Forms and Guidelines

Most graduate student forms are available through the School of Graduate Studies.  The forms on this page are specific to the Sociology Department and do not replace the procedures required by the School of Graduate Studies.

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  • Ethics Protocols for graduate student Major Research Papers (MRP) and Research Practicums involving research with human participants must be submitted to the UofT Research Ethics Board (REB) and not to the Department Ethics Review Committee (DERC), whether the research is low, medium or high risk. Faculty supervisors for the MRP's and Practicums must initiate the submission process for their students by logging into My Research Human Protocols (MRHP) within their My Research portal and by following the instructions for student submissions.
  • PhD Ethics Approval Application. In order for a student to create and submit a human research ethics protocol through MRHP, THEIR SUPERVISOR must FIRST assign their role via MRHP. Please note that the student’s access in MRHP will be active the day after the supervisor assigns the role or reassigns the protocol. For details on the Ethics Approval application process please click the link to the application.
  • Students wishing to see the old Ethics Approval form can review the PDF icon2016 Ethics Application Form (PDF) from the Department of Sociology.
  • To request an MRP please have your mentor complete this form and submit it to the graduate office.  For grade submissions once the MRP is complete, instructors need to complete an the FileMRP Grade Submission Form.docx.

PhD Thesis Guidelines


Documenting Academic Progress  

Achieving milestones and meeting time targets ensures good academic standing. Satisfactory progress refers to every best effort on the part of students to meet those time targets. Graduate students are required to remain in “good standing” and to make “satisfactory progress” toward the completion of the degree requirements. Please consult SGS for further details   Some departmental awards (e.g., travel) are only available to students in good standing. 

Although academic standing is operationalized using time targets, it is important to note what may lead to not meeting those targets. These tend to have compounded and cumulative effects which put students at risk of falling out of good standing and satisfactory progress. These include: failing one or more comprehensive exams, lack of interaction and engagement with faculty and obtaining a suitable supervisor, a lack of planning and dialoguing with supervisor in developing a satisfactory dissertation proposal (which can also lead to an unsuccessful defense of a proposal), unrealistic plans and problematic execution of data gathering and analyses as a result of inadequate planning, and inadequate meeting schedules and ineffective plans of action leading to delays in writing and successfully defending a dissertation.  

Student and supervisor (and committee members) should meet regularly and have productive sessions that include feedback and frank conversations about progress. These meetings are normally held once a student has provided written work (an abstract, outline, intro, chapter, etc.) so there is work for faculty to comment on. While conversations can be over email or via Zoom, it is strongly recommended that in-person meetings be held regularly throughout the year. Delays in successfully writing the proposal can lead to the need to file candidacy extensions; delays in writing the dissertation and defending the dissertation can lead to the need for programmatic extensions. 

Pre-candidacy through proposal defense:

Defending a dissertation proposal is an important milestone. Students should defend their dissertation proposal in year 3 and no later than year 4. Delays can lead to a need for filing candidacy extensions.  

Important: Students may request up to 2 standard extensions to achieve candidacy (the successful defense of the proposal). Requests for extensions must be accompanied with a written document outlining what progress the student has made, and the reasons for the delay. Requests for non-standard extensions (extensions beyond 2) are rare and considered only in the most serious of situations. They are approved at the discretion of the graduate office in consultation with SGS.  

To ensure good academic standing, students should adequately prepare for their comprehensive exams, develop a satisfactory dissertation proposal, organize an effective dissertation writing schedule, and maintain ongoing, regular conversations with their supervisor (and committee members).  This is critical for successfully putting together and defending a dissertation and to maintaining good academic standing.  


Students can request up to 4 program extensions. Requesting extensions 3 and 4 are rare and must be accompanied with detailed documentation. They are granted at the discretion of the graduate office. Requests 3 and 4 are also approved by SGS. Program extension requests along with supporting documentation are forwarded to SGS by the Graduate Office. There are no program extensions beyond a fourth.  

Documenting Progress through the Academic Progress Form:

It is imperative that progress reports and requests for extensions document in detail the student’s current status and any reasons for delays. Student and supervisor (and the whole committee once formed) should meet in early spring to discuss progress (that is, before completing the progress report). Students should provide detailed information about their plan of action in completing their degree. Supervisors must read and agree that the student’s assessment is realistic and accurate, and consistent with the supervisor’s own understanding. Supervisors should make use of the comment section where necessary to elaborate on progress and setbacks. These should be honest assessments as reports are part of a student’s academic record.  Other committee members must sign these forms too.  

Current progress forms are compared to prior years especially in cases where there is consistent lack of progress. Failure to provide adequate information will lead to forms being sent back to the student/supervisor before they can be approved and signed by the Graduate Office. In many cases, the Graduate Office may request meetings with students or supervisors, or both to gather more information and determine a plan of action.  

Leave of Absence (LOA) Policy: 

Graduate students can request personal leaves of absences (LOAs). These are not the same as medical leaves which require specific documentation.  

Students must apply for a LOA, they are not automatically granted. One LOA consists of three semesters (e.g., Fall, Winter, Summer).  

Students can take a full LOA consisting of three terms, or partial LOA consisting of less than 3 terms. They need not be consecutive.  

Please note: LOAs beyond 3 terms are rare and considered only in the most serious of circumstances. LOAs beyond 3 terms are approved at the discretion of the Graduate Office.   

Other considerations: 

While you are on leave, research and other activities may need to move forward. It is important to discuss how the leave of absence will affect your academic progress and the anticipated conditions for resuming your academic progress when your leave ends.  

You MUST review these issues with your supervisor and Graduate Office.  

Note that because you are not paying tuition when on leave unless you opt-in, you will not have access to University resources.  

For more information, please visit SGS:,three%2Dsession%20leave%20of%20absence.  

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