When the student and supervisory committee have some confidence that the thesis will satisfy academic standards, the thesis will be subjected to examination. Doctoral examinations are public and the student should be aware that the information disclosed at this time could be construed as becoming publicly available. Some departments and schools require an examination prior to submission of the thesis to the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies for final examination. If there are intellectual property issues, the departmental examination should provide the student with the same protection as the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies final defense.
The final doctoral examination conducted by the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies is public and the information disclosed during this examination becomes public and is essentially published at that time. All readers of the thesis or dissertation up to the time of the final examination are expected to consider the document confidential.
During the examination, with prior agreement, the Dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies may allow the candidate to withhold specific information that would represent disclosure of patentable information, but this should not constrain the examining committee’s responsibility to evaluate the academic merit of the document. In rare circumstances, a non-disclosure agreement may be required to protect intellectual property rights prior to patenting.