The PhD dissertation is an original piece of work that offers you the opportunity to hone your research skills, become an expert in a specialized area of knowledge, and contribute to your field of scholarship. It will set the stage for your future research career.
Your PhD dissertation is guided by your Dissertation Supervisor.
The Faculty of Graduate Studies has an excellent resource for students and their supervisors that outlines how to get the most out of the supervisor-graduate student relationship at UBC:
By the completion of the first year of coursework, you should confirm a dissertation supervisor.
In consultation with your supervisor, you will establish a dissertation supervisory committee comprised of at least three members, two of whom must be tenure-track faculty members within the School of Nursing, holding the rank, assistant professor or higher. The composition of each committee must conform to the requirements set out by the Faculty of Graduate Studies.
Within the first 24 months after admission to the doctoral program you will complete a comprehensive examination.
After successfully completing your comprehensive exam, you will work with your supervisor and committee to develop a research proposal, which must be publicly defended through an oral candidacy examination. Successful completion of the oral candidacy exam leads to advancement to candidacy, normally occurs within 36 months from admission.
- School of Nursing Candidacy Examination Guidelines
- Faculty of Graduate Studies Advancement to Candidacy Guidelines
- Faculty of Graduate Studies Recommendation for Advancement to Candidacy form
Once you have been recommended to candidacy (i.e., your proposal has been approved), you will seek ethical approval for your research from the appropriate research ethics boards and agencies. If applicable, you may then commence with the conduct of your research.
The defense is planned before the report from the external examiner is received.
Once your dissertation has been reviewed and approved by your supervisor and committee, you begin planning for your final oral examination ('the defense'). The process involves review of the dissertation by an external examiner and university internal examiners. This requires foresight and knowledge of relevant policies and deadlines. Students are advised to discuss their plans for program completion well in advance with their dissertation supervisors. The Graduate Advisor is available to assist in planning and interpreting the relevant policies.
The completed dissertation must be approved by your supervisor and committee before it is submitted to the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.
The Faculty of Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies sets the policies and procedures for dissertation completion and submission:
Resources & Links
The tracking of your progression through the doctoral students' milestones – from comprehensive exams to final oral defence – is the shared responsibility of you and your supervisor through a secure, online database called the Student Tracking System: Student Tracking System (STS).
Need advice about your PhD dissertation journey? Contact the PhD Graduate Advisor & Program Coordinator Dr. Alison Phinney.
STS is a confidential UBC database that gives you and your supervisor the opportunity to keep track of your student records and monitor your journey through the major milestones in your PhD process. Current students can log on to STS with their Campus Wide Login (CWL). Students experiencing problems with STS can contact the Student Support Office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Accessing completed dissertations of PhD Alumni
You can view all completed dissertations at cIRcle, UBC's digital database of research.