow Rules and Regulations Maintain Accessibility and Communication Provide and Convey Research Information Provide an Appropriate Research Environment Supervision of Distant Students Manage Student-Supervisor Conflict Relationship with the Thesis Committee THE THESIS ADVISORY COMMITTEE Composition of the Committee Responsibilities of the Committee THE PHD ADVISORY COMMITTEE Composition of the Committee Responsibilities of the Committee Responsibilities of the Student Representative(s) PHD PROGRAM DIRECTOR AND ASSISTANT DIRECTOR Follow Rules and Regulations Ensure the Supervision of Students Provide Information and Set Appropriate Program Requirements DIRECTOR OF THE INGRAM SCHOOL OF NURSING Follow Rules and Regulations Assign Supervisory Duties...17 i

4 3.5.3 Provide an Appropriate Academic Environment STUDENT AFFAIRS COORDINATOR GRADUATE PROGRAM Follow Rules and Regulations Provide Information and Observe Appropriate Administrative Procedures GRADUATE AND POSTDOCTORAL STUDIES OFFICE (GPSO) Role and Responsibilities COURSE REQUIREMENTS REQUIRED PHD COURSES (10 CREDITS): ELECTIVE COURSES (MINIMUM 9 CREDITS) Other Elective Courses (methodology or substantive) PRE-REQUISITES FOR THE PHD PROGRAM COMPULSORY COURSES: TABLE 2. SAMPLE COURSE SCHEDULE, PHD IN NURSING PROGRAM (full time students) EVALUATION OF STUDENT PROGRESS IN THE PhD PROGRAM POLICY Failure policy Responsibilities of the Admission, Standings and Promotions Committee - PhD Program PROCEDURE Objectives Report Progress Reports Interim Progress Report Failure Policy COMPREHENSIVE EXAMINATION POLICY THESIS PROPOSAL Overview Nature of the Proposal COMPREHENSIVE EXAMINATION Objectives Comprehensive Examination Committee Mandate of the Comprehensive Examination Committee The Role of the Thesis Committee Failure on the Examination PROCEDURES Submission of Thesis Proposal Examination of the Written Component (Proposal) Retake of the Written Examination Failure in the Retake of the Written Examination Examination of the Oral Component Retake of the Oral Examination Failure in the Retake of the Oral Examination PREPARATION FOR THE COMPREHENSIVE EXAM Tips for Preparing for the PhD Oral Comprehensive Exam Sample Comprehensive Exam Questions : Qualitative Study Sample Comprehensive Exam Questions : Quantitative Study...36 TABLE 3: TIMELINE AND PROCEDURES: PHD COMPREHENSIVE EXAMINATION OF THESIS PROPOSAL DOCTORAL EXAMINATION POLICY PHD THESIS Overview Nature of the Thesis THESIS SUBMISSION DEADLINES, REGISTRATION AND GRADUATION Thesis Submission Deadlines APPOINTMENT OF THESIS EXAMINERS ii

5 7.5 DOCTORAL EXAMINATION Objectives Oral Examination Committee Mandate of the Oral Examination Committee Role of the Thesis Committee The Judgment Unfavorable Judgments PROCEDURES Choosing and Securing the External Examiner Talking Points for the Supervisor when Contacting the Potential External Examiner Initial Submission of e-thesis Appointment of Doctoral Oral Defence Committee Scheduling the Oral Examination Pre-defence meeting Format of the Oral Examination Evaluation Procedures Outcomes of the Oral Defence: Submission of final E-thesis...48 TABLE 4: TIMELINE AND PROCEDURES: DISSERTATION DEPOSIT AND EXAMINATION CONFLICT PREVENTION AND RESOLUTION CONFLICT RESOLUTION POLICY AND DEPARTMENTAL DISPUTE RESOLUTION PROCEDURE Informal Conflict Resolution Formal Grievances, Appeals, and Disciplinary Procedures POLICY ON CHANGE OF SUPERVISION Changing Supervisor once a Working Relationship has been established Student s Responsibilities when changing Supervisor Supervisor s Responsibilities Responsibilities of the School...55 APPENDIX 1. CONFIRMATION OF THESIS COMMITTEE FORM APPENDIX 2: COURSE REQUIREMENT FORM APPENDIX 3. PHD THESIS PROPOSAL APPROVAL FORM APPENDIX 4. COMPREHENSIVE EXAMINATION FORM A WRITTEN COMPONENT REPORT FOR EXAMINER 60 APPENDIX 5. COMPREHENSIVE EXAMINATION FORM A WRITTEN COMPONENT REPORT FOR EXAMINER 64 APPENDIX 6. COMPREHENSIVE EXAMINATION FORM B ORAL COMPONENT APPENDIX 7. COMPREHENSIVE EXAMINATION LETTER APPENDIX 8. PHD FINAL THESIS APPROVAL FORM APPENDIX 9. EXAMINER REPORT DOCTORAL THESIS APPENDIX 10. NOTICE TO FACULTY iii

6 Ingram School of Nursing, PhD Program Manual This manual is a supplement to the ISON Student and Faculty handbook, available online at: Mission of McGill University The mission of McGill University is the advancement of learning and the creation and dissemination of knowledge, by offering the best possible education, by carrying out research and scholarly activities judged to be excellent by the highest international standards, and by providing service to society. Mission of the Ingram School of Nursing The mission of the Ingram School of Nursing is to educate current and future nurses; advance the art and science of nursing; and optimize health and health equity globally through academic excellence, strengths-based nursing, and innovation (adopted December 11, 2015). Ingram School of Nursing Vision Statement Creating conditions for health and healing through knowledgeable, compassionate, strengthsbased nursing (adopted December 11, 2015) PhD PROGRAM ORGANIZATION, REQUIREMENTS, AND TIMELINE The Ph.D. program in Nursing, established in 1994 as a joint program with the Université de Montréal, is designed to prepare nurses to contribute to the development of knowledge in the discipline through their careers in research and academia. While students may elect to complete their program at McGill, the partnership with the Faculty of Nursing at the Université de Montréal enables students enrolled in the McGill program to have access to courses and resources at both universities. During their doctoral studies, an individualized program of study is developed in collaboration with the faculty supervisor and thesis committee that takes into account the students previous experiences as well as his/her personal goals and objectives. A flexible format of the program may also be offered for distant students, when possible (see 1.3). Candidates in the PhD program are required to complete coursework, a research proposal, a comprehensive examination, a research-based dissertation and finally the dissertation defense. Students are also expected to apply for funding, to prepare manuscripts for publication and present their work at conferences or other academic forums during their studies. The PhD program is designed to be completed (ideally) in 4 years of full-time study after a master s program (see Table 1: Time to Completion). Given that many departments at McGill combine their master s and PhD programs, students with a 2-year master s degree are 1

7 considered to be in the second year of the PhD program (PhD 2) upon entry to the PhD program in Nursing. A half-time study option is available for the coursework component of the program, whereby the student s coursework may be taken over a longer period. The half-time program may thus require up to 6 years to complete. Graduate and Post-Graduate Studies Office requires that both full-time and half-time doctoral candidates complete their program requirements by the end of PhD 7 (i.e., after your 6 th year in the program). Only under exceptional circumstances may departments request that individual students be granted an extension (see 1.4: Time limitation). All PhD students are required to complete a 2-year residency (i.e., be registered full-time for 2 years, or 6 consecutive semesters including summer term). Students who complete their coursework half-time students must then register full-time for 2 years during the research component of their program. Students must be registered on a full-time basis for one more year after completion of the 2-year residency. Students can then register for Additional sessions until completion of the program (i.e., after Year 4 of the program, for full-time students entering into PhD Year 2). It is expected that, at this stage, all the coursework and comprehensive examinations will have been completed and the student will be engaged in thesis preparation. Additional session fees are considerably lower than full-time residency fees (For graduate student fee schedules, see: Students may request to stop the clock in the event that they require a maternity leave, parental leave or sick leave. Leaves must be requested in writing to the PhD Program Director on a term-by term-basis and may be granted for up to 52 weeks (see: Guidelines for the academic accommodation of pregnant students and students caring for dependents: For more detailed information on program requirements, see the University Rules and Regulations Graduate Regulation & Resources at ACADEMIC EXPECTATIONS Strong performance (i.e., A or A-) is expected in all coursework. Students receiving B grades should discuss their performance with their course professors and/or the PhD Director so that appropriate support for academic success can be mobilized. University policy stipulates that graduate students must receive a minimum passing grade of B- (65%) for all program courses. Students who receive less than 65% in two courses will be required to withdraw from the program. Students failing a course may write a supplemental examination if the department s policy permits. However, failure on a supplemental exam constitutes two failures and would require the student to withdraw from the program. Other conditions in which a doctoral student may be asked to withdraw from their program include: 2

8 obtains 2 unsatisfactory Graduate Student Research Progress Tracking Reports and the ISON PhD Student Standing and Promotions Committee recommends that he or she be withdrawn; or fails 1 course, obtains 1 unsatisfactory Graduate Student Research Progress Tracking Report and the ISON PhD Student Standing and Promotions Committee recommends that he or she be withdrawn. 1.2 ADDITIONAL PROGRAM EXPECTATIONS Funding All students are expected to apply for internal and external fellowship/awards during their doctoral program. External sources of student funding include peer-reviewed doctoral student awards from granting agencies such as the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), Fonds de Recherche en Santé du Québec (FRQ-S), and RRISIQ (Quebec Nursing Intervention Research Group). A complete list of McGill internal award opportunities (e.g., Graduate Studies Fellowships) is published in the Graduate Fellowships and Awards Calendar ( The Graduate Student Affairs Coordinator also maintains an updated list of external funding opportunities and s information about funding opportunities to graduate students as received from GPS. McGill SKILLSETS offers free workshops/webinars to help graduate students prepare funding applications ( Other useful websites for funding information: Graduate student funding opportunities: Graduate Student and Postdoctoral Funding Opportunities: Ingram School of Nursing: McGill Student Aid: Université de Montréal Repertoire des bourses d étude: Publications / Presentations at Scientific Meetings Doctoral students are expected to engage in scholarly activities such as publishing papers in peer-reviewed journals and presenting at scientific conferences. As publications are critical to future success, full-time students are expected to submit manuscripts for publication by the second year of the program (e.g., theoretical papers from courses; systematic literature reviews). Students should aim to publish (as author or co-author) a minimum of 2 papers in peer-reviewed journals during their doctoral program, in addition to the manuscripts emanating from their dissertation. 3

9 1.2.3 Seminars, Talks and Workshops Attendance at doctoral student seminars, research colloquia and other research-related workshops are valuable experiences and students are strongly encouraged to take advantage of such events. ISON events include the Nursing Development Forums (for doctoral students and faculty) as well as the Research-in-Progress seminars. RRISIQ holds monthly seminars or workshops (for schedule of past and future RRISIQ events, see: Regular research presentations and events may also be available through the research institutes at McGill s affiliated hospitals, and through other McGill Faculty of Medicine departments or affiliated institutes. McGill s SKILLSETS develops and promotes interdisciplinary professional development offerings to all Graduate Students and Post-Doctoral Fellows (for SKILLSETS calendar of events, see: Teaching and Research assistantships Teaching Assistant (TAs) positions not only help fund students studies but also provide valuable experience teaching undergraduate and graduate students. Students apply for TA-ships through the McGill Career Planning Services (CaPS) website: A number of guides and resources for TAs are available at the Graduate Student Resources website at: Research Assistant (RAs) positions provide important opportunities to develop research skills. Depending on the degree and nature of the student s involvement in the research project, these positions may also lead to presentations and publications. In addition, PhD students may have the opportunity to develop their research and teaching skills by cosupervising master s students in the 630/631/632 project courses. 1.3 FLEXIBLE PROGRAM FOR DISTANT STUDENTS Full-time studies and close contact with the thesis supervisor(s) is critical to timely completion of the PhD program. However, a more flexible format of the PhD program was developed in 2003 to assist potential students who are unable to relocate to Montreal full-time for the duration of the PhD program. This option will be determined on a case-by-case basis, depending on the supervisor s preference, as well as the availability of appropriate courses and access to mentorship support at the student s home institution (e.g., close proximity to a co-supervisor or thesis committee member) Course Work Course work for distant students may be taken on a part-time basis over 2 years. The program s three compulsory nursing courses (NUR2 702, 706, and 730) must be taken at the Ingram School of Nursing. Credits for elective courses (e.g., methodology and substantive courses related to the student s dissertation topic) may be transferred from another university subject to approval of the Thesis committee and McGill Graduate and Post-Graduate Studies Office (GPSO), for a maximum of 1/3 of the total credits for their program. Additional elective courses may be required depending on the student s background and career goals Research Work Full-time study is required during the research phase of the program. The dissertation study may be conducted outside of Montreal, however the distant student is expected to work 4

10 closely with the supervisor throughout the study development, implementation and analysis of findings. Students may be co-supervised by a faculty member at another university, subject to approval of the McGill supervisor. The student is expected to spend an intensive period of time at McGill, including a minimum of 4 weeks each year of the research phase, to benefit from the supervisor s expertise and program of research. At other times, there should be an average of weekly contact with the supervisor, via telephone or other communication technologies. Virtual meetings via teleconference, videoconference, or web conference with the student s thesis supervisor and/or thesis committee are also possible. The comprehensive and final dissertation examinations must be held at the Ingram School of Nursing. 1.4 TIME LIMITATION By registering annually, all doctoral candidates may maintain their connection with the University until the end of PhD 7 (i.e., after 6 years in the program, as students enter into PhD 2). After PhD 7, registration at McGill is terminated and the student loses access to McGill facilities and support. Students must thus make every effort to complete research work requiring access to research facilities at McGill before reaching time limitation. Subsequently, any authorization to enter facilities that do not have public access must be organized by the supervisor. Students can apply for readmission by completing and submitting the Request for Readmission web form only when they are ready to submit their thesis and will be charged fees for the term of readmission and any future terms of registration up to and including their term of graduation (see Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies Calendar available at Procedures for Readmission For the procedures for readmission and forms please consult Interim Access to Libraries and Electronic Resources A graduate student who is not registered because of time limitation, but requires access to library or VPN resources to complete the thesis, has the following options: Use online resources in person on computers located in the libraries Access online library resources from home through VPN (provided by ICS). Access will normally continue for six months after the last registered term. A two (2) week notice of termination will be sent. For additional information on expiry of IT services, please consult TyBXR15N&searchstring=vpn&#tab:homeTab:crumb:8:artId:1212:src:article or contact them at ). The supervisor can submit a request to ICS for an individual to maintain VPN for additional time. Obtain library borrowing privileges by bringing a letter of authorization to the library (for details contact the Loans Desk supervisor). For McGill s Time Limitation Policy, see: 5

