The best way to prepare for a smooth examination process is to plan ahead and communicate clearly with the supervisory committee members and Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. Planning in advance for the Final Doctoral Examination can significantly reduce stress for everyone involved. All timelines represent an estimate in a best-case scenario, and they are not guaranteed.
Under normal circumstances, the Final Doctoral Examination process takes four months to complete. The overview below gives a general outline of how that time should be allotted. It is important to note that the duration of important parts of this process (for example, the external review) are fixed and cannot be rushed. We encourage candidates and their supervisory committees to make use of the Tools for Planning available on our website and to contact the Doctoral Exams team with any questions or concerns along the way.
Note: Candidates who are trying to meet a specific program end date (end of student status and assessment of new tuition/fees to UBC), degree awarding date (notation appears on the official transcript) or graduation ceremony (parchment in hand) should refer to the Doctoral Deadlines for the relevant submission deadlines.
Final Doctoral Examination Process Overview
Dissertation Submission Timeline Changes
Candidates and their research supervisors are required to provide an expected date of submission of the dissertation for external examination on the Nominations for External Examiner form. This timeline information is communicated to external examiners as part of the invitation they receive from Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. External examiner invitees are busy content experts and their ability to participate in the Final Doctoral Examination process depends upon the timing of the review. To enable them to plan appropriately and to ensure sufficient time is allotted for a thorough review of the dissertation, external examiners are confirmed for a specific review timeline. If the anticipated submission date changes, please let the Doctoral Exams team know as soon as possible so this can be communicated to the external examiner as appropriate. Submission delays often result in additional delays to the review, especially when timelines need to be renegotiated.
Failure to notify Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies of a significant change to the expected date of submission for examination will result in delays in the later stages of the examination process. It is not unusual for external examiners to decline participation in the examination if notification of the timeline change is not provided in advance. In such cases, a new external examiner must be confirmed by Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies before the external review can begin.
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