Area-specific public lecture and examination PHD CCAP

Maximum Duration of Oral Examination

PhD Examination: 3.5 hours

PhD Examination Procedure

Introduction by the Chair - 5 minutes

Presentation of research findings/scholarly work by candidate - 30 minutes (maximum)

Public Question Period - Audience -10 minutes

Break - 5 minutes (members of the public are free to leave)

Examination Period (questions only from examiners) - 1 hour and 40 minutes

Evaluation of Dissertation

As stated in the graduate calendar “The thesis must demonstrate the candidate's capacity for original and independent work, and should include a critical evaluation of work which has previously been done in the candidate's field of research. The thesis should emphasize any new conclusions which may be drawn from the candidate's own research.” The thesis should strive to evince critical and creative thinking skills, literacy skills and communication skills and a global understanding. Theses and student must be professional and adhere to the highest ethical standards. Evaluation of the thesis and oral examination will be done holistically. Numeric grades are not required; instead the work is reported as either satisfactory or unsatisfactory.

The candidate is deemed to have passed if a simple majority of Examination Committee members vote to pass the student. An abstention is regarded as a negative vote. If the Examination Committee decides thesis and oral exam are unsatisfactory, the candidate may be given the opportunity for a second attempt. A second unsatisfactory report constitutes a recommendation to the Board of Graduate Studies that the student be asked to withdraw.

In addition to determining whether the candidate passes the exam, the Examination Committee members will also discuss the recommended and required changes to the thesis.  After each committee member recommends changes, the committee will come to a consensus about which changes the student is required to do. In the rare event of a disagreement, the Chair will decide if a requested change by a committee member can be overruled.

Following deliberations of the committee, the Examination Chair calls the student back to the examination room and verbally informs the candidate of the outcome of the Examination. If the defense is successful, changes will frequently be required. These changes may be minor or substantial.

Students should be prepared to make changes based on feedback received during the defense and must allocate sufficient time before final submission for this process. As noted above, those changes should be submitted to the Examination Chair for approval.

Following completion of the thesis revisions, the Examination Chair then submits the signed forms (i.e., Certificate of Approval, Report of the Examination Committee) to the Graduate Secretary, his/her Examination Chair report, and the Report of the External Examiner. The Graduate Secretary then contacts the student to complete graduation paperwork with the Department Chair. Once completed the student is responsible for the delivery of this paperwork along with the approved copies (2) of the thesis in its final form (following revisions) to Graduate Program Services.