11 1.4.3 Strategies to Assist Students to Complete Degree Requirements on time Early in their program, students should be advised of the stages through which they must pass for timely completion of the program, the approximate amount of time each stage should take, the criteria for its successful completion, and any deadlines relating to these stages (See the Supervision Graduate and Postdoctoral Support webpage Ensure compliance with the mandatory progress tracking policy and use these meetings and reports as an additional tool to identify and assist students who are not meeting milestones (See Policy on Graduate Student Research Progress Tracking at Advise students and supervisors about all aspects of the leave policy, including parental leave. Encourage students experiencing problems (health, personal or family issues) to get help (e.g., through student services) or if progress is compromised, to request a formal leave of absence or non-resident status (See Health and Parental/Familial Leave of Absence Policy at 6

12 TABLE 1. ANTICIPATED PROGRAM TIMELINE TO COMPLETION (for full-time students) PhD Term Courses Thesis Proposal Funding Scholarly Activities Year 2 Fall NUR2 730 NUR2 702 (0-1 Elective courses) Proposal discussions (research question, population, design) Apply for Fellowship funding - Establish goals for funding, publications, presentations - Participation in seminars/workshops 2 Winter NUR2 706 (1-2 Elective courses) - Establish thesis committee - Begin literature review 2 Summer (1 Elective) Continue developing proposal 3 Fall (1-3 Elective Continue developing courses) proposal OR Comprehensive Finalize/submit Exam (if required proposal courses completed in Winter Year 2) 3 Winter NUR2 701 Comprehensive Exam (if required courses completed in Summer Year 2) Continue developing proposal OR Finalize/submit proposal Apply for Fellowship funding Apply for Fellowship and/or Project funding Apply for Fellowship and/or Project funding - Participation in seminars/workshops - Seminars/workshops - Preparation/submission of manuscripts and conference abstracts - Seminars/workshops - Manuscripts/conference presentations - Seminars/workshops 3 Summer NUR2 701 Comprehensive Exam (if required courses completed in Fall Year 3) Finalize/submit proposal OR Ethics review/data collection 4 Fall Ethics review/data Collection 4 Winter Data collection and/or Analysis 4 Summer Data collection and/or Analysis 5 Fall Analysis or Final write up 5 Winter PhD Defense (if comps completed by Winter Term 3) 5 Summer PhD Defense (if comps completed by Summer Term 3) Final write up OR Submit dissertation Submit dissertation Manuscripts/conference presentations - Seminars/workshops Manuscripts/conference presentations - Seminars/workshops Manuscripts/conference presentations - Seminars/workshops - Manuscripts/conference presentations - Seminars/workshops -Manuscripts/conference presentations - Seminars/workshops - Dissemination of dissertation findings - Dissemination of dissertation finding 7

13 2. STUDENT RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES For more details on Student Rights and Responsibilities, see: STUDENT RIGHTS To be treated with respect by their supervisor, members of the School and faculty, other students and staff of the university. To receive an orientation session. To conduct their graduate work free from harassment by any member of the McGill community. To have regular access (e.g., biweekly or monthly basis depending on the student s progress) to their supervisor and, when applicable, members of their thesis committee so that they are able to complete their program requirements in a timely fashion. To communicate openly with the supervisor in the event that the working relationship or other aspects of the graduate program need to be discussed or renegotiated. To discuss problems with the supervisor(s) without fear of retribution. To change supervisors if the student is experiencing an unconstructive working relationship with the supervisor or decides to pursue another area of study. 2.2 STUDENT RESPONSIBILITIES Follow Rules and Regulations Conform to University and program requirements, procedures and deadlines. Adhere to all deadlines and policies regarding registration, withdrawal, and thesis submission. Maintain registration throughout the duration of the program and ensure that visas, where required, are kept up to date. Participate in the University s mandatory progress tracking procedures (see Section 5) Maintain Accessibility and Communication To treat their supervisor, members of the School and faculty, other students and staff of the university with respect. To recognize the rights of the supervisor. Keep in regular touch with their supervisor and program administrators. Engage in open communication and feedback with their supervisor on all issues, including supervisory practices. The agenda for the meeting and notes from the discussion should be written up by the student and a copy provided to the supervisor for corroboration. Meet with their supervisor when requested and report regularly on progress and results (the frequency of these reports should be determined in consultation with the supervisor). Inform the supervisor of any significant changes that may affect the progress of their research. 8

14 Provide their supervisor and program administrators with their permanent and current contact information and advise the supervisor of any absences. Be available to meet with their supervisor and their thesis committee when requested, and report fully and regularly on thesis progress and results. Inform the Director of the PhD program or Director of the School, in a timely fashion, of any serious difficulties that arise in supervision. These might include major professional academic disagreements, interpersonal conflicts, or potential conflict of interest situations. Students must follow the University s and the School s conflict resolution procedures (see Section 8). Access and read University correspondence regularly Perform Academically Devote the time and energy needed to research and write a thesis and to gain the background knowledge and skills needed to pursue graduate work successfully. Prepare a research plan and timetable in consultation with their supervisor as a basis for the program of study, including data collection (use Table 1 as a guide). Apply to all appropriate sources of funding. Collaborate with their supervisor to select the members of their thesis committee. Give serious consideration and timely response to comments and advice from their supervisor and/or thesis committee members. Work within deadlines. Disseminate their work through publications and presentations. Student s involvement in scholarly work is highly desirable but should not take priority over timely completion of the proposal and research study. The supervisor should be informed and approve of the activities the student is undertaking Conduct Research in a Responsible Manner Uphold the academic integrity of the University. Understand what constitutes plagiarism, misconduct and cheating (see Code of Student Conduct and Disciplinary Procedures, in the Handbook of Student Rights and Responsibilities Respect the work and equipment of others, and show tolerance and respect for others sharing the same facilities. Comply with all ethical policies and procedures governing human or animal research (in the Handbook of Student Rights and Responsibilities). Maintain good records of each stage of the research; ensure that they are appropriately stored. Discuss potential large costs or expenses associated with the research prior to purchase. Discuss with their supervisor, very early on, any expectations concerning authorship of publications, and issues surrounding ownership of intellectual property (see Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies Calendar which can be found under 9

15 Prior to submission of manuscripts for publication co-authored by their supervisor, obtain his/her approval and respect his/her request to review any original data associated with the submission. 10

16 3. RESPONSIBILITIES OF FACULTY AND COMMITTEES 3.1 THE SUPERVISOR PhD prepared faculty of the Ingram School of Nursing who are tenured or in tenure-track positions may accept to supervise doctoral students. The professor must have competence in the research area of the student and prior experience on a doctoral thesis committee before assuming the role of primary supervisor. Non-tenure track faculty or professors associated with the School or the University may co-supervise a PhD student with a faculty member who has tenure or tenure-track status. Emeritus Professors and Adjunct Professors may also serve as co-supervisors. Certain Adjunct Professors appointed in the School may be eligible to supervise graduate students with the approval of the unit and Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. Professors who have not yet engaged in graduate supervision at McGill are required to participate in a supervisory orientation approved by GPS. Professors who have not supervised for 5 or more years may also be required to attend a supervisory orientation, upon discussion with the PhD Program Director Follow Rules and Regulations Conform to University and program requirements and procedures ( on). Participate in the University s mandatory progress tracking procedures to ensure that supervision and research objectives as well as a realistic timetable for meeting objectives are clear, in writing, and understood by both student and supervisor ( _progress_tracking). Written objectives with timelines and yearly evaluations are to be made in collaboration with the thesis committee and the student and serves to keep the student on track. The best interests of the student should be of primary concern when planning the program of study Maintain Accessibility and Communication Be available for regular consultation with the student and the student s thesis advisory committee. Facilitate the formation of the thesis advisory committee early in the research process (see Table 1) and assist the student to establish a working relationship with the committee. State expectations regarding response to s etc. These should be determined at the start of the relationship. In general students should expect a response from the supervisor acknowledging their within 3 days unless there are extenuating circumstances. As per university regulations, communication is done solely through McGill . Set a time for regular discussions. Sessions should be organized by the supervisor and student on a biweekly or monthly basis depending on the student s progress. The agenda for the meeting and notes from the discussion should be written up by the student and a copy provided to the supervisor for corroboration. 11

17 Maintain open communication with the student on all issues, including supervisory practices. Examine thoroughly all written material relevant to the thesis/research project submitted by the student and provide constructive suggestions, orally and/or in writing, for improving the work, when necessary. When applicable, provide written or oral comments to students within 2-3 weeks of receipt of the submitted material (on occasion, a longer response time may be needed because of the nature and length of the document submitted or because of other commitments of the supervisor). Students and supervisors should outline together an appropriate timetable for the provision of feedback. Students and supervisors should bear in mind that relying exclusively on oral comments or summaries of discussions can be problematic in the event of a conflict. Inform the student of any prolonged absences (i.e., vacation, conferences), including sabbatical leaves, and make satisfactory alternative supervisory arrangements as required. Acknowledge the student s personal difficulties and refer him/her to the appropriate University student services for support Provide and Convey Research Information Guide the student in the selection and planning of an appropriate research topic. Ensure that the student has information on relevant theories and the methodological and technical skills necessary for their research. Ensure that the student has access to intellectual resources and research opportunities. Provide guidance, instruction, and encouragement regarding research activities. Encourage the student to participate in seminars and colloquia. Encourage the student to disseminate their research results through publications and conference presentations. The student s involvement in scholarly work is highly desirable but should not take priority over timely completion of the proposal and research study. The supervisor should be informed and approve of the activities the student is undertaking. Contribute to the student s professional development and funding possibilities through letters of reference and general advice. Inform the student clearly and in a timely manner when academic performance is not meeting expectations. Discuss with the student very early on, any expectations concerning authorship of publications, and issues surrounding ownership of intellectual property and disclosure and review the relevant policies with the student (in Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies Calendar available at The data collected or produced by a graduate student at McGill belongs to the University, and the supervisor is the person to whom the University assigns the principal responsibility for how it is used Provide an Appropriate Research Environment Advise the student on the standards for quality and style to which theses and papers for publication must conform. Ensure that the student is informed of the best practices for the responsible conduct of research, including respect for academic integrity. 12

18 Ensure the student is informed on the University s standards for the ethical conduct of research with human subjects. Avoid personal relationships that may constitute a conflict of interest. If engaged in a personal relationship with a student, the supervisor must resign as supervisor. Ensure to the best of their ability appropriate funding to cover the operating costs incurred by the student during thesis research Supervision of Distant Students Students need to be informed when applying to the program that they may be expected to be on site for the following: Required courses that are not given online Yearly Progress Report meeting with the Supervisor and Thesis Committee Critical stages in the development of their research: Proposal development (i.e., setting up the argument for the study, defining the methods). Preparation for the Comprehensive Examination (defense of proposal). Key point in the data analysis. Preparation for the PhD Defense. It is the responsibility of the distant student to organize long-distance meetings with their supervisor/committee Manage Student-Supervisor Conflict Discuss issues/concerns with students in a timely manner and document the proceedings. Inform program administrators (i.e., PhD program Director or Assistant Director; Director of the School), in a timely fashion, of any serious difficulties which may arise in supervision. These might include major professional academic disagreements, interpersonal conflicts, or potential conflict of interest situations. If a change of supervisor is warranted, the School is responsible for assisting the student to find a new supervisor and ensuring a smooth transition for the student Relationship with the Thesis Committee The supervisor initiates the formation of the Thesis committee in collaboration with the student, and should be set up by the end of the first year of the student s program. At the very least, begin with one committee member if it is unclear what direction the proposal may take and then invite additional members once the focus of the study becomes clear. The committee should be involved in helping develop the proposal, rather than being asked to endorse a finished or near finished product. The committee should be convened at key points in the development of the research project. At the very least, the committee should meet yearly to establish objectives and evaluate the student s progress. Critical consultation time points include: o Initial stage to discuss ideas and set direction and goals regarding the proposal o Once the research question has been formulated and a tentative methods plan is being developed o After a first draft of the proposal has been submitted 13

19 o When seeking committee approval to go to proposal defense/ examination o During the data collection stage if major difficulties are encountered (i.e., problems with recruitment or feasibility issues) o Developing the plan for analysis o After the first draft of the results section and when planning the discussion o After a first draft of the dissertation o After the final draft of the dissertation and seeking committee approval to deposit the thesis. Students should feel that a collaborative relationship exists with members of the committee. The supervisor should have an understanding with committee members for coverage during the absence of the supervisor (i.e., vacation, sabbatical). 3.2 THE THESIS ADVISORY COMMITTEE Composition of the Committee A thesis advisory committee should include the supervisor(s), members with complementary substantive expertise in the student s topic, and a statistician/methodologist. A minimum of 3 members is required. The suggested maximum for feasibility is 5. At least half of the members should be McGill faculty. In the case of students who will be conducting their studies outside of Quebec, it is advisable to include a committee member who can be an onsite resource to the student during the data collection phase of the study. The composition of the committee must be approved by the student, the supervisor and the Director of the PhD Program. A Confirmation of Thesis Committee Formation form must be completed and submitted by the student to the Graduate Student Affairs Coordinator once the committee is formed (see Appendix 1). In the event that a committee member goes on sabbatical, a replacement will be required if the committee membership falls below 3 or if the integrity of the supervision is compromised (i.e., member with key methodological expertise is absent) Responsibilities of the Committee Provide guidance to the student throughout their program including the program of study (number and selection of complementary courses), thesis proposal examination (comprehensive exam) and defense of the dissertation. Make an academic contribution to the student s research by providing information and ideas relevant to the development and completion of the thesis and to assess the student s progress. Ensure accessibility to the student for consultation. Provide appropriate feedback and constructive criticism regarding progress and work in a timely manner, generally within a 2-3 week period. Participate in the annual progress review of the student which includes evaluating the student s progress to date and setting goals for the coming year (See Section 5 Policy Progress Reporting). Treat the student with fairness and respect. 14

