Thesis and Final Oral Exam

Doctoral Thesis

Information regarding preparation of the thesis is available in the General Regulations section of the current SGS Calendar. Specific formatting guidelines must be followed to conform to the requirements of SGS and for the publication of the thesis. For more information about required fees, forms, copyright, thesis formatting, and other related matters, visit Producing Your Doctoral & Master’s Thesis.

When the student’s Supervisory Committee agrees that the thesis is ready to defend, the Supervisor will begin the process of scheduling the Final Oral Examination

Final Oral Examination

The process of scheduling the Final Oral Examination requires at least eight weeks at the best of times. There are multiple steps in the approval process and a copy of the thesis must be delivered to the external appraiser at least six weeks prior to the examination date. 

Consult the SGS Guidelines for the Doctoral Final Examination for complete details.

The External Appraiser

The external appraiser is appointed by SGS on the recommendation of the CIRHR. The supervisor of the thesis will propose a list of three or more names of possible external appraisers to the Director, who will choose one and send the recommendation and CV to SGS for approval. The external appraiser must have an arm’s-length relationship to the candidate and supervisor, and must be an associate or full professor at the home institution. 

Appraisals must be submitted to SGS at least two weeks in advance of the examination date; if they are not, the examination may have to be rescheduled. Copies of the appraisal are distributed only to the doctoral candidate, members of the examination committee and relevant administrative officers. The candidate is instructed not to communicate with the external appraiser/examiner until the examination is under way.

The Examination Committee

On the CIRHR’s recommendation, an examination committee is appointed by SGS. It must include at least four voting members to achieve quorum. The maximum number of voting members is six. All voting members of the examination committee must receive a copy of the thesis at least four weeks in advance of the examination date. 

To achieve quorum, at least two of the four voting members must be non-supervisory. At least one, and no more than three, supervisory committee members may vote. If quorum is not achieved, the exam must be cancelled and a new date set. SGS will appoint a non-voting chair to the examination committee. The chair will be a full member or member emeritus of the graduate faculty, holding no appointment to the CIRHR.