Each candidate for a graduate degree, with some exceptions, is required to submit a thesis based upon the research conducted under the supervision of a member of the graduate faculty. Details as to numbers of copies and arrangements for submission are given under the appropriate degree regulations. General specifications on electronic submission, format, order and binding are available on the Graduate Studies website in the University of Guelph Electronic Theses and Dissertations (ETD) Guide.

Thesis Format

The Faculty of Graduate Studies accepts theses either in monograph or manuscript format. A thesis written in monograph format organizes chapters around a central problem, for instance, with an Introduction, a Literature Review, and chapters on Methodology, Results, and Conclusions. In the manuscript format, the chapters treat separate elements of the research program, typically incorporating several discrete articles suitable for journal publication. Theses written in manuscript format may include the following:

  • Published articles
  • Submitted articles
  • Unpublished work in publication format

Publication or acceptance for publication of research results before presentation of the thesis in no way supersedes the University’s evaluation and judgement of the work during the thesis examination process.

Theses written in manuscript format must satisfy the following:

  • Inclusion of connecting materials that integrate across the different chapters/articles, including at minimum an overarching introduction and a concluding discussion chapter.
  • A statement certifying that the student is the principal or sole author of any included manuscripts and had a major or sole role in the design of the research, and the preparation and writing of the manuscripts.

Submission of Thesis

When the thesis, in its final form, has been prepared after the final oral examination, the candidate will review the thesis submission instructions and submit the electronic (.pdf format only) copy and any supplementary files via the Atrium. Care must be taken to submit the thesis with pages numbered, arranged in the appropriate order and free from typographical and other errors. Upon submission, the thesis will be reviewed for adherence to the formatting guidelines by staff in the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies within a reasonable time frame (approximately one to three working days). If confirmation of departmental/program approval has not been received by the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies via

  1. Certificate of Approval
  2. Report of Examination Committee,

the thesis will not be reviewed and final acceptance will not be issued.

As all approved submissions to the Atrium Electronic Theses and Dissertations will be harvested by the National Library and Archives Canada and published through Theses Canada portal, a signed copy of the Theses Non-Exclusive License must also be submitted to the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.

Binding of any paper copies of the thesis is the responsibility of the student. Information on binding options and locations may be found on theses submission checklist section of the University of Guelph Electronic Theses and Dissertations (ETD) Guide. As departmental requirements for bound copies of theses vary, the student is responsible for ensuring their specific requirements.

Circulation and Copying of Thesis

In normal circumstances, as a condition of engaging in graduate study in the university, the author of a thesis grants certain licences and waivers with respect to the circulation and copying of the thesis:

  1. to the chief librarian a waiver permitting the circulation of the thesis as part of the library collection;
  2. to the university a licence to make single copies of the thesis under carefully specified conditions;
  3. to the National Library of Canada a licence to upload/microfilm the thesis under carefully specified conditions.

Provision is made for the circulation and the copying of a thesis to be delayed for a period of up to twelve months from the date of successful final examination, good cause being given.

Copyright Provision

Copies of the thesis shall have on the title page the words "In partial fulfilment of requirements for the degree of Master of Arts" (or Master of Science, etc.). The International Copyright notice (©), which consists of three elements on the same line: 

  1. the letter c enclosed in a circle,
  2. the name of the copyright owner (the student) and
  3. the month and year,

should all appear as the bottom line on the title page of the thesis.

Intellectual Property

Intellectual property rights for students and staff are outlined in the Board of Governor’s approved “Policy on Intellectual Property” (June 5, 2014), available on-line at

The fundamental principle of the policy is that, subject to the specific exceptions set out in the policy, Intellectual Property is owned by those who create it.

The Policy replaces the Inventions Policy (1991), the Copyright Policy (1989) and the Software Creation Policy (1989). It does not replace or supersede any other policy or collective agreement.

Copyright Policy

Consistent with the foregoing, the Board of Governors has established an administrative policy on intellectual property including copyright. The policy statement may be consulted on the University of Guelph Policies webpage under the Intellectual Property heading at

Unacceptable Thesis

In the event that a candidate is unable to prepare a suitable thesis, the advisory committee will so report to the graduate faculty of the department (the candidate will receive a copy of the report). The department chair is responsible for ensuring that the Assistant Vice-President (Graduate Studies) is promptly and fully informed of the circumstances.

Publications Arising from Research

Graduate students share with other researchers the responsibility of disseminating information obtained in the course of their research. Accordingly, the university encourages graduate students to publish the results of their research projects without undue delay. In several departments, publication of journal articles is critical for their research programs. Such departments may establish procedures whereby the graduate student's advisor may arrange for submission of journal articles based on the graduate student's research, should the graduate student fail to make such submissions. The procedures should be in writing and should be made known to graduate students on entry into the program.