20 3.3 THE PHD ADVISORY COMMITTEE Composition of the Committee The PhD Advisory committee includes the Director of the PhD program who chairs the meetings, the Assistant Director of the PhD program, the Director of the School, chair of the sub-committees (i.e., Admissions and Student Standing committee), professors who either teach in the PhD program or who supervise doctoral students, student representatives and the Graduate Student Affairs Coordinator. The Director or the Assistant Director of the PhD Program chairs the meetings that are held at least once per semester, ensures that minutes of the meetings are distributed to committee members and that decisions are reported at the Faculty Council and Director s Council Responsibilities of the Committee Meet on a regular basis (once per semester). Conform to University and Program requirements and procedures. Ensure that there are departmental policies and procedures in writing such that all students who register in the PhD program receive consistent and clear information and guidance with regards to fulfilling all program requirements. Make recommendations about changes to policies and procedures related to the academic integrity of the program. Submit major changes to the policy and procedures to the Faculty of the School for formal approval. Incorporate policy changes into the PhD Policy and Procedure manual. Review recommendations from the PhD sub-committees. Monitor any major discrepancies in procedures or advice given to the student by supervisors or thesis advisory committees. Maintain open communication with the student representative on the committee Responsibilities of the Student Representative(s) Attend the Advisory committee meetings. Conform to University and Program requirements and procedures. Participate in discussions about changes to policies and procedures related to the academic integrity of the program. Participate in the review of recommendations from the PhD sub-committees. Put forward student issues related to program content and requirements, policies, procedures. Maintain open communication with the PhD student body regarding the work of the PhD Advisory committee. 15

21 3.4 PHD PROGRAM DIRECTOR AND ASSISTANT DIRECTOR The Director and the Assistant Director of the program play a key role in the life of the graduate student. They are responsible for providing appropriate guidance on the progress of the research and the standards expected for successful completion of a degree. The Director of the School should ensure that procedures are in place to address serious disagreements that may arise between a student and a supervisor, or between a supervisor and thesis committee members. Such procedures should involve a neutral mediator, such as the PhD Program Director or Assistant Director, who will ensure that all sides of a dispute are heard before any decision is made. If the issue cannot be resolved at the unit level, then the Associate Dean from Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies should be contacted Follow Rules and Regulations Provide an orientation session for new students. The agenda of these sessions should include a minimum of the following: an overview of program policies and requirements; expected performance and timelines for completion of degree requirements; the University s policies pertaining to ethics, authorship, intellectual property, responsible conduct of research, academic integrity, harassment, and discrimination; procedures for conflict resolution; information on financial support. Ensure that the University s mandatory progress tracking procedure is in place such that supervision and research objectives as well as a realistic timetable for meeting objectives are clear, in writing and understood by both student and supervisor (see Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies Calendar available at Address cases of poor academic standing in collaboration with the PhD Student Standings and Promotions Committee of the School. Be knowledgeable about program requirements, the composition of committees, the procedures for comprehensive examinations and oral defenses, and other policies and procedures related to fulfilling all program requirements Ensure the Supervision of Students Ensure that there are procedures in place such that all students who register in the program have a supervisor. Procedures for choosing a supervisor must be consistent and should be made clear to all students. Establish in writing clear procedures for dealing with changes of supervision and ensure that the resulting document is made available to students. If a change in supervision is warranted, assist the student in finding a new supervisor. Serve as an initial mediator should problems between the student and supervisor arise Provide Information and Set Appropriate Program Requirements Ensure that the guidelines, criteria and procedures for thesis advisory committees, progress tracking, degree requirements, and comprehensive examinations are explicit and consistently applied in the program. Establish an effective communication system with graduate students (i.e., lists). Organize regular information meetings with the students in the PhD program (generally once per semester). 16

22 Maintain a dossier on each student s progress. Discuss program issues and the overall progress of graduate students with the Director of the School as necessary. Provide general advice concerning students studies and future career advancement. Provide easy to access information to potential students about the program, funding opportunities, program completion rates, information on faculty members and their areas of research expertise. 3.5 DIRECTOR OF THE INGRAM SCHOOL OF NURSING The Director is responsible for ensuring that the School creates the conditions that are conducive to a student s research and intellectual growth Follow Rules and Regulations Ensure that an orientation session is provided to all new students. Ensure that University s mandatory progress tracking procedure is in place such that academic objectives are clear, in writing and understood by all parties concerned. To be knowledgeable about policies and procedures related to fulfilling the program requirements Assign Supervisory Duties Ensure that the responsibilities of the Director and the Assistant Director of the PhD program are assumed by members of the academic staff of the department. Ensure that professors who accept supervisory duties are qualified to do so. Ensure that the supervisors have competence in their respective students proposed areas of research. Ensure that the maximum number of students under the direction of a single supervisor is consistent with the ability of that supervisor to provide quality supervision. Establish criteria for excellence in supervision and graduate teaching Provide an Appropriate Academic Environment Periodically review the rationale for all program requirements. Ensure that procedures are in place to address serious disagreements that may arise between a student and a supervisor/professor or between a supervisor and committee members Approve funding. Provide appropriate work space for graduate students. 3.6 STUDENT AFFAIRS COORDINATOR GRADUATE PROGRAM Follow Rules and Regulations Participate in the orientation session for new students. Participate in the University s mandatory progress tracking procedures to ensure that supervision and research objectives as well as a realistic timetable for meeting 17

23 objectives are clear, in writing and understood by both student and supervisor (see Policy on Graduate Student Research Progress Tracking under Graduate Policies and Regulations at To be knowledgeable about the administrative aspects of the program, the composition of committees, the procedures for comprehensive examinations and oral defenses, and other policies and procedures related to fulfilling all program requirements Provide Information and Observe Appropriate Administrative Procedures Ensure that all documentation pertaining to the students in the program (including transcripts, funding information, progress reports, etc.) are maintained in a student file by the department. Create and maintain an admission file for all new applicants. Provide information to students and academic staff on departmental and University policies. Gather relevant information and statistics about the PhD Program. Prepare Program reports. Communicate with other administrative units within the University (e.g., GPSO, the Registrar, Student Aid, etc.). Monitor important deadlines regarding admissions, registration, thesis defense, progress reporting. Coordinate the comprehensive examination and thesis defense. Assist international students, mature students, or students with disabilities regarding their special academic needs and concerns. 3.7 GRADUATE AND POSTDOCTORAL STUDIES OFFICE (GPSO) Role and Responsibilities The GPSO administers all programs leading to graduate diplomas, certificates, and higher degrees and has responsibilities with regard to ensuring quality research programs, research environments and supervision. Among these are the responsibility to: Provide policies and information promoting an equitable environment free of harassment and discrimination. Provide policies and information on academic integrity, the responsible conduct of research, the ethical conduct of research on human and animal subjects. Provide information on all rules, regulations, guidelines, program requirements, and policies pertinent to graduate studies (i.e., time limitation policy, granting of LOA). Review all PhD applicants and issue final decision to admit to departments and programs. Ensure the integrity of graduate records of all graduate students. Recommend to Senate those who may receive degrees, diplomas, and certificates. Provide information on funding opportunities for graduate students. Specify allocation criteria for distributing fellowship and bursary support and awards. 18

24 Provide information, workshops, and mentoring models for new supervisors, procedures for monitoring the quality of graduate student supervision and for providing constructive feedback to supervisors. Establish criteria of excellence in supervision and graduate teaching. Administer conflict resolution procedures between students and their supervisors/departments through the office of the Associate Dean of Graduate Studies. Monitor and report to the community on graduate completion rates and graduate funding levels. 19

25 4. COURSE REQUIREMENTS CORE PROGRAM: For students who have completed a 2-yr master s program, a minimum of 18 credits of coursework (i.e., 6 x 3-credit courses) plus 1 credit for the Comprehensive Exam (for a total of 19 credits) is required for the PhD in Nursing program. This includes 3 compulsory PhD Nursing courses (9 credits), as well as a minimum of 3 additional elective courses (9 credits) at the 600- or 700-level, related to the student s research interests. However most doctoral students take at least 2 courses beyond the minimum requirements, depending on their background. Full-time students are expected to complete their required coursework within 4 semesters (including summer semester) following entry into the PhD program (or 8 semesters if studying half-time). The minimum required coursework must be completed prior to the comprehensive exam. Additional elective courses may be taken at any point in the student s doctoral program. To ensure that all courses for the PhD program can be scheduled within the required time frame, students should plan their program of study in consultation with their supervisors and/or the PhD program Director/Assistant Director, once they are admitted into the program (see Appendix 2: course requirement form) REQUIRED PHD COURSES (10 credits): The following courses are COMPULSORY for the PhD program in Nursing (see 4.3 below for prerequisites for the PhD Program compulsory courses). NUR Quantitative Research (3 credits, Fall term) The logic and procedures of quantitative research designs are examined with particular emphasis on their appropriateness for addressing nursing and health problems. Issues specific to the design of nursing and health care studies are explored. NUR Theory Development in Nursing (3 credits, Fall term) * This course surveys the history of nursing theory development with special emphasis placed on the approaches to theory development and the factors affecting these approaches. Issues examined include the level of theory and where theory derives from the perspective of a practice discipline. Future directions for theory development in nursing are also explored. *An equivalent course (in French) may be taken instead at the Faculty of Nursing, Université de Montréal (with instructor s permission): SOI Philosophie des sciences infirmières (3 credits, Fall term) Séminaire visant une réflexion critique sur les fondements ontologiques et épistémologiques des sciences infirmières menant au développement des savoirs de la discipline. NUR Qualitative Nursing Research (3 credits, Winter term) Advanced examination of the utilization of qualitative research in nursing. NUR Comprehensive Examination All students must register for NUR2 701 following completion of their minimum required coursework, in order to do their comprehensive exam. Ideally, students register for the comprehensive examination within 2 semesters following completion of required courses. 20

26 4.2. ELECTIVE COURSES (minimum 9 credits) At least one advanced statistics course (3 credits) is highly recommended for all doctoral students. Below is a list of options for advanced statistics taken by taken by previous ISON doctoral students (permission of the instructor may be required for courses in other departments or universities). This list is not exhaustive and transfer of credits for advanced statistics courses from other universities: EDPE Intermediate Statistics (3 credits, Fall term) Offered by: Educations & Counselling Psych (Faculty of Education) Analysis of variance, fixed, random and mixed effects, crossed and nested designs; regression models. Computer data processing using existing packages. EDPE Univariate/Multivariate Analysis (3 credits, Winter term) Offered by: Educational and Counselling Psych (Faculty of Education) General linear model as a unified data analytic system for estimation and hypothesis testing that subsumes regression, analysis of variance, and analysis of covariance for single dependent variables. Introduction to generalizations involving multiple dependent (criterion) variables. Applications oriented toward education, educational psychology and counselling psychology. Experience with data-analysis tools. EDPE Applied Multivariate Statistics (3 credits, Fall term) Offered by: Educational and Counselling Psych (Faculty of Education) Principal methods, models, and hypothesis-testing procedures for the prediction and analysis of patterns, structure, and relationships in multivariate date, e.g., discriminant, principal components, canonical correlation, profile analyses, measurement models, factor and path analysis, repeated measures. Applications oriented toward education and educational and counselling psychology. Experience with data-analysis tools. PSYC 650 Advanced Statistics 1 (3 credits, Fall term) Offered by: Psychology (Faculty of Science) A course in advanced statistics with specialization in experimental design. PSYC 651 Advanced Statistics 2 (3 credits, Winter term) Offered by: Psychology (Faculty of Science) A course in advanced statistics with specialization in multivariate techniques. ENP Méthodes statistiques d évaluation Offered by: École Nationale d'administration Publique (ENAP) L'objectif de ce cours est d'initier l'étudiant à diverses méthodes statistiques applicables à l'évaluation de programmes : les techniques d'échantillonnage, les tests d'hypothèses et l'analyse de régression simple. L'accent sera mis sur l'aspect pratique plutôt que théorique des méthodes statistiques étudiées tout en favorisant le développement de la capacité d'analyse et de l'esprit critique de l'étudiant. Ce cours fait appel à la micro-informatique pour la solution de problèmes et est préalable au cours Méthodes statistiques d'évaluation ENP Méthodes statistiques d évaluation II (Prérequisite: ENP7137) Offered by: École Nationale d'administration Publique (ENAP) Ce cours traite de la mesure de l'impact des programmes (program impact studies) par la méthode statistique. L'accent est mis autant sur l'aspect pratique que théorique des méthodes statistiques applicables à l'évaluation de programmes. La solution de problèmes se fera au moyen d'outils informatiques (tels SPSS) afin d'effectuer facilement des analyses statistiques complexes et de faire l'apprentissage d'une technologie. 21

27 4.2.1 Other Elective Courses (methodology or substantive) Students conducting a qualitative dissertation study are expected to take at least one advanced qualitative research course beyond NUR The following are a list of methodsrelated courses available through Nursing or within the Faculty of Medicine. Other elective courses related to the student s major field of study taken within or outside McGill may also be considered (permission of the instructor may be required). **Supervisors also have the option of creating a 3-credit independent study course tailored to their student s substantive area, in consultation with the PhD Program Director. NUR Issues of Measurement (3 credits)(semester TBD) An examination of the underlying theories of measurement and techniques for assessing the validity and reliability of data collection instruments. Issues related to the development and/or utilization of instruments to measure target variables in nursing and health research are addressed. NUR Nursing Workforce Determinants (3 credits) Factors affecting the planning and management of the nursing workforce in the context of forecasting models, demographic changes, public organizational response, models of organizational behavior and determinants of nursing sensitive outcomes, and productivity. NUR Psychosocial Oncology Research (3 credits)(winter term) This seminar focuses on evidence-based research developments in psychosocial oncology. Students will explore state-of-the-art theory, research methods, findings, and intervention programs from a variety of disciplines including nursing, psychology, medicine, health services management and social work that have contributed to the emergent field of psychosocial oncology. POTH Measurement in Rehabilitation (3 credits, Winter term) Offered by: School of Physical and Occupational Therapy Theoretical and practical basis for measurement in rehabilitation research. Introduction to measurement theory, scale development and related statistics, approaches and instruments used to assess outcomes in patients with musculoskeletal, neurological, cardiovascular, respiratory, psychiatric or psychological conditions FMED 690 Advanced Ethnography: Context, Complexity & Coordination (3 credits, Winter term) Offered by: Family Medicine (Faculty of Medicine) Addressing the rationale and assumptions of ethnography, including the practices, processes and strategies to set up, conduct, analyze, write up and provide feedback to participants. This exploration will come from a project based on deep and immersed observation to develop an understanding of shared meaning systems. FMED Applied Mixed Methods in Health Research (3 credits, Winter term) Offered by: Family Medicine (Faculty of Medicine) Exploration of how qualitative and quantitative methods can be combined in health research using appropriate mixed methods research questions, designs, and pertinent data collection/analysis. Only open to students who have had prior graduate training in quantitative and qualitative research methods. EPIB Clinical Epidemiology (3 credits, Summer term) Offered by: Epidemiology and Biostatistics (Faculty of Medicine) Principles and methods of epidemiology, as applied to clinical practice and clinical research. Key principles of testing and measurement in the clinical context, as well as study design, analysis, and inference in the clinical research setting. 22

