Graduate student meeting

Candidacy & Dissertation Procedures

Information for Werklund EdD and PhD students on candidacy and dissertation procedures.

Candidacy Examination

For guidance in preparing the research proposal, please connect with your supervisor. Supervisors may access up-to-date resources in the GPE – Information and Resources D2L.

The Werklund School of Education Candidacy procedure falls under the Faculty of Graduate Studies Candidacy Regulations.

Graduate Programs in Education candidacy procedures entail the following:

  1. Completed Coursework: approval by supervisor
  2. Field of Study (FoS): approval by supervisory committee
  3. Research Proposal: approval by supervisory committee
  4. Oral Examination of the Research Proposal: pass by examining committee

Purpose: to ascertain that the student is ready and able to carry out high-quality doctoral level research independently, with the support of the supervisory committee.

Preparation: preparation for candidacy requires very close work with your supervisor and supervisory committee.

Timeline: the entire candidacy process must be completed within 28 months of registering in the program. If that is not the case, an extension to candidacy must be applied for.

Responsibility: as your primary mentor, it is your supervisor’s responsibility to guide you through all stages of the candidacy process.

Sign off on Stages 1 to 3:

  • Supervisor and student sign the stage 1 Course Completion form
  • Supervisory committee approves, with signatures, FoS (stage 2 form) and written research proposal

Notice of Oral Preparation: Supervisor can then initiate arrangements for scheduling the candidacy oral examination. The Notice of Oral preparation requires 6 weeks.

  • All examination committee members (supervisory committee plus 2 other faculty members) must receive the research proposal during the 6-week Notice of Oral preparation period, but not later than 3 weeks prior to the exam date.


The Doctoral dissertation is the focus of the degree program. In consultation with the supervisor, the student should formulate an appropriate thesis topic as early as possible in the program because the nature and type of proposed doctoral research will affect the time needed to complete the program.  The student’s research problem, research questions and the development of the research proposal will be tied to engagement in coursework and the preparation needed in order to complete the program. The thesis proposal must be approved by the supervisory committee before continuing towards candidacy. 

For guidance in preparing the research proposal, please refer to the Werklund School of Education Candidacy Requirements.

For guidance in preparing the final thesis/dissertation, please refer to the GPE Thesis/Dissertation Rubric and the Student Guide to the Dissertation Oral.

Ethics approval is required for all research projects involving the use of human subjects before data collection begins. Prior to submitting an ethics application, students are required to complete the TCPS 2 tutorial and upload the certificate of completion into their Researcher Profile in IRISS. Do NOT upload in the documentation section of a study. Register on theTCPS 2 website When registering, be sure to use your institution email address (name

To initiate the ethics approval process, the student must submit an application to either the Conjoint Faculties Research Ethics Board or the Conjoint Health Research Ethics Board. Applications to the CFREB or CHREB are created and submitted online using IRISS. There are no paper application forms.