Building your thesis

Before you start

Know what to expect in grad school

Being a graduate student is a fun and exciting experience but has its challenges. We've developed some tips to help.

Graduate student best practices

Decide on your topic and format

Talk to your supervisor about your research topic and the format of your thesis. Consider doing a non-traditional thesis and ensure you apply for ethics approval if needed.

Apply for ethics approval

Know your policies

Know university policies and guidelines that affect your thesis and thesis writing:

  1. Academic Integrity
  2. Intellectual Property
  3. Copyright
  4. Examination Regulation

Protect your research idea

If your research may lead to a new idea, product or method, consider commercialization and connect with Innovate Calgary.

Innovate Calgary

While building your thesis

Your research will be made available to the public so make it the best representation of your work. Many students complete a traditional or manuscript-based thesis but many others create novels, comic books and a variety of other non-traditional outcomes. The possibilities are endless

Know general practices

Consult with your supervisor to learn more about the best practices for creating a thesis in your field of study. Many faculty websites provide information in their student handbook. We have also prepared some general guidelines for creating a traditional and manuscript based thesis

Thesis Formatting Guidelines

See examples

Want to see some examples of a thesis in your field? Check out the UCalgary thesis database of our Masters and PhD alumni's research. Keep in mind that formatting guidelines and trends in your field may have changed

The Vault

Conduct research with integrity

Make sure you are completing your research with honesty, respect and integrity towards your research subjects, your colleagues and yourself.

Learn more about research integrity

Develop your communication skills

For your thesis and for life outside of grad school get more comfortable with communicating your ideas and research. My GradSkills provides resources and opportunities to practice and improve your communication.

My GradSkills

Build on your writing skills

Connect with the Student Success Centre for resources to help strengthen your writing such as one-on-one appointments and the graduate writing community.

Student Success Centre

Get connected

You are not alone. Connect with other student researchers and/or get mentorship. Consider joining a student club, the Graduate College and/or SAGE.

Student Groups

Facing barriers to completing your degree? Connect with our Graduate Academic Specialist

After building your thesis

Finished your thesis? The end is in sight, but there are a few more things to do:

Defend it

Supervisors set up their student’s defence and supervisory committee. If you think you are ready to defend your thesis, let your supervisor know. Students should provide a copy of their thesis to the supervisory committee a least 3 weeks before their defence.

Learn more about the thesis defence

Make changes

Make the recommended changes by your defence committee and resubmit your thesis to them by the deadline. If you passed your defence with minor revisions you have 1 month to make the changes and submit your thesis to the Faculty of Graduate Studies. If you passed with major revisions, you have 6 months.

Refer to the Academic Calendar for regulations on thesis exams

Apply for convocation

As you make changes to your thesis and wait for the final approval from your supervisor/supervisory committee, make sure you don’t miss the deadline to apply for convocation and the Indigenous Graduation celebration by the writing symbols lodge


Submit your thesis

Received the final approval from your supervisor(s)? Gather the required thesis documents and submit your thesis to the Faculty of Graduate Studies by the deadline (one month from the oral defence for minor revisions and six months from the oral defence for major revisions).

Thesis Submission Process