28 4.3 PRE-REQUISITES FOR THE PHD PROGRAM COMPULSORY COURSES: In-coming doctoral students may be requested upon admission to take additional pre-requisite courses for the PhD required courses (e.g., those who have an applied master s degree, or nurses with a master s degree in another field of study). Courses that are at 600-level or more can be included in the minimum 19 credits of coursework; 500-level courses cannot be included in the 19 minimum credits required for the PhD Program unless they are substantive courses related to the dissertation topic (and with permission of the program director). Students who have never taken a master s level statistics course are required to take NUR Applied Statistics for Nursing, during their first term (concurrently with NUR2 702). Students who have never taken a master s level research methods course are required to complete NUR Research Methods in Nursing, during their first term, as a prerequisite for NUR Students whose master s degree is in a field other than nursing may be requested to complete a learning module nursing theory prior to starting the PhD program, to prepare for NUR2 730 Theory Development in Nursing. Students who have not been exposed to qualitative research methods at the master s level (e.g., in a master s level research methods course, or when conducting their masters project) are required to take a master s level course qualitative research methods during the first fall term, as a prerequisite for NUR Options include (with permission from the instructor): SWRK Research Methods 1 (3 credits) Offered by: Social Work (Faculty of Arts) Qualitative methods used in social work, including data collection and analysis, critical appraisal of existing research, and proposal writing. Description and interpretation of social phenomena, the foundations of qualitative research and methods of qualitative inquiry. FMED 625 or PSYT Qualitative Health Research (3 credits) Offered by both Family Medicine, and Psychiatry Discussion and practice of qualitative methodologies for conducting rigorous and reflective qualitative research projects with a family medicine and primary health care focus, including ethnographic fieldwork and community interviews. SOCI Qualitative Research Methods 2 (3 credits) Offered by: Sociology (Faculty of Arts) Qualitative data interpretation and analysis. Coding, identifying themes and memo-writing. Students conclude their qualitative research project, writing up findings in the form of a publishable-quality paper. EDEM Research Methods: Theory and Practice (3 credits) Offered by: Integrated Studies in Ed (Faculty of Education) Overview of the epistemological foundations of a range of research methods, including but not limited to quantitative, philosophical, qualitative, arts-based, and mixed methods. Students will learn techniques to conduct research and to develop a research proposal. 23

29 TABLE 2. SAMPLE COURSE SCHEDULE, PHD IN NURSING PROGRAM (full time students) Year 1: Fall Term NUR2 702: Quantitative Research (3 cr.) Winter Term Summer Term NUR2 706: Qualitative Nursing Research (3 cr.) NUR2 730: Theory Development in Nursing (3 cr.) Other options: 1 Elective course (3 cr.) *NUR2 515: Applied Statistics in Nursing (3 cr.) ** Master s level Qualitative Research course (3 cr.) 1-2 Elective courses 1 Elective course (e.g., NUR2 703: Issues of Measurement) Proposal development * Required for new doctoral students who have never taken a master s level statistics course ** Required for new doctoral students who have never taken a master s level qualitative research course Year 2: Fall Term Winter Term Summer Term (1-2 Complementary courses) Proposal development Proposal development Comps Exam (if 18 credits completed in Summer 2017) Comps Exam (if 18 credits completed in Fall 2017) Course selection will be determined in consultation with the student s supervisor, to tailor coursework to the student s proposed study. NUR2 702, 706 and 730 are COMPULSORY. Recommended # of courses/term = 2-3 (full-time status = minimum 2 courses/term). 24

30 5. EVALUATION OF STUDENT PROGRESS IN THE PhD PROGRAM 5.1 POLICY Graduate and Post-Graduate Studies Office requires that each unit establish a procedure to provide feedback to thesis students regarding their research progress. The student must meet annually with, at a minimum, their supervisor(s) and one other person (e.g., thesis committee member or a representative from the School). Students who are registered in the program including those on time limitation must submit an annual report. Students who are reinstated must submit a yearly report of their activities until their dissertation has been deposited. Students on MLOA (Medical Leave of Absence) are not required to submit a report while on leave, however, they must submit objectives for the year upon their return. Students who have officially withdrawn from the program but continue to work on their dissertation independently are not required to submit a report Failure policy A student who receives 2 unsatisfactory evaluations (either a failure in a course, and/or an unsatisfactory progress report) may be required to withdraw from the program of study. These 2 unsatisfactory evaluations need not be successive. The final decision for action on these reports rests with the Standings and Promotion Committee in consultation with Graduate and Post-Graduate Studies Office. The student has the right to appeal. If a student wishes to appeal the decision, documentation of the decision-making process and actions taken by the Committee is required Responsibilities of the Admission, Standings and Promotions Committee - PhD Program The committee consists of the Director of the PhD Program (Chair), the Assistant Director of the PhD program, two ISON faculty members who teach and/or supervise students in the PhD program, and the Graduate Student Affairs Coordinator to take the minutes of the meeting. The Director of the PhD Program presents the student files and provides clarification during the proceedings. The responsibilities of the committee to: Review the progress of all students in the program on an annual basis (May-June). Perform interim reviews of the progress of students who are demonstrating difficulty or delays in the program (December- January). Collaborate with the student s supervisor(s) in setting new objectives for the student. Provide a written recommendation to the student and the supervisor. Maintain documentation on decisions rendered. Ensure accessibility to the student for clarification of decisions rendered. Treat the student with fairness and respect. Ensure the confidentiality of the discussions. 25

31 5.2 PROCEDURE Objectives Report During the first semester in the program, a first annual progress reporting meeting should be held shortly after doctoral students begin their programs. Written objectives/expectations for the year must be recorded in the OBJECTIVES box on page 1 of the Graduate Student Research Progress Tracking Report (fillable pdf file available at Those attending the meeting must sign the form on page Progress Reports At the end of the academic year (in April) students will be sent a reminder from the Director of the PhD Program regarding completion of a progress report. Progress reports are designed to help students maintain a steady pace through the program. The supervisor and thesis committee members (if established) will meet with the student annually (in April-May) to review the extent to which the objectives have been met. Prior to each progress meeting, the student shall record his/her accomplishments and progress to date by completing the PROGRESS box on page 1 of the form Graduate Student Research Progress Tracking Report (fillable pdf file available at This completed form is then evaluated by the committee (i.e., supervisor and the member of the supervisory committee or a representative from the academic unit) on page 2 of the form. All parties sign the form on page 3. At this same meeting, objectives for the following year should be recorded in the OBJECTIVES box on page 1 of the same form. Note that objectives are written for a 12-month period. Thus progress is compared to what had been previously established as goals for the year. Submission deadlines for these reports are mid-may. A student or faculty member who does not agree to sign the form must write a statement detailing his/her objections. This statement will be attached to the Progress Report and maintained in the student s file. The completed forms along with all supporting documentation are to be submitted to the Graduate Student Affairs Coordinator who will add them to the student s file. The student, supervisor(s), and academic unit must retain copies of the forms. The Standings and Promotion Committee shall review all progress reports submitted to ensure that students are progressing within the timeline of the program. The progress reports of students being supervised by the Director of the PhD program shall be reviewed by the Assistant Director of the PhD Program Interim Progress Report If the student s progress is slower than expected (i.e., objectives for the year not met) or is unsatisfactory (i.e., course failure), a detailed explanation will be recorded by the student on Form 2. In addition, a set of specific objectives and timelines for improving progress and/or performance will be detailed on Form 1. These new, or interim, objectives apply only to the next semester. The Director will bring the documentation to an interim meeting of the Standings and Promotion Committee for review. The thesis supervisor of the student may be 26

32 invited to the session to discuss the revised objectives and resources to assist the student. A letter outlining the recommendations of the committee will be sent to the student and the thesis supervisor Failure Policy In the event of a first failure (either a failed course, or an unsatisfactory progress report), the ISON must record the failing grade on the student's record (if a course); and complete a Recommendation Following a First Failure web form (available to faculty and staff only under - University Regulations & Resources Graduate Guidelines and Policies Failure Policy) to specify the plan of action. In the event of a second failure (including failure of a supplemental exam; another course, and/ or an unsatisfactory Progress Tracking Report), the ISON must record the second failing grade on the student's record (if a course); meet with the student and then complete the Withdrawal Recommendation following a Second Failure web form (available to faculty and staff only under - University Regulations & Resources Graduate Guidelines and Policies Failure Policy) to recommend to Management of Academic Records Unit, Enrolment Services that the student must be withdrawn from their program. Upon receipt of the Graduate Program Director's recommendation, Enrolment Services will send the student an official withdrawal letter and change the status to Withdrawn on the student's academic record. Students have 30 days to appeal a decision to withdraw, which will be reviewed by the Faculty of Medicine s Associate Dean, Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. Reference: University Regulations & Resources, available at 27

33 6. COMPREHENSIVE EXAMINATION 6.1 POLICY Students in the PhD program in Nursing must successfully complete the Comprehensive Examination (NUR2-701) in order to achieve candidacy status in the program, before they may begin their dissertation research. Students are expected to register for the comprehensive exam within the first 2 semesters following completion of their required courses (see Table 1). The comprehensive examination includes: 1) submission of a thesis proposal to the examining committee, 2) a written evaluation of the thesis proposal by the examining committee, 3) a 20-minute presentation of the proposed study, and 3) an oral examination on the proposal and related topics by the Examination Committee. The purpose of the comprehensive examination (written protocol and oral examination) is to demonstrate that the student has sufficient strength in terms of substantive and methodological knowledge, originality of thought and the capacity for clear expression to continue his/her doctoral research. 6.2 THESIS PROPOSAL Overview Students should begin working on their thesis topic during the first semester of the program. By the third semester, the student s thesis committee must be confirmed and the PhD Program Confirmation of Thesis Committee Formation form needs to be completed and submitted by the student to the Graduate Student Affairs Coordinator. The thesis proposal is developed in consultation with the student s supervisor and members of the thesis committee Nature of the Proposal The written component, i.e., the thesis proposal, can be one of two forms: Traditional thesis: The proposal for the traditional thesis consists of the first three chapters of the dissertation, including 1) the introduction, 2) literature review, and 3) methodology and data analysis sections. This format should be approximately 50 pages in length, double-spaced, excluding references and appendices. Thesis by manuscript: If a thesis by manuscript is planned, the proposal will consist of a shorter document (approximately double-spaced pages) that includes the proposal elements required by granting agencies (excluding a budget). Students choosing this approach may submit a manuscript prepared for submission that will be one of the dissertation s manuscripts (typically a concept analysis or systematic literature review related to the proposed study), along with a proposal including the introduction, methods and data analysis sections. The type of proposal chosen will depend on upon the topic, the student, and the preference of the supervisor and/or thesis committee. Students submitting complex proposals (e.g., mixed methods; multi-phase studies) may need to exceed the suggested page limit and should include a note of explanation signed by the supervisor along with their submission to the Chair of the Comprehensive examination committee. 28

34 6.3 COMPREHENSIVE EXAMINATION Objectives The objectives of the comprehensive exam are to: Establish that the student has acquired both the substantive and methodological knowledge necessary to explain and defend the rationale underlying the proposed study. Evaluate the student s ability to critically analyze concepts central to the study Evaluate the student s ability to analyze, synthesize and integrate knowledge related to conceptual frameworks and methodologies relevant to nursing within the context of the proposed study Ensure that the student possesses the appropriate written and oral skills. Students should expect to elaborate on what is written in the proposal. They should also be prepared to respond to questions about related concepts, theories, designs and methods, however, these questions will not be the main focus of the examination (See item 6.5) Comprehensive Examination Committee The Comprehensive Examination Committee consists of PhD-prepared faculty including: 1) the Chair of the Committee; 2) the thesis supervisor and possibly the co-supervisor; and 3) a faculty member from the Ingram School of Nursing or Université de Montréal). Students, including PhD candidates and post-doctoral fellows, cannot serve as examiners. Former PhD students or post-doctoral fellows of the supervisor cannot serve as an examiner for their exsupervisor s students for a period of 5 years. In preparation for the comprehensive exam, the student and supervisor will be asked by the Chair to submit an abstract of the proposal along with the name of potential examiners with justification (i.e., expertise). The Chair of the Committee or his/her delegate reviews the abstract and suggestions for examiners and identifies the faculty member examiner based on the individual s familiarity with the substantive area and/or expertise with the methodology (i.e., quantitative, qualitative). The examination committee is finalized in consultation with the supervisor and the Director or Assistant Director of the PhD Program. The Chair informs the student via of the names of the examiners. In the situation where the candidate is a student of the Chair of the Examination Committee, the Director or the Assistant Director of the PhD Program, or another member of the PhD faculty who is not on the student s committee will be delegated to Chair the session, which involves organizing the date of the exam; recruiting the examiners; and writing up the reports Mandate of the Comprehensive Examination Committee The examination committee members serve until the student has completed both the written and oral examination. In the case of failure, the same committee is reconvened for the retake unless an examiner is unable to be present or in the case of other extenuating circumstances approved by the Chair and PhD Program Director or Assistant Director. The committee is responsible for determining whether the student has sufficient strength in terms of scientific 29

35 knowledge, originality of thought and the capacity for clear expression to continue her/his doctoral research. Specifically, committee members are responsible for: reviewing the student s proposal providing a written evaluation of the proposal to the Chair examining the student during the oral defense of their proposal evaluating the student s oral performance participating in the completion of the evaluation form presenting the verdict and feedback to the student and supervisor(s) reconvening to review a retake of a written or oral examination, in the case of a failure. The Chair is responsible for ensuring that the proceedings respect the intent of the examination, keeping the student and supervisor(s) informed of the process, and in the case of a failure, meeting with the student and supervisor(s) to provide clarification of the results. The Chair completes the required documentation and enters the final grade for the examination The Role of the Thesis Committee Before proceeding to examination, the student must receive approval from the entire thesis committee that the proposal may be submitted for examination. It is strongly recommended that the thesis committee members be convened together for a proposal defense prior to signing the PhD Thesis Proposal Approval form (see Appendix 3). By approving the proposal, the thesis committee members all agree that the student and the proposal are ready for formal presentation and examination. The proposal should be optimal in development such that the conceptual framework and methods can be justified. The thesis committee members may be present as observers during the examination, but not during the deliberation. The thesis supervisor(s) is an active member of the examination committee and participates during both the examination and deliberation. The thesis supervisor(s) shares the role of examiner with the other members of the examination committee. Faculty who are supervising for the first time or who have not participated in a comprehensive exam previously must ensure that the co-supervisor is present for the examination Failure on the Examination The comprehensive examination may be retaken once. One failure is permitted in either the written or oral component of the exam. If the student fails the examination a grade of HH (continuing) is submitted by the Chair of the exam committee for course NUR Retake of the exam should occur within 3 months, unless in the case of extenuating circumstances approved by the Chair and PhD Program Director. In a second failure, a grade of F will be reported by the Chair to Graduate Studies Office and the student will be asked to withdraw from the PhD program. 30

