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Types of theses

The Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies authorizes various types of theses. All manuscripts must meet the following General Guidelines, while some types of theses must meet additional requirements.

Applicable presentation guidelines

This table summarizes the presentation guidelines applicable to each type of thesis.

Type of Master's or Doctoral thesisGeneral GuidelinesAdditional Guidelines
Portfolio formatXX

Conventional Master's or Doctoral thesis

A conventional manuscript, also called a monograph, is a complete work presenting a comprehensive study of a given subject. It is made up of chapters reporting on the various stages of the research. It generally includes the following chapters: introduction, literature review, methodology, presentation and analysis of results, general discussion and conclusion.

The General Guidelines apply to this type of theses.

Article-based or combined Master's or Doctoral thesis

The Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies accepts Master's and Doctoral theses consisting of  one or more independant papers. Such theses can take one of two forms:

  • Article-based theses
    In this type of manuscript, each chapter consists of a paper.
  • Combined theses
    Combine articles or papers and conventional chapters.

The Additional Guidelines apply to these types of theses.

General conditions*

For these types of writing, the following general conditions must be met:

  • The manuscript must include a preface, an introduction and a conclusion that highlight the coherence of the student's approach.
  • The articles included must have been prepared in the course of your program as part of the research conducted to fulfill your degree requirements.
  • Both Master’s and Doctoral thesis may include work that has been published, submitted or will be submitted for publication in peer-reviewed journals.
  • You must be the first author or co-first author of the papers. The first author is the person to whom the work was assigned, who contributed most to the research, and who wrote the various parts of the paper. One or more coauthors may have contributed to the articles.
  • In some rare cases, a paper for which you have coauthor status may be included in your thesis, but only if you have made a substantial and decisive contribution to the work. In addition, the thesis may not consist solely of papers written as coauthor, but must include at least one article written as first or co-first author.

Differences between authorship and coauthorship status (PDF, in French only).

*General conditions adopted by the FESP Conseil facultaire (December 4, 2023). Effective Summer Term 2024 and apply to all students enrolled in a research Master's or Doctoral programs, unless their program specifies otherwise.

Specific conditions

Before moving forward with an article-based thesis, make sure to first consult your program director to ensure this thesis format is allowed and to learn about the specific rules to be followed.  

Attention must be given to copyright issues if you intend to have the paper published before submitting your thesis. More information on this topic may be found in the “Release and publication of your research results” of our website.

Portfolio format thesis

A portfolio format thesis consists of various relatively independent original components, created to fulfill requirements of the academic program, organized according to a specific and coherent research project.

In this type of Doctoral thesis, the Additional Guidelines apply to each chapter consisting of an original piece or an article.

While not exhaustive, here is a list of elements that can be part of a portfolio format thesis:

  • Policy reports and statements
  • Inventions, models, prototypes, business plans, patents, technological licenses
  • Educational programs, course materials, assessment tools
  • Cultural productions such as creative works and archives from festivals, exhibitions, cultural or artistic events
  • Various digital artifacts
  • It may also include regular chapters and articles submitted for publication.

In this type of thesis, each original component constitutes a chapter.

Similar to an article-based or combined thesis, a portfolio format thesis includes a preface, an introduction, and a conclusion that highlight the coherence of the student's approach.

The Ph.D. program that allows the portfolio format thesis must clearly state this in its description, and specify the conditions that apply to this type of writing.

For this type of writing, the following general conditions must be met:

  • Discuss with your supervisor to ensure that this type of thesis fits your research project.
  • Be aware that crafting a thesis from various components may require a good knowledge or mastery of certain communication tools or new technologies.
  • Be first author or co-first author of every original components included in the thesis.

Articles written with coauthors

Copyright must be respected when including a coauthored article.

Articles written with coauthors may be included in your Master's or Doctoral thesis provided you obtain written permission from each of the coauthors. Permission should be obtained while the thesis is being written. Coauthor permission forms (PDF) must be submitted at the time of initial submission.

Published or forthcoming articles

You’ll need to check with the publisher to ensure that publication of your article doesn’t prevent you from including it in your thesis or restrict its subsequent release.

Note that a delay in the publication of an article cannot justify postponement of the evaluation of your thesis.

For more information about the reproduction and dissemination of works for research purposes at Université Laval, consult the Copyright Office website  (in French only).

Submitted articles may be included in your thesis regardless of how they are received by the editorial board.

Check with your program director to find out which peer-reviewed journals you can submit your articles to, so they can be considered for inclusion in your Master’s or Doctoral thesis.

When a paper has been coauthored:

  • Coauthors’ must consent to publication of the article in your thesis. The coauthors' authorization form (FES-100) (PDF) must be provided to FESP at the time of initial submission.
  • Or, if the article is published at the time of initial submission, have obtained authorization from the publisher.

The first author is the person to whom the work has been entrusted, who has carried out the majority of the scientific work and who has written the various parts of the article.

Each person who makes a substantial contribution to the materialization of an idea must be declared coauthor of the resulting document. The list of contributors must be included in the Acknowledgements section of the thesis.

Differences between author and coauthor status (PDF) (in French only)

In the event of a discrepancy between the French and English texts, the French version prevails.