Submitting the Dissertation for External Examination

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Graduate students can find "how to" guides and support information on our Workday support page.

Prior to Submission for External Examination

The content of the dissertation must be reviewed and approved by the candidate’s supervisory committee members. The candidate and members of the supervisory committee are responsible for ensuring that the dissertation is well-presented and contains all the required elements outlined on our website under Formatting Requirements.

Candidates are required to maintain active registration until Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies has confirmed acceptance of the final dissertation and associated forms and approvals post-Oral Defence. The candidate and the graduate program must ensure the candidate’s program end date will allow time for completion of the Final Doctoral Examination. If a program end date extension is required, please contact the Doctoral Exams team to discuss this.

Document Requirements

All of the following must be submitted to Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies before the Final Doctoral Examination can begin:

  1. Graduate Program Approval of Doctoral Dissertation for External Examination form. The candidate should contact the graduate program office well in advance to discuss the process for submission of this memo to Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. Both the research supervisor's and the graduate advisor's signatures are required on the form.
  2. Electronic version of the dissertation (PDF) submitted via email to the Doctoral Exams team as an attachment. Please do not submit a disk and do not bring the dissertation to the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies office on a memory stick.
    • If the dissertation is too large to submit by email, please contact the Doctoral Exams team to discuss other options for electronic submission.
  3. If requested, one printed copy of the completed and approved dissertation. The candidate and research supervisor will be notified of the external examiner's format preference by email when the external examiner is confirmed by Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.
    • The paper copy must be cerlox-bound with a clear front cover. This copy may be submitted with double-sided pages.
    • If the External Examiner requests only an electronic version of the dissertation then submission of a printed copy of the dissertation is not required.
    • If you are uncertain whether a paper copy of the dissertation is required, please check with the Doctoral Exams team in advance.
  4. For Doctoral of Musical Arts (DMA) in Performance only, a link to your final lecture-recital in an appropriate streaming format. Please see the School of Music website for more information about this requirement.

The dissertation will not be transmitted to the External Examiner until all required documents have been received by Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.

Do NOT submit your dissertation to the cIRcle database at this point.

Transmitting the Dissertation to the External Examiner

The Doctoral Exams team will transmit the dissertation to the external examiner. Any shipping costs incurred are the responsibility of the graduate program or research supervisor.

Once the dissertation has been transmitted, the Candidate and Research Supervisor will be notified by email about the earliest possible date for the Final Oral Defence. Under normal circumstances, the earliest possible Oral Defence date will be 6-7 weeks after submitting the dissertation for examination. Please note that delays in submission, requests by the external examiner for additional review time, and any other unusual circumstances will push back the earliest possible Oral Defence date.

Dissertation Submission Timeline Changes

Please remember that external examiners are confirmed for a specific review timeline, which is based on the anticipated dissertation submission date provided on the Nominations for External Examiner form. 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.

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 dissertation can be transmitted for external review.


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