36 6.4 PROCEDURES Submission of Thesis Proposal Approximately 4 weeks before the anticipated submission of the thesis proposal, the student should contact the Chair, with a cc to the supervisor(s), to indicate his/her intent to submit within one month, and provide the proposal abstract and the names of potential examiners. The student registered in NUR2-701 may submit the thesis proposal once the supervisor and the thesis committee members have agreed that the student may proceed to examination (See Table 3 Timeline and Procedures: PhD Comprehensive Examination of Thesis proposal). The thesis committee members need to indicate this in writing by completing the PhD Thesis Proposal Approval form (see Appendix 3). Three hard copies and an electronic version of the proposal are to be submitted by the student to the Graduate Student Affairs Coordinator along with the PhD Thesis Proposal Approval form. Once the proposal is received, the Chair confirms the comprehensive examination committee and sets a tentative date for the oral exam (to be held approximately 4 weeks after the proposal is received). The Graduate Student Affairs Coordinator sends a hard copy of the proposal to the members of the Examination Committee with guidelines for evaluation and confirms the date and location for the oral exam with all those involved Examination of the Written Component (Proposal) Upon receiving the proposal, members of the examination committee: 1) evaluate the proposal; 2) complete the Evaluation Form A Written Component Report of the Examiner (Appendix 4), and 3) provide one preliminary question for the student s oral exam. The evaluation form and preliminary question must be submitted to the Chair no later than 1 week prior to the scheduled date of the examination. The Chair will submit a summary report on Evaluation Form A Written Component Report of the Chair (Appendix 5) which will be made available to the student within a maximum of 1 week after the oral exam has been completed. In the situation where all the examiners indicate that the proposal is satisfactory, the Chair notifies the student that she/he may proceed to the oral examination and provides the preliminary examination questions. The student is allowed to prepare 1-2 power point slides or written notes to answer questions that are sent in preparation for the comprehensive exam. However, the student is not permitted to discuss these questions with the supervisor. Should one examiner judge that the proposal is unsatisfactory due to a major conceptual and/or methodological issue, the Chair will call a meeting of the examiners to determine whether the student should proceed to the oral. If the majority of the committee members agree that the student has failed the written component (the supervisor and co-supervisor share one vote), the Chair will notify the student and provide him/her with a written report from the committee one week from the date of notification indicating failure and the need to resubmit (see Appendix 5). The Chair of the examination committee and the Director or Assistant Director of the PhD program may meet with the supervisor to provide any additional clarification Retake of the Written Examination In the case of a failure on the written component of the examination (proposal), the Chair will summarize the comments from the examiners on Evaluation Form A Written Component 31

37 Report of the Chair and will notify the student that they have failed the written component and must revise and resubmit the proposal. The student may obtain a copy of the evaluation form from their file. The student may also request a meeting with the Chair to clarify the recommendations. The student will have three (3) months from the time of notification to resubmit the proposal. If a longer period is required, the Director must approve the extension. The same committee is reconvened for the retake unless an examiner is unable to be present or in the case of other extenuating circumstances Failure in the Retake of the Written Examination A failure of the retake of the written examination results in a failed comprehensive examination and requires that the student withdraw from the program. The Chair will summarize the evaluation on Evaluation Form A Written Component Report of the Chair and will schedule a meeting with the supervisor and the Director as soon as possible to discuss the evaluation. Evaluation Form A Written Component Report of the Chair will be placed in student s file once the Director has reviewed and signed the form (within 1 week of the committee s decision). The Chair will inform the student that he/she has failed the retake and may obtain a copy of the evaluation form from his/her file. The Chair will arrange an appointment with the student, supervisor and Director to discuss the final outcome Examination of the Oral Component The Chair will notify the Graduate Student Affairs Coordinator of the time and date for the oral examination. The Graduate Student Affairs Coordinator arranges the room booking and notifies the Chair, the examiner, the supervisor, the student and the thesis committee. The student is responsible for organizing the audiovisual equipment and lap top computer for the presentation. The Graduate Student Affairs Coordinator will also distribute an notice announcing the examination to Ingram School of Nursing faculty, members of the PhD Advisory Committee, and doctoral students of the Ingram School of Nursing once the examination has been confirmed by the Chair, usually 1 week prior to the examination. The student and supervisor may choose to extend the invitation to individuals who may not be on the usual list of invitees. The Examination Committee will meet 30 minutes prior to the examination to review the questions that will be asked. The Chair ensures that the questions are appropriate, eliminates redundancy and establishes the order of questioning. The student will present the proposed study for 20 minutes in an open forum. The audience will then be asked to leave the room, to allow for a closed oral examination period with the examination committee. Thesis committee members or new tenure track faculty may be invited to stay for the exam but as observers only. The examination will last a maximum of 90 minutes beginning with the three presubmitted exam questions. There are typically 2-3 rounds of questions from each examiner. The student will be judged on his/her ability to present the proposal and to adequately answer questions related to the conceptual and methodological basis of the research being proposed. As an oral examination may be perceived as very stressful, the Chair will inform the students prior to the examination that they may ask for a recess during the proceedings if experiencing undue distress. In such cases, the Chair and supervisor will meet with the student in private to determine whether the examination should resume. If it is judged not to be in the best interest 32

38 of the student to continue, the examination will be postponed and rescheduled within 1 month. However, if the student, supervisor and Chair agree that the student is able to carry on after a short break (15 30 minutes), the examination may continue. The question period will begin with the preliminary questions that were submitted to the student in advance, followed by new questions. Following the conclusion of the question period (60 90 minutes), the Examination Committee will meet in closed session to review the performance of the student. During the deliberation, the examiners will aim to arrive at consensus. However, when this is not possible, the final pass/fail evaluation will be based on the decision of the majority of the examiners. In the event that the performance is considered to be a failure, the student will be required to retake the oral examination within 3 months. During the closed meeting, the Chair notes the points of the discussion and the recommendations along with the decision to pass or retake the exam in order to prepare the Comprehensive Examination Evaluation Form A Written Component and Form B Oral Component (See Appendix 6 for evaluation form of oral exam). The forms are completed electronically with electronic signatures from the Chair and Director at the latest, one week following the date of the examination. The members of the examination committee will meet with the student within 90 minutes following completion of the examination and provide a verbal summary of the evaluation to the student. The students will be informed that they will receive, via , 2 evaluation forms (Evaluation Form A Written Component, Evaluation Form B Oral Component) from the Graduate Student Affairs Coordinator within 1 week of the exam. The students will also receive a letter (See Appendix 6-G) to confirm that they successfully passed the comprehensive examination. Depending on where the student is conducting their study, this letter may satisfy Research Ethic Board (REB) requirements for scientific review of the proposal. Each student is responsible for contacting the REB at their study site(s) to determine if an additional process for scientific approval of the project is required. During the week following the exam, the Chair completes and signs (signature/electronic version) the evaluation forms and forwards these to the PhD Program Director for signature/electronic signature. The forms are then sent to the Graduate Student Affairs Coordinator who converts the files to pdf format for inclusion in the student s record and s a copy to the student and supervisor. The reports of the individual examiners are maintained by the Chair. The reports of the examiners may be made available to the student under special circumstances (with the names of the examiners removed). The hard copies of the proposal will be returned to the student either at the time of the examination or within the week following the exam. In the case of a failed exam, the proposals are also returned to the student within the week following the exam. It is the examiner s responsibility to photocopy the proposal if a copy is needed. The supervisor will ensure that the recommended changes from the examination committee are discussed with the thesis committee members before the study is submitted for ethics review. The Chair of the examination committee is responsible for entering the final grade (Pass/Continuing/Fail) for the comprehensive examination, NUR2-701 on MINERVA. 33

39 Retake of the Oral Examination The student may not be ready to discuss the feedback with the committee immediately after being informed that a retake is necessary. In this situation, the student and supervisor may arrange to meet with the Chair at a mutually convenient time to receive the comments and recommendations of the committee. The retake of the oral examination usually includes a presentation and examination to be held in closed session. However, in rare situations, the format of the retake may change based on the recommendation of the Chair and examiner in consultation with the supervisor. Final approval rests with the PhD Program Director. The Chair should schedule the retake within 3 months of the first oral exam. If a longer period is required, the Director must approve the extension. The same committee is reconvened for the retake unless an examiner is unable to be present or in the case of other extenuating circumstances. The PhD Program Director or Assistant Director will attend the retake of the examination Failure in the Retake of the Oral Examination A failure of the retake of the oral examination results in a failed comprehensive examination and requires that the student withdraw from the program. Immediately following the deliberation, the Chair will inform the student that he/she has failed the retake. The student may choose to meet with the examiners immediately for feedback or request to meet with the Chair at a later date. The Chair will summarize the evaluation on Evaluation Form B Oral Component and will schedule a meeting with the supervisor and the Director as soon as possible to discuss the evaluation. Evaluation Form B Oral Component will be placed in student s file once the Director has reviewed and signed the forms (within one week of the oral exam). The Chair will arrange an appointment with the student, supervisor and Director to discuss the final outcome. 6.5 PREPARATION FOR THE COMPREHENSIVE EXAM Tips for Preparing for the PhD Oral Comprehensive Exam Inform the Chair of the Comprehensive Exam committee as early as possible when you plan to submit your proposal (ideally within a month before the anticipated date for submission of your proposal). This will allow adequate time for tentative scheduling of your exam and recruitment of examiners. As part of the finalization of your proposal, conduct a formal defence of your proposal to your full proposal committee, as a dry run for the comps exam. Organize a practice defence of your proposal with fellow graduate students and colleagues, to refine your presentation and practice answering detailed and varied questions about your proposal. Attend as many PhD comprehensive examination presentations and PhD dissertation defences as you can (including PhD defences at U de M) Know your proposed study inside-out, including all the methodological decisions that were made during the proposal planning. When developing your proposal, keep an audit trail of the conceptual and methodological issues and decisions that arose as you were designing and refining your project. Be ready to justify and defend your choices of 34

40 theories, study designs, methods and plans for analysis, as well as to describe what alternate approaches or methods you could have considered. Be prepared to speak to the potential practice/theory/policy implications of your study, in addition to future directions for further research. Strategies for responding to questions during the exam: o Write down the questions as you receive them, to keep focused and on track. o Ask for clarification or elaboration on any questions that seem ambiguous or unclear. If a question has many parts to it, break it down into smaller questions and address each one separately. o Feel free to take your time to reflect on a question, so that you can answer more thoughtfully. Say great question - let me think about this for a moment. o It s OK to be tentative with your responses if you re not sure how to respond ask the examiners Is this the kind of answer you were looking for? Am I on the right track? Elaborate as much as you can when in familiar territory, to display the depth of your knowledge. o If you really can t think of an answer to a question, admit that you re not sure of the answer and identify where you would find the information. It s far better to acknowledge your knowledge gaps than to try to fake an intelligent response. o If you start to feel too anxious or flustered to answer coherently, tell the examiners you need a few minutes to calm down and compose your thoughts. Don t be afraid to let the examiners know how you re feeling (it s normal to be stressed during an oral exam!) o Expect questions related to your study s conceptual framework/literature review; methodological choices and analysis; ethical considerations; and study contributions Sample Comprehensive Exam Questions : Qualitative Study Proposal title: The experience of patients transitioning to end of life care Can you elaborate on what the literature has already identified as the experience and care needs of patients/families awaiting transfer to end-of-life care? What do you hope your study will add? Please describe what the informal checking of data during the first interview will look like during the second interview. Can you explain the need to verify with the participants after they have completed their interviews? What is the time frame for going back to them? Can you explain the analysis process in detail from the initial reading of the transcript? What is a theme? How will the themes be organized? How is the interpretive writing process informed by themes or central concerns? Have you considered using interpretive phenomenological analysis (IPA) - why or why not? What proportion of participants may be drowsy/sedated from narcotics or other meds? How may this affect their ability to provide informed consent, or to engage fully in the interviews? 35

41 Could you explain what the notions of Dasein and what the authenticity of Dasein means, and how these concepts are linked to your research questions and plans for data analysis? You mention that your study findings will link Heidegger s concepts to real world issues faced by patients who are dying can you elaborate on that? Can you talk a little about why and how you will use a purposive sampling frame? For example, age is not one of your criteria why not? Which socio-demographic factors do you anticipate will be related to the most variation in how the transition to palliative care is experienced? Sample Comprehensive Exam Questions : Quantitative Study Proposal title: Les indicateurs comportementaux et physiologiques de la douleur chez les patients avec traumatisme crânio-cérébral (TCC), altération de l'état de conscience et sous ventilation mécanique lors de procédures courantes à l'usi. Could you describe in more detail why you chose your conceptual framework and how it has helped inform your choice of study variables, your study methods and your planned analyses? What other conceptual frameworks did you consider? What do you see as the strengths vs. limitation of your conceptual framework? Can you please talk about the difference between nociception and pain? What pain mechanisms may be affected by TCC? Le et al. s pilot study reported that the inter-rater reliability was much lower for behaviours in the category of muscle tension, as this assessment involves an assessment of physical resistance to movement. How are you addressing this in your study? What are the pros and cons of using videotapes to establish the reliability of behavioural indicators of pain, especially if in practice the assessment of pain will be done via direct observation? How does the planned data collection differ from actual clinical practice, and what are the implications of this? (i.e., use of videotapes, placing electrodes on the forehead) A p value of.01 will be used what is the justification for this? What is the total number of statistical tests that will be performed? Can you explain your choice of covariates? Please clarify their purpose in the study and how they will be used. What do you anticipate will be the most important contributions of this study to nursing practice, and research? 36

42 TABLE 3: TIMELINE AND PROCEDURES: PHD COMPREHENSIVE EXAMINATION OF THESIS PROPOSAL Steps Semester that you are planning to submit One month before anticipated submission of Thesis Proposal Supervisor and members of the Thesis committee sign PhD Thesis approval Form indicating student may proceed to examination Examination of the Written Component (Proposal) (4 weeks) If Proposal is satisfactory (4 th week) Examination of the Oral Component (5 th week) Report of the Chair (6 th week) Actions Register for NUR2-701 Contact the Chair, send your abstract and names of potential examiners. Submit three (3) hard copies plus an electronic format of the proposal and a completed PhD Thesis Proposal Approval form (signatures of all thesis committee members) to the Graduate Student Affairs Coordinator. If an examiner prefers an electronic version rather than a hard copy, submit only the number of hard copies needed for the examiners. Examiners submit their evaluation and one preliminary question to the Chair. All evaluations must be submitted a minimum of 7 days before the tentatively scheduled oral exam. Chair notifies the student that she/he may proceed to the oral examination and provides the preliminary examination questions. An official notice of the exam date/location is then sent to all students and faculty. The members of the examination committee will meet with the student within 90 minutes following completion of the examination and provide a verbal summary of the evaluation to the student. The Chair will submit a summary report on Evaluation Form A Written Component Report of the Chair (Appendix 7-E) and a letter (Appendix 7-G) which will be made available to the student within a maximum of one week after the oral exam has been completed. The letter confirms the successful completion of the comprehensive examination. 37

