The external examiner's report is submitted directly to the Doctoral Exams team at Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. In cases where the external examiner recommends that a candidate proceed to Oral Defence, Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies will normally distribute copies of the report to the graduate program advisor and all members of the examination committee one week prior to the Defence date. The entire content of the report is confidential and must not be discussed with the candidate prior to the Final Oral Defence. The external examiner's recommendations must be taken into account by the examination committee when providing an assessment of the dissertation during the Final Oral Defence.
Note: a written report and questions for the defence are required from the external examiner regardless of whether they are planning to participate in the Oral Defence.
The external examiner is asked to assess whether the dissertation meets the criteria for a successful dissertation, with reference to the expectations regarding the scope and structure of a doctoral dissertation at UBC and using the criteria outlined in the following documents:
- For Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) examinations - Instructions for Preparing the External Examiner's Report
- For Doctor of Education (EdD) examinations - Guidelines for the Examination of the Ed.D. Dissertation
- For Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA) in Composition examinations - Instructions for the Preparation of the External Examiner's Report
- For Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA) in Performance examinations - Instructions for the Preparation of the External Examiner's Report
The external examiner is also asked to make an overall recommendation regarding whether or not the dissertation as written is ready for defence. If the external examiner's report recommends major revisions to the dissertation before the candidate proceeds to Defence, the Dean or Associate Dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (usually after consulting with external examiner) will make the final decision about whether or not to proceed with the Final Oral Defence.
In order to allow time for the report to be distributed, the external examiner's report is due 10 days before the Defence. The Dean or Associate Dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies reserve the right to postpone the Final Oral Defence if the external examiner's report is late.
External Examiner Recommends Major Revisions to the Dissertation
In cases where the external examiner recommends major revisions to the dissertation before proceeding to the Oral Defence, candidates are normally granted exactly one opportunity for major revision and re-examination. External review of the revised dissertation normally involves both the original external examiner and a new additional external examiner (who is not informed of the previous external exam).
The research supervisor and candidate will be notified by email as early as possible if the external examiner recommends major revisions to the dissertation and if the Dean or Associate Dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies requires that the candidate address the report and make revisions to the dissertation before proceeding to the Final Oral Defence. A copy of the external examiner’s report will be provided at that time and should be used to guide the revisions. As part of the revision process, Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies strongly recommends that the candidate compose a separate document, to be sent to the original external examiner only, outlining where and how the external examiner’s concerns have been addressed.
Once the revised dissertation has been approved by the supervisory committee, the candidate will be required to submit the dissertation and associated approval memos as outlined under Submitting for Examination. Candidates and research supervisors are asked to notify the Doctoral Exams office well in advance of the anticipated submission date so appropriate arrangements can be made with the external examiners.
If at least one of these two external examiners recommends that the examination should proceed, then the Final Oral Defence will take place.
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