Important Notices:

  1. Students will not be eligible for consideration for scheduling of defences unless their administrative paperwork is up to date.

Student Prep: Before Organizing the Dissertation Defence 

  1. Have you ensured you are registered for the semester you are planning to defend in?  (A defence cannot be scheduled unless you are registered in that semester and you have maintained continuous registration throughout your graduate program)

  2. Have you completed the form - Application for Graduation - Graduate?  PLEASE NOTE: If student has not submitted an "Application for Graduation" form to the Registrar's Office, this must be completed prior to approval of defence and required timeline.

External Examiner: To be completed and approved before initiation of the 8 week timeframe ( 40 working days) of the PROPOSED defence date

  1. External Examiner:  A distinguished scholar with particular experience both in the field of the dissertation research and in supervising doctoral students shall be chosen as the external examiner. The student's supervisory committee shall make the recommendation, and the supervisor should then make an informal inquiry as to the prospective external examiner's willingness to serve. If the individual is prepared to serve, the nomination is then made by the Supervisor and the Graduate Program Chair to the Office of Graduate Programs who makes the formal invitation to the external examiner. (Graduate Calendar 7.10.2)

    The proposed external examiner must be in a position to review the dissertation objectively and to provide a critical analysis of the work and the presentation.  It is therefore essential that the external examiner not have a current or previous association with the student, the supervisor, or the Program which would hinder this type of objective analysis. The external examiner should hold a PhD., hold an appointment with a recognized university, or be a recognized scholar in their field and have no affiliation (as described below) with the student or the supervisor.  The supervisor and the student must submit a declaration to the Office of Graduate Programs that neither party has performed collaborative research work with the external examiner within the last five years.  While the definition of "arm's length" is left to the discretion of the program, justification of the selection may be required by the Office of Graduate Programs.  If there is a change to the original chosen External Examiner, approval must be obtained from the Vice President of Research and Graduate Programs before the Request for Oral Examination is submitted.

  2. Please prepare and submit the following forms:
    GR 362: Nomination of PhD External Examiner 
    GR 364 and 364B: Declaration & Report from Doctoral Supervisory Committee and Report (Merit)
    Once each of the Supervisory Committee members have read the dissertation and agreed that it is examinable they must complete a declaration form and return to the Office of Graduate Programs

  3. All the above forms, including a PDF copy of the dissertation and two hard copies must be received in the Office of Graduate Programs as a complete package.

STEP 1: Identification of a Tentative Defence Date (Prior to Start of 8 Week Process Timeline) 

Use worksheet below to assist the student and the committee to decide on a date for the oral defence that is convenient for everyone, bearing in mind the restrictions on the choice of dates in each semester.  The written confirmation sent out to Supervisor, Committee and Student of the defence date will be the official date that has been approved by the Office of Graduate Programs.

STEP 2. Request for Oral Examination for a Doctoral Dissertation Defence (No Less than 8 Weeks)

A completed package for Requesting an Oral Examination for dissertation consists of the following 10 items that must be checked off/completed to submit this form to the Office of Graduate Programs. Any incomplete requests WILL be returned back to the Supervisor. Please check to ensure you have all the completed steps completed.

  1. Confirmation that student has passed their PhD candidacy examination. (this should have been completed within the first two years of their program)
  2. A Program Approval, Supervisory Committee and an updated Progress Report is required.
  3. GR 362: Nomination of a PhD External Examiner, with Office of Graduate Programs email approval attached to the form.                                                                  
  4. An email from Supervisor stating that the External Examiner has accepted the unofficial invitation from Supervisor and is available on the proposed date -  attending in person or via BlueJeans Video Conferencing.   Please note that the Office of Graduate Programs is NOT responsible for any costs incurred if the External Examiner attends the defence in person.  
  5. Completed GR 364 Declaration and Report from each of the Doctoral Supervisory Committee Members.  Once each of the Supervisory Committee members have read the dissertation and agreed that it is examinable they must complete a declaration form and email to the Office of Graduate Programs at grad-office@unbc.ca
  6. Required hard copies of dissertation to be handed in, as well as an Electronic PDF copy of dissertation to grad-office@unbc.ca
  7. All the above forms, PDF of Dissertation and 2 hard copies of the dissertation must be received as one package.  The Office of Graduate Programs will look after receiving the Report and Declaration from the External Examiner.
  8. A final copy of the PPT (powerpoint presentation) must be submitted at least three working days, prior to the date of defence to grad-office@unbc.ca

STUDENT'S DEFENCE BOOKLET (For the student to create)

Please see the below PhD. booklet template, which the student will use to create the dissertation booklet.  This booklet should be provided to the our office, word format to grad-office@unbc.ca in electronic form at least two (2) weeks prior to the oral examination:

  1. Biographical data (optional):  place of birth, date of birth, outstanding points in career, awards received, list of degrees and titles obtained – where and when, exact title of the dissertation, an abstract of the dissertation (not more than 350 words), list of publications.
  • NOTE: Practice Runs for Student to be booked by Student and/or through their supervisor, minimally two days prior to defence.
  • Please note the practice run does not negate the need for the Office of Graduate Programs to have: A FINAL COPY of the PowerPoint presentation to be submitted to the Office of Graduate Programs THREE DAYS before the actual defence date.

Guidelines for PhD Defence

Note:  Final presentation should be no longer than 30 minutes in length (see guidelines below)

Graduate Programs 72 Hour Rule

The defence will only proceed if the following requirements are met, 3 working days before the defence date:

  • The Office of Graduate Programs has received the final copy of the Powerpoint presentation (PPT), regardless of attendance of Supervisory Committee members.
    • This must be received regardless of any practice runs that are scheduled less than 72 hours before the defence.
    • It is still the responsibility of the student to bring a copy of the presentation on the day of defence.
  • The PowerPoint Presentation is deemed to be of the appropriate length that makes it capable of being delivered in the allocated time slot (30 minutes). The Office of Graduate Programs will query any presentations greater than 30 slides in length in order to ensure that the student understands the likelihood of not being able to present all that data.
  • The Office of Graduate Programs has received the report of the external examiner.
  • All contact details have been received and confirmed for members of the supervisory committee who are attending by teleconference or Blue Jeans Video Conference.
  • Sets of questions have been received from committee members who are either attending by phone or are unable to attend including Blue Jeans Video Conference.

Important Note: Only members of the examination committee who are present at the defence or calling in by phone/skype/bluejeans will sign the final approval pages.   The submission of questions to be asked on their behalf does not constitute a reason for signing as the person was not involved in the final decision.

POST defence:

  1. Ensure you submit required changes to your supervisor within the specified timeframe from defence as discussed with the committee.
  2. Please submit a final PDF copy of your dissertation by email to grad-office@unbc.ca.
  1. You will not be considered to have met your degree requirements until ALL items have been completed including payment of all outstanding fees and holds.
  2.  Signature Approval pages will no longer be included in any copy of the dissertation (only submitted by the Office of Graduate Programs to Registrar's Office as an official record of completion).