43 7. DOCTORAL EXAMINATION 7.1 POLICY All students in the PhD program in Nursing are expected to submit a dissertation (traditional thesis or thesis by manuscript) for the PhD degree that displays original scholarship, is well written, and makes a distinct contribution to knowledge. Students are required to submit a thesis submission form when the thesis is deposited at the Thesis Office. The Director s signature attests to the completion of degree requirements. The supervisor signs off that the content, style and presentation of the thesis are approved. The PhD examination includes: 1) submission of a thesis to the Thesis Office, 2) an external and internal review of the written thesis, 3) a 20-minute presentation of the thesis, and 4) an oral examination on the thesis. For full details related to the doctoral examination, see: PhD THESIS Overview Students should initiate work on the written thesis while collecting data and analyzing the findings. Drafts of the thesis should be submitted to the supervisor and thesis committee members on a regular basis for constructive feedback. In order to help plan for the dissertation exam and selection of the examining committee, the supervisor should notify the PhD Program Director when the thesis is in the final stages of completion (e.g., at least one month before the anticipated date of deposit). The examination of the thesis may take place once notification is received from Thesis Office and in accordance with the Calendar of Dates for graduation Nature of the Thesis The written thesis, can be one of 2 forms: Traditional thesis: consists of the Introduction, Literature Review, Methodology, Results Discussion and Appendices sections (on average 200 pages double-spaced). Thesis by manuscript: includes a collection of manuscripts (minimum 3) already submitted or prepared for submitted for publication, bound together as an integral part of the thesis. The thesis must effectively link the manuscripts into a comprehensive report of the dissertation study. All components of the thesis must be integrated into a cohesive unit with a logical progression from one section to the next. In order to ensure that the thesis has continuity, connecting texts preceding and following each manuscript are required. When co-authored manuscripts are included in a thesis, the candidate must be first author and have made a substantial contribution to the manuscript. When previously published copyrighted material is presented in a thesis, 38

44 the student must obtain signed permissions/waivers from the publisher(s). Permission must also be obtained from co-authors of manuscripts submitted or in preparation for inclusion in the thesis; an to that effect should suffice. The individual contributions of the student and other authors to each manuscript must be stated explicitly in the Preface to the thesis. For both the traditional and thesis by manuscript forms, the thesis must include the following: a title page and a table of contents an abstract in both English and French acknowledgements preface and contribution of authors an introduction which states the rationale and objectives of the research a comprehensive review of the literature (in addition to that covered in the introduction to each manuscript), unless one of the manuscripts is a systematic review of the topic a final conclusion and summary a thorough bibliography an appendix containing an ethics certificate For more details on the content and formatting of traditional versus manuscript-based theses, see: THESIS SUBMISSION DEADLINES, REGISTRATION AND GRADUATION Students must be registered at McGill up to and including the term before they graduate. After 3 years of full-time registration, (i.e., at the end of PhD 4 if studying full-time), doctoral students will register in Additional Sessions for all subsequent terms up to and including the term in which they initially submit their thesis for examination. For any subsequent terms following initial deposit of the thesis, the student will have a registration of Thesis Evaluation (no fees applied) up to and including the term in which the student makes the final thesis submission. If the student makes the initial and final thesis submission in the same term, they will have a registration of Additional Session for that term and will not have a Thesis Evaluation registration appear on their record. Students who make the initial thesis submission after August 15 th will be required to register as Additional Session for the fall term. Those who make the initial thesis submission after Dec 15 th must register as Additional Session for the Winter term. Those who make the initial thesis submission after April 15 th must register as Additional Session for the Summer term (see item 7.3.1). Should the deadline dates (Aug 15 th, Dec 15 th, Apr 15 th ) fall on a weekend or a holiday, the effective deadline date will be the previous working day. These procedures ensure that graduate thesis students: Remain registered until they complete all the degree requirements of their program. 39

45 May continue with their research at the University after their initial thesis submission and during the period when thesis revisions may be necessary. Have access to services (e.g., Student Services, Libraries, Athletics, CAPS) after their initial thesis submission. Experience less financial impact of registration in additional session and once the initial thesis is submitted Thesis Submission Deadlines Procedure when Initial and Final Submission occurs in Different Terms: Initial Submission (to external examiner) Final Submission (After Oral Defence with final corrections) Additional Session Thesis Evaluation Graduation Apr 16 Aug 15 Aug 16 Dec 15 Summer Fall February Aug 16 Dec 15 Dec 16 Apr 15 Fall Winter June Dec 16 Apr 15 Apr 16 Aug 15 Winter Summer October Procedure when Initial and Final Submission occurs in the Same Term: Initial Submission (to external Final Submission (After Oral Defence Additional Session Thesis Evaluation Graduation examiner) with final corrections) Apr 16 Aug 15 Apr 16 Aug 15 Summer None October Aug 16 Dec 15 Aug 16 Dec 15 Fall None February Dec 16 Apr 15 Dec 16 Apr 15 Winter None June For more information on the initial thesis submission, see: APPOINTMENT OF THESIS EXAMINERS Every thesis for a doctoral degree is evaluated by 2 examiners, one Internal and one External. Having 2 examiners who are specialists in the research area one from within McGill (not the supervisor) and one from outside McGill provides the breadth and depth of expertise needed to make a determination on the quality of the thesis and to affirm that it meets rigorous international standards. The External Examiner s qualifications are the following: 1) a scholar of established reputation and competence in the field, and must normally hold a doctorate or equivalent 2) no involvement in the supervision of the candidate 3) not a co-author on any component of the thesis 4) has no academic appointment at McGill 40

46 The Internal Examiner is usually a McGill faculty member (full, associate, or adjunct) affiliated with the School (including the faculty of Nursing at Université de Montréal). In some cases, it may be appropriate to nominate an Internal Examiner from another unit at McGill. The Internal Examiner may or may not know the candidate or the work prior to examining the thesis. The selected examiner must have sufficient knowledgeable in the field to evaluate the thesis (although not necessarily working in the same field), and may not be one of the supervisors. However, the Internal Examiner may be one of the student s thesis committee members. Someone associated with the unit as a consultant, visiting scholar, etc. in a paid or unpaid capacity, may serve as the Internal Examiner (or as an Internal Member of the oral exam committee, from within the School) but may not serve as External Examiner nor as External Member of the oral committee. Supervisors are not permitted to act as the Internal Examiner of their student s PhD thesis, as the supervisor has examined the thesis throughout the project and there is no need to examine it again. 7.5 DOCTORAL EXAMINATION Objectives The answers given in the oral examination should demonstrate that the candidate has sufficient strength in terms of scientific knowledge, originality of thought and the capacity for clear expression for the doctoral degree. Specifically, the examination is designed to: Establish that the candidate has achieved the substantial level of creative and critical scholarship necessary for a doctoral degree. Evaluate the student s ability to clearly present the results of their study and answer specific points. Test the candidate s grasp of related subjects. Explore the contribution to knowledge. Ensure that the student possesses the appropriate written and oral skills Oral Examination Committee Members of the doctoral oral committee should normally hold a doctorate or equivalent and should be selected based on their familiarity with the student s research topic and/or methodology. The oral examination committee consists of a Pro-Dean (appointed by Thesis Office) and 5-7 other members including: 1. Chair (PhD Program Director or Assistant Director, or Director of the School) 2. Thesis Supervisor 3. Internal Examiner (as per nomination of examiner s form) 4. Other Internal Member (e.g., co-supervisor, thesis committee member, or another faculty member) 41

47 5. External Member (McGill faculty member external to the School and who has not been involved in supervision of the candidate or a co-author on any component of the thesis; the external member also may be nursing faculty from Université de Montréal) The majority of the oral examination committee members must not be closely involved with the thesis research. When the oral committee includes three people closely involved with the thesis, the committee should comprise seven members plus the Pro-Dean and at least two (2) of the members should be from outside the School. The External Examiner (listed on the nomination of examiner s form) is not required to attend the oral defence and normally does not serve on the thesis examination committee. However, practice varies across departments and in some cases, the external examiner may be invited by the School (NOT by the student or supervisor) to attend the oral examination. In this case, the External Examiner will serve as the External member of the examination committee. For more details related to inviting the external examiner to the oral defence, see: If the supervisor or the Internal Examiner cannot be present at the defence due to extraordinary circumstances, they may be represented by a delegate. In the situation where the candidate is a student of the Director of the PhD Program, the most appropriate replacement as Chair of the Examination Committee would be the Director of the Graduate Program or another member of the PhD faculty who is not a member of the student s thesis committee. Only the Internal and External Examiners are required to provide written reports of their evaluation. All other doctoral examination committee members review the thesis to prepare for the oral dissertation exam but do not submit any written reports Role of the Pro-Dean The Pro-Dean chairs the oral defence as a representative of Graduate and Postdoctoral studies, but is not a voting member. The primary function of the Pro-Dean is to see that the examination is carried out with fairness to the candidate and with respect for the academic standards of the University. As moderator of the proceedings, the Pro-Dean ensures that the exchanges between the committee and the student are conducted with a productive and mutually respectful manner. The Pro-Dean is at liberty to vary the examination procedures after consultation with the committee Mandate of the Oral Examination Committee The oral committee is responsible for determining whether the candidate has sufficient strength in terms of scientific knowledge, originality of thought and the capacity for clear expression for the doctoral degree. 42

48 Specifically, committee members are responsible for: Reviewing and evaluating the quality of the student s written thesis Examining the student during the oral defence of the thesis Evaluating the student s oral performance with members of the committee Participating in the completion of the evaluation form Presenting the verdict and feedback to the candidate Signing the Certificate of Oral Defence Reconvening to review a retake of an oral examination, in the case of a failure Role of the Thesis Committee Before depositing the thesis, the student must receive approval from the entire thesis committee that the thesis may be submitted for examination. By approving the thesis, the committee members all agree that the student and the thesis are ready for formal presentation and examination. The committee members may attend the presentation and examination as observers. The thesis supervisor(s) should be present as an examiner(s) The Judgment An oral examination only takes place when there are favourable judgments from the Internal and External Examiners. In deciding whether to recommend the candidate for the doctoral degree, the oral examination committee considers the thesis, the reports of the examiners, the performance of the candidate at the oral defence, and his or her overall performance in the doctoral program. The committee should aim to reach a consensus as to whether the candidate passes or fails. In the unlikely event that a consensus is not reached, the Pro-Dean may call for a vote of all members of the committee exclusive of the Pro-Dean. The decision will be made by a simple majority. These deliberations should not take longer than an hour. In the case of disagreement, the dissenting member of the committee should not sign the form the candidate has passed and should write a letter to the Dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies Office explaining the reasons for the disagreement with the rest of the committee. The candidate can be passed, even if changes are recommended to the thesis. A pass should be awarded unless recommendations for revision require a new study or experimentation or major revisions to the thesis. Stylistic or editorial changes are not normally considered to be major Unfavorable Judgments When the oral committee feels that the thesis or the defence was inadequate or the thesis requires major changes, the candidate may be required to resubmit an amended version of the thesis to the committee members or to conduct another defence or both. The Pro-Dean informs the candidate in writing of: 1) the changes to be made as indicated by the committee members; 2) the course of action; 3) the date of resubmission (normally, up to six (6) months); and 4) delegates a member of the committee, usually the supervisor, to ensure that the candidate carries out the required changes. A copy of the letter is sent to Graduate and 43

49 Postdoctoral Studies Office and the department is instructed to arrange for the reconsideration of the thesis. 7.6 PROCEDURES Choosing and Securing the External Examiner The supervisor is responsible for choosing and securing the External and Internal examiners. About 4 weeks before the thesis is ready for initial submission, the supervisor should consult with the student and identify one or more potential External and Internal Examiners who are best qualified to examine the thesis (see 7.4 for qualifications of the External and Internal Examiners). Initial contact with the External Examiner is made by the supervisor either by phone or , whichever is deemed most efficient. However, it is usually best to discuss by phone at some point. It is important to make sure the individual is able to review the thesis within the required timeline. The supervisor then reviews the Conflict of Interest checklist (available at with the potential External Examiner and ensures that he/she does not answer Yes to any of the questions (any questions about this process should be discussed with GPS). The form is submitted to GPS Thesis Unit, along with the thesis and other forms. Once the internal and external examiners are confirmed, the supervisor ensures completion of the Doctoral Thesis Nomination of Examiners Form (available at: The form requires complete addresses (P.O. Box numbers are not acceptable), departments (McGill address, if applicable), phone and fax numbers, addresses and full names (not just initials) for the examiners. The student must sign the form to indicate acceptance of these nominations (both Internal and External), along with the supervisor and the Director of the School Talking Points for the Supervisor when Contacting the Potential External Examiner 1. Introduce yourself. 2. Explain that you have a doctoral student who will soon be completing his/her thesis, and that the McGill process requires the thesis to be examined by an external expert in the field. 3. The thesis examination requires a written assessment submitted within 4 weeks of receiving the dissertation. Tell the examiner when you expect the thesis to be ready for examination, and inquire whether the examiner would be willing and able to evaluate the thesis within the anticipated 4-week deadline. 4. Explain that for Doctoral students there is a two tiered thesis examination process: The examination of the thesis and an oral defence. However, make it clear that the External Examiner does not need to be present at the oral defence. 5. If the topic is raised, McGill does not provide an honorarium for thesis reviews (this may be a surprise with some examiners). 7. Please explain that this time consuming task is an important part of academic collegiality and we greatly appreciate the time and energy that will be devoted to it. 44

