PhD Departmental Thesis Exam Instructions

The completed PhD thesis will be examined by the supervisory committee in a Departmental Thesis Examination.

Exam Request Form

To confirm exam details, students must submit the Exam Request Form and submit their thesis to the committee and graduate office ( a minimum of 10 full working days prior to the exam. For clarity, this timeline does not include the day of the exam, or any days which the university is closed. The thesis must be sent by 9am in order for that day to count as a full working day. If the thesis is not distributed by this deadline, the graduate office will cancel the exam.

The graduate office will prepare the examination results form that will be sent to the superivisor to be returned immediately following the exam.

To book a room/AV for the exam, please contact prior to submitting the exam request form. The exam should be booked for up to 2 hours.

Thesis Formatting

The thesis must be formatted using the SGS formatting guidelines.  The supervisor must approve a final copy prior to distribution to the examiners. The complete thesis (including all references, appendices, etc.) must be provided to the all examiners and the graduate office a minimum of 10 full working days prior to the exam date (or earlier, up to 4 weeks prior, at the discretion of the exam committee).

Exam Procedures

The exam must be scheduled for 2 hours. The student may give a short presentation of about 20 minutes summarizing the major contributions of the thesis. This presentation will be followed by questions from the committee members. At the end of the examination, the student will leave the room while the committee reaches a decision. The committee will recommend (or not) that the thesis be accepted and may require revisions prior to submission to the department for the SGS Final Oral Examination.

Exam Results

The outcome of the exam is one of the following:

  • Pass, accepted as-is.
  • Pass with corrections. Thesis is acceptable subject to minor modifications such as typographical errors, punctuation to be reviewed and approved by the supervisor. Deadline for completion of corrections is a maximum of one month from the date of the exam.
  • Pass with minor modifications. Thesis is acceptable subject to minor modifications such as changes in style or less than major revisions to be approved by a subcommittee including the supervisor and at least one additional committee member. Examples of minor modifications are clarification of textual material, qualification of research findings or conclusions. Deadline for completion of minor modifications is a maximum three months from the date of the exam.
  • Major revisions, examination adjourned. Thesis requires major revisions which cannot feasibly be completed within 3 months, examining committee to reconvene within 6 months. The exam can be reconvened once and the result of a reconvened exam must be ‘pass’ (with or without corrections or modifications) or ‘fail’.
  • Fail. Thesis is not acceptable and requires more than 6 months to revise. If this is the first failure, the student can repeat the exam within one year.