Theses, Dissertations and Defendable Projects

Upon receipt of the necessary paperwork and copies of the thesis / dissertation, the Office of Graduate Programs requires at least six weeks (thesis) or eight weeks (dissertation) before the date of defence. It is extremely rare for these time requirements to be waived therefore student should plan their submission well in advance of the proposed date of defence. When identifying a date for defence, student should be aware of the deadlines and blackout periods in each semester.

Important Notices

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

  2. No recording of Defence unless pre-authorized in advance of scheduled date


At the defence before recording begins:

All individuals that the camera is capturing must provide written consent to being recorded. (The camera would only be capturing the committee and the student defending).

A sign needs to be put up outside of the room the thesis occurs in, indicating that the thesis will be recorded.

The Chair of the Defence Committee would need to announce to the audience that the defence will be recorded.

The Chair of the Defence Committee would need to ask that anyone in the audience that is not comfortable with their voice being recorded leaves (if after about a minute no one begins to move then start but if people begin leaving wait until activity ends).

Explain to the audience that the recording is being generated to be included with the printed thesis in the library and that the student will retain a personal copy as well.

The reason why these precautions are taken, is because an audience member may provide deeply personal information as a comment to the student’s defense that may not be provided if the audience member knows that the defense is being recorded.  Also, if personal information is recorded, the audience understands that their comments are being recorded and made publically available.  Finally, recording is a type of surveillance and individuals may not consciously think of being recorded and behave unintentionally in a manner that could be misunderstood.

Students: Before Organizing 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 studies)

  2. Have you ensured that all your fees and any holds have been paid? A defence cannot move forward until these fees are paid in full.

  3. 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.

  4. Have you ensured that the Office of Graduate Programs has received all your forms:  Program Approval/Revision Form, Supervisory Committee Approval/Revision Form, and a current Progress Report?  A defence cannot move forward until Office of Gradute Programs has received these forms.

External Examiner Notes​

Please read the below for further information on UNBC's policies regarding External Examiners.  Please read the "Criteria of External Examiner" document, in conjunction with Regulation 4.5.2 of the Academic Graduate Calendar.​

Prior to the Submission of Theses, Dissertations or Defendable Projects

Use the worksheet below to assist the s​tudent and the committee to decide on a date for the oral that is convenient for everyone, bearing in mind the limitations on the choice of dates in each semester.

Worksheet for Calculating Defence Date​

Request for Oral Examination for a Masters Defence (no less than 6 weeks)

Please submit both the following items together to the Office of Graduate Programs, 6 weeks prior to the defence date. (Note: paperwork & copies will not be accepted on their own and will only be taken if both submitted together as a package)

  • The GR 321: Master's Request for Oral Examination and Appointment of External Examiner
  • 2 copies of your unbound thesis and a PDF Copy of your thesis to the Office of Graduate Programs
  • Note: Practice Runs are booked by student /supervisor,(minimally two days prior to defence), by having your supervisor contact conference services.
  • This does not negate the need for Office of Graduate Programs (OGP) to receive Powerpoint Presentation, three business days prior to defence (see below)

Request for Oral Examination for a PhD Defence (no less than 8 weeks)

Graduate Program 72 Hour Rule

The defence will only proceed if the following requirements are met 4 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 irrespective 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 (25 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.
  • All contact details have been received and confirmed for members of the supervisory committee who are attending by teleconference.
  • Sets of questions have been received from committee members who are either attending by phone or are unable to attend.
  • Note that the regulations (4.5.2 and 7.10.1) now require a minimum number and composition of the examining committee to be present at the defence.

Important to 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

You will receive post defence instruction from the Office of Graduate Programs to your UNBC email address, shortly after defence. Note: You will not be considered to have met your degree requirements until ALL items indicated in those post defence instructions have been completed and any outstanding fees or holds have been paid in full.