Information for Current Graduate Students > Academic Progress > Writing Your Research
Do you see a light at the end of the tunnel?
For graduate students required to write a thesis for graduation, it comprises a large part of their program and is a long process, summarizing their research experience during their time in graduate school. In order to submit a proper thesis, one must become familiarized with the structure and style that is accepted by the University of Guelph's ETD (Eletronic Theses and Dissertations) system, in addition to meeting deadlines for timely submission.
For Master's by Coursework students, your major paper entails a course that is "registered" for completion. Please see the Courses page for more details on this.
General guidelines in writing and submitting your thesis can also be found in the Office of Graduate Studies website. This page has been adapted from the Office's content.
The Office of Graduate Studies accepts either the monograph or manuscript format.
Monograph format: A thesis written in this format structures chapters around a central topic/issue (i.e. chapters on Introduction, Literature Review, Methodology, Results, and Conclusions).
Manuscript format: A thesis written in this format treats elements of the research program separately for each chapter. This typically features the incorporation of several discrete articles appropriate for scientific journal publication (i.e. chapters on Published articles, Submitted articles, and Unpublished work in publication format). Theses written in this format must include:
- Transitioning materials that integrate across the different chapters/articles, such as (at minimum) an overarching introduction and a concluding discussion chapter; and
- the student must be the primary or sole author of any featured manuscripts and must have had a major or sole role in the design of the research, as well as the preparation and composition of the manuscripts.
Note: The publication or acceptance for publication of research results prior to the thesis defence in no way impacts the University's evaluation of the work at the time of the thesis examination process.
The Office of Graduate Studies features a Thesis Template (see "2. Organization of the Thesis" section), which serves as a general outline of how your thesis should be structured. As this can apply to a wide range of disciplines, it would be a good idea to consult your advisor if there are any additional steps and procedures that must be included.
It is suggested that you review several published theses (albeit expected when familiarizing with one's research and background information upon starting a graduate program) and acquaint yourself with the structure of a thesis written in the area of animal/agricultural sciences. In addition to receiving hard-copy theses from your advisor of past graduate students from your laboratory, you may also find relevant theses in electronic format via the Atrium (the University's archives for published dissertations) and Library and Archives Canada.
Your advisory committee is responsible for evaluating your thesis from all standpoints, including neatness, mechanics, and technical/professional competency. This will typically require you to submit multiple drafts of your work to your committee, and multiple feedbacks and revisions received in return.
The Office of Graduate Studies has developed a Thesis Submission Control Sheet, which features a checklist of all required items that must be completed prior to the final submission of your thesis. To obtain clarification of any of the requirements, please refer to their website for all of the information you need. There are also other supplementary forms and documents that you may or may not need over the course of your work, which can be accessed in the "Thesis and Completion Forms" section of the Forms and Documents page of the Office of Graduate Studies.
This also must be done in a timely manner to meet deadlines.
It is important to note that (as of July 2011) the University of Guelph requires the electronic submission of all theses. Electronic Theses and Dissertations (ETD) processing is an easier, quicker, cheaper, and more environmentally-friendly method to receive and store theses written by students.
Upon preparation of a final draft of your manuscript, it is recommended that you consolidate all of your thesis chapters into one single file (if not done so beforehand), and convert the file as a PDF (portable document format) document. This is currently the only accepted method for Library and Archives Canada to harvest your thesis upon publication, and store your thesis in their online library.
However, there are certain circumstances (i.e. you wish to attach supplementary multimedia content of your thesis in addition to your final PDF file) in which submitting multiple files are preferred. In order for every single one of your file to be opened and accessed properly, there are numerous formatting conditions that must be met. You can find a list of recommended formats and conditions in section "3. Electronic Format Requirements" in the Preparation of Your Thesis page within the Office of Graduate Studies webpage.
General formatting guidelines for fonts, printing, spacing and margins, numbering, referencing, tables and figures, and illustrations/charts can be found in section "4. General Format" in the above OGS webpage.
If you wish to obtain a printed copy of your thesis for your examining committee during your defence and/or for personal use, you must follow guidelines within the "7. Print Formatting" section in the above OGS webpage. To obtain a bound copy of your physical thesis (if the department requires a copy to be kept in the office), this process is done via consultation of M&T Printing Group. You can contact them for questions regarding submission, binding, delivery, and quotes via email@example.com .
The Schedule of Dates can be found in the Graduate Calendar, listing all of the important days and their description.
The McLaughlin Library offers a plethora of informative workshops, events, and online resources to help you in your thesis writing. Keep a close eye on workshops and events via the Library Workshop Events page and the departmental listserv emails.
The full list of all services offered by the University Library in relation to thesis composition, presentation, and public speaking can be found in the Scholarly & Professional Development page under the Library Offerings section.
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