MASc Thesis Defense

Overview

The Master of Applied Science (M.A.Sc.) is a graduate-level study program that includes a research investigation and the writing of a thesis. Requirements for the M.A.Sc. include satisfactory completion of 30 credits of graduate-level courses, original research under the supervision of a faculty member, and a thesis. The thesis is assigned 12 credits and is counted as part of the coursework requirement. A typical completion time for the M.A.Sc. is 24 months and all students must complete the program within 5 years.

(http://www.grad.ubc.ca/current-students/student-status-classification)

Thesis Examining Committee

The thesis examination committee is proposed by the supervisor and confirmed by the Program Graduate Advisor. The committee can have the same composition as the supervisory committee. The committee must have at least 3 members, including:

  1. The research supervisor
  2. The examination chair
  3. An examiner who is normally a regular faculty member of the university, but could be from an organization with an interest in the student’s project. Such organizations include industrial partners and other research institutions. In the case that the 3rd examiner is not a UBC faculty member, it is expected that the examiner have a high level of expertise approximately equivalent to a PhD.

Thesis Exam

Before your examination, each student is expected to:

  1. Book an appropriate room for the exam. Typical rooms booked for a defense include CEME 2202, KAIS 5004, KAIS 3028, KAIS 4018.
    • To book CEME 2202, contact reception@mech.ubc.ca or call 604-822-2781 (only students with supervisor whose primary appointment is in MECH)
    • To book KAIS 5004, contact reception@apsc.ubc.ca.
    • To book KAIS 3028 or 4018, contact bookings@ece.ubc.ca.
    • Other rooms may be used as suggested by your supervisor (i.e. ICORD, CHHM, etc).
  2. Send the following details to the BME office (students@bme.ubc.ca) at least 2 weeks prior to the examination date. An announcement of the final defense will be circulated to all school faculty and students together with a copy of the thesis abstract
    • Thesis title
    • Date, time, & place
    • Abstract (PDF attachment)
    • Names of supervisor and Examining Committee (identify chair)
  3. Confirm that you have met program requirements by sending the program requirements checklist (found here: http://www.bme.ubc.ca/graduate/current/forms/student-progress-tracking/) to admin@bme.ubc.ca.
  4. Send a copy of your final thesis to each member of the examination committee at least one week prior to the exam. The candidate should be available to send an additional copy to the BME office should other parties be interested.

At the examination: This defense is open to any interested person, although the Chairperson may restrict the active participation of those not on the examination committee. The candidate will present his/her thesis to the examination committee at the defense, for a time of 20-35 minutes, and will then respond to questioning from the members, and at the discretion of the Chairperson, from others present.

Grading for BMEG 599: At the conclusion of the examination, the exam committee chair will email the recommended grade and any committee member comments for the thesis to admin@bme.ubc.ca. Any formal comments given by committee members will be added to the student’s file. A mark of at least 68% must be obtained for the completion of the degree. The grade given for the thesis should reflect the student’s work during their studies, culminating in the written thesis and oral defense. The examiners understand that the challenges faced by students vary widely from project to project, but there is an agreement on the attributes of good research work, articulated in the mark bands below.

Overall Mark Guidelines

Overall Mark Attributes (most comments captured within band generally apply)
95-100% The research involves some novelty and provides useful developments or answers to important scientific or industrial questions. The as-defended thesis is technically accurate, well structured, well written, has publication quality figures and tables.  In producing this work, the student worked independently with normal supervisor involvement. The thesis (or portions of it) is ready to be submitted to a high quality journal.  During the defense, the student can competently discuss any aspect of the thesis and has an awareness of the key literature in the field.
90-94% As above, but some of the attributes do not apply fully.  For example, the work might have required much more than average supervisor input in the research or thesis writing.
85-89% The thesis provides useful results for industry or academia. The as-defended thesis has no errors that affect the conclusions, and none that require significant new work to correct.  The thesis is mostly well-written and presented, but might require a typographical correction on each page as well as improvement to many of the figures. A good quality paper or industrial report will come from the thesis, but possibly with 40-80 hours of additional work from the student.
80-84% As above, but there are substantive gaps in the writing or content that will require 20+ hours to remedy and bring the thesis to a standard that would be acceptable for the UBC archives, and it is expected that many hours of supervisor effort is also needed to make the changes. Normally the minimum standard for continuing to PhD work (CHECK)
68-79% The thesis reflects substantial effort from the student, consistent with a 12 credit course, but major changes (in content and/writing) are required before it can be considered acceptable. In the defense, the student might show difficulty mastering some of the core principles in the thesis, or a lack of awareness of the relevant literature. There was an attempt to address an important problem, but the quality of the results do not allow useful conclusions to be drawn at the end.
Below 68% The thesis is poorly structured, difficult to read and full of errors that minimal effort would have corrected.

 

After the examination: Students must return their thesis approval form in person to the BME office for submission to the Faculty of Graduate and Post-Doctoral studies. After they have submitted their thesis approval form, each candidate must submit their completed and approved thesis to circle. Follow the instructions available on the Faculty of Graduate Studies sites:

https://www.grad.ubc.ca/current-students/final-dissertation-thesis-submission

https://www.grad.ubc.ca/current-students/graduation/program-completion

https://www.grad.ubc.ca/current-students/graduation