The graduate thesis or dissertation is shaped by the procedures, requirements and timelines of a student’s individual program. For information on programs, thesis requirements and thesis weighting for your individual program, please speak to the graduate supervisor and/graduate administrator for your department, your departmental website and also the Graduate Calendar. Be sure to review the Thesis Examination Policy.

Integrated Thesis

Many disciplines, especially in engineering and the sciences, also accept a thesis consisting of student work based on published papers, conference proceedings or papers awaiting publication. Check with your program unit for details. More information can also be found in section 12.4 of the Graduate Calendar.

Supervision – Roles & Responsibilities

It’s important that grad students stay in close contact with their supervisor through all stages of their thesis or dissertation and be certain that they are following appropriate procedures and timelines. Please review our graduate supervision policies and guidelines for more information on promoting positive supervisory relationships and managing any problems that may arise. These include:
Graduate Supervision: Responsibilities & Expectations
Guidelines regarding Nominal Co-Supervisions with Adjunct Professors and Adjunct Research Professors
Graduate Supervision: Appointments Policy
Graduate Supervision: Complaint Procedures (in case of a dispute)

Topic Check

To see previous research conducted in your topic area, please go to our Thesis Title Search page. 

Academic Integrity & Copyright

You must abide by Carleton’s Academic Integrity Policy. That policy, along with other relevant information, is available on the Senate website. Information about copyright and intellectual property is available on our Grad Student copyright web page. The Carleton Library offers several Citation Management workshops every year. Check the Library website for dates/times. When you submit your final thesis/dissertation, you will need to read and accept an Academic Integrity Statement confirming you did follow this policy.

Research Ethics

Information and forms about all matters concerning research ethics can be found on Carleton’s Research Ethics page. Any research or study (involving human participants) conducted at Carleton facilities or undertaken by persons connected to the University that involves one of the following three scenarios must be reviewed and approved by the appropriate Research Ethics Board. Effective May 15, these boards are:

  • CUREB A which deals with research where the lead researcher is in the Faculty of Public Affairs, the Sprott School of Business, or the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, exclusive of the Department of Psychology
  • CUREB B which deals with:
    (1) research where the lead researcher is in the Faculty of Engineering and Design, the Faculty of Science, or in the Department of Psychology, and
    (2) all research involving any of the following, regardless of the researcher’s Faculty:
    i. collection of biological specimens or bodily fluids (e.g., blood, saliva, tissue samples)
    ii. use of a bio-instrument (e.g., electrodes, MRI/X-ray imaging, sensors for blood pressure or temperature)
    iii. use of a bio-intervention (e.g., administration of a drug by mouth or injection, drug testing, medical devices, rehabilitative exercise programs, mental health programs, inducing moderate or severe physical or biological or pharmacological stress).

Applications must be submitted to the Carleton Ethics Board prior to the commencement of the research or study.

Research involving biohazards materials or animals must also receive ethics approval prior to the start of the research. There are different committees to review these applications and different forms. Research that relies exclusively on publicly available information does not require REB review when the information is legally accessible to the public and appropriately protected by law; or the information is publicly accessible and there is no reasonable expectation of privacy.

Any inquiries can be sent to

Oral Examination

Master’s:  Graduate Calendar (Thesis Specifications, Section 12.2 and 12.5, Master’s)
Doctoral: Graduate Calendar (Thesis Specifications, Section 12.5, Doctoral)

Writing/Formatting Your Thesis

Here are some resources that may help you:


Your thesis must be submitted to your supervisor in examinable form by the established deadlines in the Academic Calendar in order to qualify for graduation.

Defending Your Thesis

All doctoral programs and most master’s programs require students to defend their theses before they can graduate. If you are a master’s student, you should check with your graduate program to find out whether you are required to defend your thesis.
Thesis Checklist (before you defend)
Defence – The Process
Presentation Skills

Electronic Thesis Deposit

You now need to make the revisions as requested by your committee and approved by your supervisor. Once these are made, you can then upload your thesis via our Electronic Thesis Deposit System (ETD).  Details on this process, including how to format your thesis in PDF/A, are available on our Converting to PDF/A format page. Your supervisor must approve of your upload and then send it to the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Affairs by the required deadline date.  Failure to do so will mean that you cannot graduate. If you have not received an email within a reasonable period of time that tells you that you can now apply for graduation, please check back with your thesis supervisor.

Short URL:

Thesis Requirements