Dissertation & Process

The dissertation is the major academic work for doctoral students. It takes place in three phases: proposal, research and writing, and oral exam.

1. The Proposal

For a doctoral dissertation, the supervisory committee must review the student’s research proposal and recommend its approval.

The proposal is comprised of:

  • A literature review, which may largely be based on the comprehensive paper,
  • A research question (or questions) or problem,
  • A plan for the collection of data,
  • A planned method of analysis.

2. Research and Writing

In this phase, the student will be implementing the dissertation proposal which involves the collection and analysis of data, the presentation of results, and a discussion of their implications. The student’s progress shall be supported and monitored by the Supervisor and the committee.

3. Oral Exam

In the oral exam, the student presents a short presentation on their dissertation and then their committee members and two additional examination committee members (determined by the student and their committee) take turns asking the student questions relevant to their work

Doctoral Dissertation Exam Committees

Composition of Committee

A dissertation examining committee should consist of at least five voting members, including the Chair, as follows:

  1. A representative of the Faculty of Graduate Studies, who will serve as Chair of the examining committee;
  2. One external examiner, from outside York University;
  3. One graduate faculty member from within York but outside of the School of Social Work;
  4. Two graduate faculty members from the supervisory committee, or one member from the supervisory committee and one graduate faculty member from the program.