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Final Oral Defense

Students must be registered in the semester they are defending and in the semester they are depositing their final dissertation/thesis/major - review details regarding registration requirements.


  • The oral defense should be completed at least three weeks prior to the convocation at which the student has applied to graduate.
  • The candidate is to provide a copy of his / her dissertation to all committee members:
    • At least two weeks prior to the oral defense date for Master’s thesis or major research paper.

    • At least four weeks prior to the oral defense date for Doctoral dissertations.

  • Public notice of the defense must be received in the Faculty of Graduate Studies from the Department at least eight days in advance of the defense date. Review a list of upcoming defenses
  • The Chair of a PhD Defense will be procured from within the Faculty of Graduate Studies; the Chair will be a senior member of the Graduate Faculty from outside the program. The Chair will be named on the Notice of Defense. The Chair is non-voting.
  • The Chair of a Master's Thesis defense will be a member of graduate faculty who has not served on the candidate's Master's committee, and who is appointed by the Department Head at the time the defense is publicly announced. The chair is non-voting.
  • The candidate will present the dissertation, thesis, or major paper at a public defense. 
    • Review the "Guidelines for attendance at a final oral defense" and "Defense Procedures Guidelines" - available from the "Student Forms" webpage (under 'Thesis and dissertation forms').
  • Following a successful defense, the student must submit their document for format checking and complete the final submission (deposit) with the Faculty of Graduate Studies.

External Examiner for PhD Defenses:

The Doctoral Committee will be supplemented by an independent External Examiner at the final oral defense. As an expert in the field of research associated with that of the doctoral candidate, the External Examiner will evaluate the dissertation and will be present (either in person or by teleconference) at the defense. 

Note: All forms related to the External Examiner are available on our Student Forms webpage under "Thesis and dissertation forms".


PhD Dissertation Submission and Defense Timeline Tracker:

For your convenience, we have provided a timeline tracker form for PhD Dissertation and Submission and Defense Timelines. If you require accessibility accommodations, please do not hesitate to contact the Faculty of Graduate Studies.

Please note that the form is for personal use only and should not be returned to the Faculty of Graduate Studies.