50 8. If the person agrees, explain that once the thesis is submitted, they will be contacted by the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (GPS) to arrange for mailing of the thesis and examination forms. Throughout your interaction with the potential examiner, you should not discuss the quality of the student or thesis, since that could bias the review. If you are asked questions edging into these issues, you should explain that it is not considered appropriate for you to discuss them. It is, however, reasonable to send the thesis abstract to the potential examiners for more information. Following this initial contact, all subsequent communication with the External Examiner should be conducted by the Thesis Office Initial Submission of e-thesis The student may submit the thesis once the supervisor and the thesis committee have agreed that the student may proceed to examination. The committee need(s) to indicate this in writing by completing the PhD Final Thesis Approval Form (available from the GSAC, Appendix 8). To submit the final thesis for examination, the student submits a scanned copy of the Doctoral Thesis Nomination of Examiners Form, the McGill Thesis Non-Exclusive License (MNL) Form, and Library and Archives Canada (LAC) Form (all available at: along with a PDF of the e-thesis, to: A copy of the forms must also be ed to the GSAC for the student s records. Please follow GPS instructions on how to name each PDF document (see "Required Forms Upon receipt of the Doctoral Thesis Nomination of Examiners Form, Thesis Office will send the e-thesis to the examiners along with the Doctoral Thesis Examiner Report (Appendix 9) form (available at The Student will be asked to supply a hard copy of the thesis if requested by the examiner Appointment of Doctoral Oral Defence Committee For more information on setting up the oral defence and selecting oral examination committee members, see: When the Doctoral student initially submits the thesis to Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, a PhD Oral Defence form is sent to the Graduate Student Affairs Coordinator (GSAC) at the School indicating the earliest date (tentative, pending receipt of reports) that the defence may take place. The GSAC forwards a copy of the form to the student s supervisor, the Director of the PhD Program and the student to sign. The student s thesis supervisor is responsible for selecting the members of the oral committee in consultation with the candidate and forwarding the proposed committee to the Director or Assistant Director of the PhD program for final approval. The PhD Program Director or Assistant Director should be made aware of situations which may affect the assessment of the work of graduate students, such as potential conflicts of interest or other situations where examiners may not be sufficiently at 45

51 arm s length from the student. It is particularly important to avoid potential conflicts of interest when nominating External Members of the oral committee (see 7.6.2). The supervisor then contacts all members to ensure their acceptance and availability to serve on the Oral defence committee and completes the PhD Oral Defence form. The School should arrange the defence and return the completed PhD Oral Defence form, electronically, to GPS with a minimum of 4 weeks prior to the tentative defence date, to allow for the necessary arrangements to be made (selecting a Pro-Dean, checking the student s file, etc.). If extenuating circumstances require the exam date to be sooner that 4 weeks after return of the Oral Defence Form, the supervisor or PhD Program Director can contact the Thesis office to try to negotiate the exam date. Exceptional requests from oral defence committee members to normal procedures (e.g. videoconferencing) should be referred to the Thesis Unit as soon as possible. If a member of the oral defence committee must attend via videoconference (with the arrangements and cost to be borne by the Unit), approval must be sought as soon as possible - and prior to making arrangements. GPS may not permit the use of Skype because of issues with stability and quality of sound/image Scheduling the Oral Examination The GSAC reserves the rooms for the pre-defense session and oral defense and notifies the examiners, supervisor and student of the tentative date, time and location of the exam and that all members of the committee are given a PDF copy of the thesis well before the oral defence. Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies will provide a PDF copy to the Pro-Dean. The student reserves the audiovisual equipment and laptop computer needed for the defence. If the student would like a practice session, it is the student s responsibility to reserve a room with the Timetable Coordinator Once the GSAC receives confirmation from Thesis Office that the student has passed the written exam and may proceed to the oral defence, the GSAC notifies the supervisor, student and examiners that the examination date is confirmed. The GSAC sends out an notice regarding the event to: 1. PhD students, Ingram School of Nursing 2. PhD Thesis Supervisors 3. In house faculty The GSAC prepares and posts notices announcing the event. On the day of the exam the GSAC posts notices outside the Pre-Defence and Oral Defence rooms (see Appendix 10). Several days before the defence, Thesis Office s the External and Internal reports to the members of the exam committee. The reports are to remain confidential and must not be relayed to the student. A copy of the reports may be given to the student once the oral examination has been passed. GPSO sends an to the student indicating the date when the final corrected e-thesis must be submitted in order to graduate. 46

52 In the event an oral defense is postponed due to unforeseen circumstances, the Thesis Office must be informed immediately followed by documentation from the Pro-Dean including agreement of the candidate as to the particulars of the re-scheduled examination Pre-defence meeting A mandatory private session of the examination committee chaired by the Pro-Dean occurs before the oral defence. The session is held in a separate room and lasts approximately 15 minutes. During the session, the Pro-Dean ensures that the candidate s file is complete and that he/she has fulfilled the requirements of the program. The Pro-Dean also summarizes his/her role, establishes the procedures for the examination, and the order of questioning. (see ) Format of the Oral Examination The student will be given 20 minutes to present. This is followed by an oral examination period with the examination committee and supervisor(s) lasting approximately minutes. Both the study presentation and oral exam are open to the public. The Pro-Dean may pose questions and may request questions from the audience. The student will be judged on his/her ability to present the study and to adequately answer questions related to it, including conceptual and methodological issues Evaluation Procedures Following the conclusion of the question period the Examination Committee and Pro-Dean will meet in closed session for a maximum of 60 minutes to review the performance of the student and complete the Certificate of Oral Defence form. The committee evaluates whether 1) the thesis meets the academic standards necessary for partial fulfillment of the PhD; and 2) the student effectively communicated a level of knowledge and understanding supporting the thesis and commensurate with that of the PhD degree in the oral defence. Should there be a disagreement in the evaluation, the Chair of the Examination Committee will assist the group to arrive at consensus. The committee should aim to reach a consensus as to whether the candidate passes or fails. In the unlikely event that a consensus is not reached, the Pro-Dean may call for a vote of all members of the committee and the decision will be made by a simple majority. These deliberations should not take longer than an hour (see sections The Judgment and Unfavourable Judgments) Outcomes of the Oral Defence: There are five possible outcomes of an oral defence. Decisions A and B qualify as a pass. Decisions C, D, and E qualify as a fail: Decision A: If the committee feels that the thesis and the responses to questions raised in the defence meet appropriate academic standards for the granting of the PhD degree, the student will be judged to have passed the defence. Decision B: If the committee determines that minor revisions (i.e., stylistic or editorial changes that should be able to be completed in no more than three weeks) are necessary for the 47

53 thesis to fulfill the academic standards necessary for partial fulfillment of the degree, the Pro- Dean must delegate one member of the committee, usually the supervisor, to ensure that the student carries out the required changes within the stated time-frame. If the committee determines that the thesis or oral defence does not meet appropriate academic standards for the PhD and would require, for example, major revisions to the text and/or additional study, it must decide between the following three options for a fail: Decision C: The student is allowed to resubmit a revised version of the thesis within six (6) months to the oral defence committee who will then evaluate the revised thesis without another oral defence. Decision D: The student is allowed to conduct another defence within six (6) months without the submission of a revised thesis. Decision E: The student is allowed to resubmit a revised version of the thesis within six (6) months to the oral defence committee, who will then evaluate the revised thesis and conduct another oral defence. Note: If the revised thesis and/or oral defence is subsequently failed again, the student will be withdrawn from the University Submission of final E-thesis After all corrections have been made and in keeping with the comments of the examiners' reports and the comments of the Oral Defence Committee, the thesis will be ready for final submission. The final version of the thesis must be submitted in an electronic version (ethesis) See procedures for submission at: The e-thesis must be submitted as a single.pdf file AND in PDF/A file. The student is only required to submit an e-version of the thesis, not final corrected paper copies. The final version must be free from typographical, grammatical, and other errors when submitted. While this is the student s responsibility, the supervisor should not sign off on the thesis if it is not as error free as possible, and bears the final responsibility for signing off on the thesis. An e-thesis will not be considered submitted to GPS until it has been approved online by the supervisor(s). Students should upload their e-theses for online supervisor approval well in advance of the deadline for submission of final theses, otherwise the e-thesis may be approved too late for the intended date of graduation (see: Deadline for Submission of Final Copies at: If copyright waivers were not submitted with the initial submission, then they must be submitted at the time of final submission. If all other requirements of the program have been met (including course grades, language requirements), the student is then eligible to be placed on the next Degree List. GPS notifies the department of the of the web address for the electronic thesis submitted by the student. 48

54 After each graduation, all approved final e-theses are transferred to the Libraries. The transfer dates are early March for February granting of degrees, early June for May/June graduates and early November for October graduates. You can view your final e-thesis on Previously submitted e-theses can be viewed on the Libraries web-site ( TABLE 4: TIMELINE AND PROCEDURES: DISSERTATION DEPOSIT AND EXAMINATION Steps Thesis committee agrees that the student s thesis is ready for examination Approximately 4 weeks before the anticipated date of deposit of the e-thesis Supervisor recruits dissertation examiners (in consultation with the student) Confirmation of internal and external examiners Initial submission of e-thesis Actions Supervisor and committee members complete the PhD Final Thesis approval form. Student/supervisor determine potential dates for the oral defence, considering the availabilities of the Defence Chair (i.e, PhD program director or delegate). Plan the exam date for approximately 5-6 weeks after the anticipated date of initial thesis deposit. Supervisor contacts potential Internal and External Examiners with the approximate date of defense see for information on selecting examiners. The supervisor recruits the other members of the oral defense see regulations on Membership of the Oral Defence Committee Supervisor ensures completion of the Doctoral Thesis Nomination of Examiners Form (available at Student fills out required forms posted on GPS website at and obtains required signatures. Student s a scanned copy of the forms along with the initial e-thesis to and to the GSAC for the student s records. 49

55 N.B: Please follow GPS instructions on how to name each.pdf document see "Required Forms Confirmation of Oral Exam Committee At least 4 weeks before the tentative date of the exam *Supervisor should return the completed Oral Defence Form to the GSAC as soon as possible, as the form must be received by the Thesis Office at least 4 weeks before the tentative exam date to allow time to arrange for a Pro-Dean, check the student s file, etc. Approximately one week before the scheduled oral exam GPS Student also s a copy of the completed form to the GSAC for the student s record. Within a few days following receipt of the e-thesis, Thesis office sends an Oral Defence Form to the Graduate Student Affairs Coordinator (GSAC), who forwards a draft of the form to the student and Supervisor for listing of the oral s tentative date, names and contact info of the membership (date is considered as tentative until GPS receives the reports from the examiners indicating a pass). GSAC returns the final copy of the completed Oral Defence Form to the thesis office. All examiners are sent a PDF of the thesis, unless they specifically request a hard copy. If extenuating circumstances require the exam date to be sooner that 4 weeks after return of the Oral Defence Form, the supervisor or PhD Program Director can contact the Thesis office to try to negotiate the exam date. GSAC books the room for the exam, and s the Oral Defense Committee Members with the tentative, date, time of the oral as well as any important information regarding the Oral Defense procedures (i.e. private session prior to the defense, post-defense deliberations, etc.) All committee members are sent a PDF of the thesis, unless they specifically request a hard copy. Student is responsible for arranging audiovisual needs for the PPT presentation. GPS thesis coordinator s the Supervisor and Committee members (with a copy to the GSAC) notifying the unit of the results of the External and Internal Examiners reports and the name of the Pro- Dean. If the result is a pass, GSAC s an official notice announcing the Oral defense to the following: PhD students, in house faculty, members of the oral defense committee members. The GSAC also prepares any notices to be posted on the day of event. 50

56 Day of the exam Contact the School Secretary to order food/refreshments for the post-exam reception, if one is planned. The GSAC posts notices for the event; helps set up the room for the exam, and the food for the reception. Pre-defence meeting held by in a separate room immediately prior to the exam. Following successful completion of the exam Submission of final e-thesis Thesis exam Chair welcomes the audience, introduces the student and Pro-Dean and reviews the proceedings for the audience. Examination committee members complete and sign the Certificate of Oral Defence form, which is returned to Thesis Office by the Pro-Dean. For instructions for submission of final corrected thesis after the dissertation exam, see: Supervisor must approve final e-thesis on line to complete submission to GPS 51

57 8. CONFLICT PREVENTION AND RESOLUTION 8.1 CONFLICT RESOLUTION POLICY AND DEPARTMENTAL DISPUTE RESOLUTION PROCEDURE There are two (2) different kinds of conflict resolution available to students: Informal conflict resolution, and Formal grievance procedure. These procedures (outlined at are intended to aid in the resolution of conflicts between graduate students and their supervisors (or thesis advisory committees) as outlined in the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies Calendar. Students should always attempt to resolve such conflicts within the School before seeking outside assistance. The confidentiality of the issues raised at each step will be ensured to the greatest extent possible. However, students who are confronted by violent behaviour, discrimination, or harassment should immediately arrange to see the Dean of Students, the Associate Dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, a Sexual Harassment Assessor or the Assistant Dean (WELL Office Informal Conflict Resolution The students should initiate informal conflict resolution by speaking with those who are closest to their situation. If the student remains unsatisfied with the situation after having attempted to resolve a problem informally within the School, the student can move one step up in the process and consult with a different person. The following is the recommended path to follow for informal conflict resolution. At any point in these procedures, students can ask that their conversations and meetings be kept confidential. Step 1: The Supervisor Normally, the student s supervisor is best placed to address any misunderstandings or resolve any conflicts. If the student does not feel comfortable speaking to the supervisor, or if the discussions are unproductive, the student should contact the Director or Assistant Director of the PhD program at the School. Step 2: The Director or Assistant Director of the PhD Program Since the Director/Assistant Director should be knowledgeable about all the policies at the level of the School and the university concerning graduate studies, they are well placed to assist in the resolution of any problems that arise relating to the student s progress in the program requirements. The student may request that the Director/Assistant Director serve as a mediator in the conflict. If the Director/Assistant Director is in a conflict of interest, the student can also contact the Director of the School. 52

58 Step 3: The Director of the School The Director of the School should be contacted in cases where the Director/Assistant Director is in conflict of interest or if attempt by the Director/Assistant Director to mediate or resolve the problem have been unsuccessful. Step 4: Assistant Dean (WELL Office The WELL Office provides a confidential environment where learners can discuss concerns freely. No member of The WELL Office team has an evaluative role. The Assistant Deans provide guidance and advocacy for learners who are undergoing academic difficulty or have encountered mistreatment within the learning environment. Step 5: Associate Dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies The Associate Dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies is responsible for facilitating conflict resolution between graduate students and their supervisors or departments. Meetings are by appointment only, and are confidential Formal Grievances, Appeals, and Disciplinary Procedures Conflicts may arise which cannot be resolved through informal channels. The grievance procedure can be used to file a formal complaint against any member of McGill (staff or student) who infringes on a student s rights. The Code of Student Grievance Procedures can be found in the Handbook on Student Rights and Responsibilities ( The formal grievance procedure can be a stressful and time-consuming procedure and should be used only when all informal channels fail. Initiating a formal grievance: Before initiating a formal grievance, the student should be sure that he/she has exhausted all informal resolution procedures described above. If this has been done, but the informal procedures have not been successful, the student must write a formal letter to the Chair of the Senate Committee on Student Grievances stating: the grievance the procedures that have already been tried; and how the student wishes this problem to be resolved. Formal Grievance Filed: McGill s Code of Student Grievance Procedures found in the Handbook on Student Rights and Responsibilities ( outlines the procedures and people involved in a formal grievance. Students who becomes involved in a formal grievance procedure should read these thoroughly and review them with a person who has experience with the regulations. The people involved in a formal grievance include: Chair of the Senate Committee on Student Grievances. The Senate Committee on Student Grievances (hereafter the Committee) shall consist of nine voting members, being four academic staff and four students (two graduate and two (2) undergraduate), plus a Chair, none of whom need be members of Senate. A legal assessor who shall act as a non-voting member of the Committee shall be nominated by Senate. 53

