COVID-19 note: We have had enquires about recording comprehensive examinations held online. The Office of the University Counsel does not recommend recording of examinations.
The complete text of the Calendar policy is below.
The doctoral student will take the following examinations:
- Course examinations where applicable. A minimum of 68% must be obtained unless otherwise specified.
- Tests of the student's ability to read languages other than English where program regulations require it.
- A comprehensive examination, normally held after completion of all required coursework and intended to test the student's grasp of the chosen field of study as a whole, and the student's ability to communicate his or her understanding of it in English or in French. The candidate's committee will set and judge this examination in a manner compatible with the policy of the graduate program concerned. Programs should make available to students a written statement of examination policy and procedures. The comprehensive examination is separate and distinct from the evaluation of the doctoral dissertation prospectus.
- A final oral examination or doctoral dissertation defence.
Note: A graduate program may require a formal examination of the doctoral dissertation before it is transmitted to the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies for final oral examination.
Students should consult their respective graduate program advisors for information about program requirements.
All doctoral candidates are required to complete a doctoral dissertation which must be presented according to procedures described at Master's Thesis and Doctoral Dissertation Preparation and Final Thesis Submission. Students should consult the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies for information regarding deadlines for submission of doctoral dissertations.
All doctoral students will take a final oral examination or doctoral dissertation defence:
- All doctoral dissertations must be assessed by an examiner external to the University, as well as by internal examiners. The external examiner is chosen by the Dean of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies in consultation with the graduate program concerned. Procedures for choosing a suitable external examiner must be initiated at least three months before completion of the doctoral dissertation. The external examiner's written report must be received before the final examination can take place.
- Final oral examinations can be scheduled no sooner than eight weeks after submission of the approved doctoral dissertation to the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. All other degree requirements must also have been completed.
- The final oral examination is open to all members of the University and to the public. Once an examination has been booked by the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, the following details will be made available on the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies webpage: Candidate's full name, home department, degree program, dissertation title, and the date, time and location of the exam. Students with compelling safety-related concerns about this public announcement can request an exemption from the Dean of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.
- The Dean of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies must approve the membership of the examining committee. The Dean or the Dean's designate chairs the examination. The examining committee judges the candidate's success and makes a recommendation to the Dean of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.
More information on oral examination procedures is available at the Final Doctoral Examination Guide. Students registered in a doctoral program are not permitted supplemental examinations.
The dissertation must be presented according to procedures described at Master's Thesis and Doctoral Dissertation Preparation and Submission.
There is no general requirement for a comprehensive examination or a final oral examination/thesis defence at the master's level. Graduate programs may, at their own discretion, require a comprehensive examination and/or final oral examination in the student's field of study as part of the degree requirements.
Where a comprehensive examination or final oral examination/thesis defence is required, programs must make available to students a written statement of examination procedures such as the purpose, form, length, subject area(s) and scope of the examination, as well as information on the criteria for evaluation.
In the creative and performing arts, a thesis may consist of creative work (e.g., paintings, writing) or of a performance. Programs may, at their discretion, require additional supporting documentation.
In programs requiring a thesis, the thesis must be presented according to procedures described at Master's Thesis and Doctoral Dissertation Preparation and submission.