Thesis Proposal

We take a break from our regular programming to announce that…

I have passed my thesis proposal! Wooo!

As previously mentioned, I’ve been quite busy these past few weeks preparing for my thesis proposal and so have neglected my research, training, blogging, coaching, and pretty much everything in life.

Most other programs (actually every single other program that I have any knowledge of) at the University of Toronto involves a thesis proposal at the start of the PhD program for new students. This proposal is essentially a literature review and a proposal for what you want to do for your project. In ECE, however, they like to do things differently (and annoyingly). We have both a qualification exam, which is basically an oral exam with four professors that covers anything and everything you’ve ever learned in your life, and many things you haven’t learned but are expected to know. This exam should be completed by winter of one’s first year in the program (I did mine way back in April 2014). Separate from this exam is the thesis proposal, which is similar to other programs’. The thesis proposal should be done by the fall of one’s second year (ideally it would’ve been November 2014 for me).

Yeah, uh, that didn’t happen.

I basically just put it off for nearly two years. It’s actually a fairly regular occurrence in my lab so it wasn’t really the worst thing ever. In fact I believe a few students actually did their proposals a few months before they did their defenses. The department apparently sends you nagging emails at the end of your third year, though, warning you to do it before your fourth year, so I figured I might as well get it over with. It was a bit of a struggle to schedule, since my supervisors are both very busy people. It was originally scheduled for 10 am today, but they had a last-minute conflict and it ended up getting rescheduled for 8 am. I don’t even like waking up at 8 am so that was tough. I didn’t even have access to the room in which the proposal was taking place so I had to ask my supervisor to get there a little early so I could set up.

Anyway, I’m glad it’s done! It went as smoothly as could be hoped, so I’m happy about that and now I can go back to real life, yay. I am now officially a PhD candidate!

P.S. The date that a student achieves PhD candidacy apparently gets recorded on their transcript, meaning when I apply for jobs in the future, my future interviewer will probably be like “uh, why did you only become a PhD candidate in your third year” and I’ll have to give him or her shifty eyes and mumble something incoherent.


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