59 Witnesses (the student, or the other party, may wish to bring witnesses to the hearing to testify in the case. Witnesses can be cross-examined by the other party). The Student. The Respondent (the person or people with whom the student has a grievance). The decision of the Committee shall be final within the jurisdiction of the University, save for a challenge taken to the Appeal Committee for Student Discipline and Grievance. Appeals If the student is dissatisfied with the outcome of the grievance, he/she may file an appeal. An appeal will only be granted: Where new evidence which was not available to a party at the time of the original hearing has been discovered; or Where a breach of natural justice has occurred; AND where the outcome of the case at the original hearing might have been substantially affected by any of the above circumstances. Either party can file an appeal, and must do so within 14 days of receiving notice from the Senate Committee on Student Grievances of the results of the original grievance hearing. Important Resources Under the Code of Student Grievances, both the student and the party against whom the student is grieving have the right to be accompanied by an advisor in all proceedings. The advisor must be a member of the university community and must not be paid for these services. Generally, an advisor is someone whom the student trusts and who is knowledgeable about University regulations and policies. Often, students choose an advisor from the McGill Legal Information Clinic ( the Committee for Graduate Student Support, or the PGSS ( 8.2 POLICY ON CHANGE OF SUPERVISION Changing Supervisor once a Working Relationship has been established Reasons for requesting a change of supervisor include: A change in the direction of his/her research; A sudden loss of funding; Conflict or incompatibility. Changing one s research supervisor in any circumstance is a serious step and should only be undertaken if the student believes that the change is truly in his/her best interest. The following questions should first be considered In the case of conflict or incompatibility: o Has the student tried discussing the problems/situation with the supervisor? o Has the student tried informal conflict resolution? o Have the discussions about the problems been sufficiently clear? Do both the student and the supervisor agree that there is a problem? o Have the student and the supervisor tried to resolve the problem? 54

60 Has the student sought advice from trusted colleagues and friends? Has the student discussed the circumstances with the Director or Assistant Director of the PhD program and the Director of the School? Has the student discussed with the supervisor and/or the Director/Assistant Director of the PhD program, and the Director of the School, the implications of changing supervisors? Has the student considered who else in the School will have the knowledge, experience, time, interest to supervise their research? Has the student discussed changing supervisor with this prospective supervisor? Has the prospective supervisor expressed an interest in supervising the student s research? Student s Responsibilities when changing Supervisor While student s have the right to change supervisor, they also have certain responsibilities: Provide sound reasons for requesting the change of supervisor. Find a replacement supervisor, with assistance as necessary from the Director/Assistant Director of the PhD Program or the Director of the School. Inform the original supervisor in a timely fashion of the student s intention to leave, once a replacement supervisor has been found. Return any equipment, data and resources that were entrusted to the student by the original supervisor. Ensure that the original supervisor s intellectual property rights are respected within the new project Supervisor s Responsibilities Treat the student s request for change of supervision in a professional manner. Guide their students through to final completion of their program, provided that the student s documented performance remains satisfactory. However, in some cases, a supervisor may decide to terminate the relationship (for instance, unresolved conflict). If this occurs, the supervisor, in consultation with the Director of the PhD program, must ensure that the student will have continuous supervision for the remainder of their program Responsibilities of the School Establish, in writing, clear procedures for dealing with changes of supervision and ensure that the resulting document is made available to students. Assign a replacement supervisor when the original supervisor terminates the supervisory relationship. 55

61 APPENDIX 1. Confirmation of Thesis Committee Form Ingram School of Nursing PhD PROGRAM Confirmation of Thesis Committee Formation Student s Name I.D. # Month and Year of Program Entry: (Print Clearly) NAME Supervisor: 1. Confirmed Members of the PhD Thesis Committee TITLE and MAJOR ROLE ON DEPT or INSTITUTION COMMITTEE (i.e., statistician, substantive expert) Signature 2. Signatures: Date: PhD Program Director Date: Director of the School

62 APPENDIX 2: Course Requirement Form Ingram School of Nursing COURSE REQUIREMENT FORM STUDENT NAME: MCGILL ID # Thesis Supervisor (s): PhD Program - Course Requirements Course Number & Title NUR Quantitative Research 3 Credits Term planning to take course: (specify if course to be completed at another institution) NUR Theory Development in Nursing NUR Qualitative Nursing Research Prerequisite courses (if needed); - Minimum (3) selected substantive or methodological courses : Indicate course numbers and titles:

63 7. FOR ADMINISTRATIVE USE ONLY NUR2 701 (Comprehensive Examination) To be done within two (2) semesters after all required courses have been successfully completed. Credits 1 Date and Time: Other Requirements: Development dissertation/thesis of Final Thesis with Nomination of Examiners form submitted to Graduate Studies on: PhD Oral Defense Convocation: Date: Time: Place: Date: Approved for Convocation: Notes: 58

64 APPENDIX 3. PhD Thesis Proposal Approval Form Ingram School of Nursing The PhD Thesis Committee of: PhD PROGRAM PhD Thesis Proposal Approval Form Student s Name I.D. # have reviewed and approved the thesis research proposed by the student entitled: having found it to be sufficiently well developed for formal presentation and examination. 1. NAME (Print) Date Role on Committee (supervisor, co-supervisor, statistician etc) Title and DEPT or INSTITUTION SIGNATURE

65 APPENDIX 4. Comprehensive Examination Form A Written Component Report for Examiner Student: Ingram McGill Ingram School of Nursing COMPREHENSIVE EXAMINATION EVALUATION FORM A WRITTEN COMPONENT Report of the Examiner (the evaluation may be shared with the student) Title of Proposal: Due Date of Evaluation Report: Examiner: Student s Thesis Supervisor: Co-Supervisor: EVALUATION OF WRITTEN PROPOSAL LITERATURE Relevant literature is concisely summarized. Gaps in current knowledge and/ or limitations of previous research are clearly identified and provide a clear rationale for the proposed study. The theoretical/conceptual underpinning of the study is well articulated and justified. Pass Pass with minor revisions Requires major revisions (specify) 60

66 PURPOSE/STUDY QUESTIONS Study purpose is clearly stated after the literature review and flows logically from the critical review of the literature. Pass Pass with minor revisions Requires major revisions (specify) METHODS Methods chosen fit will with the research question and the stated purpose of the study and are clearly outlined in sufficient detail. Pass Pass with minor revisions Requires major revisions (specify): SAMPLE Specific details & justification regarding sample size (i.e., power calculation), inclusion, exclusion criteria and process for selecting participants are included and fit with the purpose of the study. Pass Pass with minor revisions Requires major revisions (specify): INSTRUMENTATION/INTERVIEW GUIDE/OTHER For Qualitative studies: Interview guideline, observation grid and other documents are broadly and clearly described in the text and the specific questions are included in 61

67 appendices. Questions are simply and clearly stated, ordered in a way that does not bias responses, and flow in an appropriate and logical fashion. For Quantitative studies: measures, questionnaires are fully described along with their psychometric properties (when applicable) in text and copies included in appendices. Order of administration is explained and justified. Pass Pass with minor revisions Requires major revisions (specify): DATA COLLECTION Details for data collection procedures are provided such that it is clear what will be done by whom, when and where. Pass Pass with minor revisions Requires major revisions (specify): DATA ANALYSIS Data analysis procedures are described in sufficient details so the steps to analysis are clear and address each of the study objectives/hypotheses appropriately. Pass Pass with minor revisions Requires major revisions (specify): ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS Ethical considerations address the issues of confidentiality, voluntary informed consent, withdrawal, risks and benefits, data storage. The appropriate consent forms are provided 62

68 in the Appendix. Pass Pass with minor revisions Requires major revisions (specify) WRITING AND APA FORMAT Easy to read and follow. Sentences clearly written. Ideas flow logically. Paragraphs are short & well defined. Headings are used to organize sections. Paper is carefully edited with few typographical or spelling errors. All references are properly cited in text and referenced in bibliography. Correctly formatted in APA 6. Pass Pass with minor revisions Requires major revisions (specify): Overall Strengths: Areas to Improve: Final Grade: Pass Pass with minor revision(s) Pass with some major revision(s) Fail (must resubmit) Pass on resubmission Fail on resubmission Date: Signature Examiner: 63

69 APPENDIX 5. Comprehensive Examination Form A Written Component Report for Examiner Ingram McGill Ingram School of Nursing Student: Title of Proposal: COMPREHENSIVE EXAMINATION EVALUATION FORM A WRITTEN COMPONENT Report of the Chair Due Date of Evaluation Report: Examiners: Student s Thesis Supervisor: Co-Supervisor: EVALUATION OF WRITTEN PROPOSAL LITERATURE Relevant literature is concisely summarized. Gaps in current knowledge and/ or limitations of previous research are clearly identified and provide a clear rationale for the proposed study. The theoretical framework of the study is well articulated and justified. Pass Pass with minor revisions Requires major revisions (specify) PURPOSE/STUDY QUESTIONS Study purpose is clearly stated after the literature review and flows logically from the critical review of the literature. Pass Pass with minor revisions Requires major revisions (specify) 64

70 METHODS Methods chosen fit will with the research question and stated the purpose of the study and are clearly outlined in sufficient detail. Pass Pass with minor revisions Requires major revisions (specify): SAMPLE Specific details & justification regarding sample size (i.e., power calculation), inclusion, exclusion criteria and process for selecting participants are included and fit with the purpose of the study. Pass Pass with minor revisions Requires major revisions (specify): INSTRUMENTATION/INTERVIEW GUIDE For Quantitative studies: measures, questionnaires are fully described along with their psychometric properties (when applicable) in text and copies included in appendices. Order of administration is explained and justified. For Qualitative studies: Interview or survey questions are broadly and clearly described in the text and the specific questions are included in appendices. Questions are simply and clearly stated, ordered in a way that does not bias responses, and flows in an appropriate and logical fashion. Pass Pass with minor revisions Requires major revisions (specify): 65

71 DATA COLLECTION Details for data collection procedures are provided such that it is clear what will be done by whom, when and where. Pass Pass with minor revisions Requires major revisions (specify): DATA ANALYSIS Data analysis procedures are described in sufficient details so the steps to analysis are clear and address each of the study hypotheses appropriately. Pass Pass with minor revisions Requires major revisions (specify): ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS Ethical considerations address the issues of confidentiality, voluntary informed consent, withdrawal, risks and benefits, data storage. The appropriate consent forms are provided in the Appendix. Pass Pass with minor revisions Requires major revisions (specify) WRITING AND APA FORMAT Easy to read and follow. Sentences clearly written. Ideas flow logically. Paragraphs are short & well defined. Headings are used to organize sections. Paper is carefully edited with few typographical or spelling errors. All references are properly cited in text and referenced in bibliography. Correctly formatted in APA 6. Pass Pass with minor revisions Requires major revisions (specify): 66

72 Overall Strengths: Areas to Improve: Final Grade Written Component: Pass Pass with minor revision(s) Pass with some major revision(s) Fail (must resubmit) Pass on resubmission Fail on resubmission Date: Signature Chair: Date: Signature Director: 67

73 APPENDIX 6. Comprehensive Examination Form B Oral Component Ingram McGill Ingram School of Nursing COMPREHENSIVE EXAMINATION EVALUATION FORM B ORAL COMPONENT Student: Title of Proposal: Date of Written Evaluation: Date of Oral Examination: Examining Committee: Student s Thesis Supervisor: Co-Supervisor: EVALUATION STRENGTHS: 1. Presentation: 2. Response to Questions: Student: 68

74 ORAL EXAMINATION LIMITATIONS: 1. Presentation: 2. Response to Questions: RECOMMENDATIONS FINAL GRADE ORAL EXAMNATION Pass Fail must retake Pass on retake Fail on retake Signatures: Chair, Comprehensive Examination Committee: Date: Director, PhD Program/or designate: Date: 69

75 APPENDIX 7. Comprehensive Examination Letter Ingram McGill Ingram School of Nursing COMPREHENSIVE EXAMINATION LETTER Montreal, Month-Day-Year Student Name RN PhD (c) Ingram School of Nursing (ISON) McGill University Re: Comprehensive Examination Student Name, Date Dear Student Name, On behalf the Comprehensive Examination Committee, I am pleased to confirm that you successfully passed your comprehensive examination on (Date) for your project entitled: title. The comprehensive examination (written protocol and oral presentation) demonstrated that you have sufficient strength in terms of scientific knowledge, originality of thought and the capacity for clear expression to continue your doctoral research. The Comprehensive Examination Committee Members (external examiners) were Dr XXX (Professor ISON) and Dr XXX (Professor ISON). Sincerely, Chair Name Chair, Comprehensive Exam Ingram School of Nursing ISON cc Director Name, Director PhD Program 70

76 APPENDIX 8. PhD Final Thesis Approval Form Ingram School of Nursing The PhD Thesis Committee of: PhD PROGRAM PhD Final Thesis Approval Form Student s Name I.D. # have reviewed final drafts of the student s thesis entitled: and agree that is it ready to be submitted to the Thesis Office for the dissertation examination. 1. NAME (Print) Date SIGNATURE Please return the completed form to the Graduate Student Affairs Coordinator with a c.c. to the PhD Program Director. 71

77 APPENDIX 9. Examiner Report Doctoral Thesis 72

78 APPENDIX 10. Notice to Faculty McGill University, Ingram School of Nursing PhD Comprehensive Examination The successful completion of the Comprehensive Examination allows the PhD student to achieve candidacy status in the program and begin his/her dissertation research Student: Thesis Supervisors: Title: Date: Time: Location: Please note: There will be no admission once the student s presentation is in progress. The examination component which follows the student s presentation will only be open to the Comprehensive Examination Committee. 73

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