Ph.D. Oral Defence


Before final thesis submission, Ph.D. students must successfully complete an oral defence, which is a final, in-depth, formal presentation of their research. To help the unit in scheduling the defence, it is the student's responsibility to monitor the doodle link and inform the IPN office once a date and time has been established.

Setting Up the Oral Defence

When the Doctoral student initially submits their thesis to GPS, an Oral Defence Form is sent to the student from the IPN Office. This Form indicates the earliest date (tentative, pending receipt of examiner reports) the defence may take place. The student completes the Form, listing the members of the Oral Defence Committee who have accepted the invitation. The student creates a doodle poll with potential date and time options for their defence, and sends it to the unit along with the completed form . Each day needs to be broken-up into blocks of 3 hours, and more than 8 options need to be listed in the poll.

The unit is responsible for sending the Doodle Poll to the committee members. The student is responsible for monitoring the poll results and for informing the unit of the selected date and time. Once the Oral Defence Committee has confirmed their availability, the Unit will book the time through the GPS oral defence calendar (access restricted to graduate unit staff). A limited number of oral defences can be held on any given day.

Once the date/ time is booked, the student and the supervisor generate the Oral Defence Zoom link and book the physical location where the Oral Defence will be held. All the required information along with the completed form must be returned to the unit at least four (4) weeks prior to the defence date. The four-week notice is necessary to allow time for GPS to secure a Pro-Dean.

The committee members can access the student's Oral Defence details and all supporting documents via MyThesis.

The student and supervisor are responsible for the following:

  • Contacting all members to ensure their acceptance and availability to serve on the Oral Defence Committee.
    • The student should refer to the guidelines below when inviting external examiners to the oral defence.
  • Scheduling of the defence (date, time, location) remains the responsibility of the student.
    • The student is responsible for creating the Doodle Poll.
  • The Oral Defence Zoom link should be created by the student or the supervisor using a licensed Zoom Pro account.

The Unit is responsible for the following:

  • Contacting the committee members following the approval and confirmation of the committee composition. (After the student sends in the Oral Defence Form)
  • Submitting the Oral Defence information and details to MyThesis for approval (by GPS).
  • Should an Oral Defence Committee member require a hard copy of the thesis, the Unit should request one from the student.


GPS will secure a Pro-Dean who will chair the oral defence as a representative of the Dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. GPS will inform the Unit and provide the Pro-Dean with a PDF copy of the thesis, and the examiners’ reports. If a Pro-Dean requests to attend a defence remotely, the Zoom link will be found on the student's MyThesis page.

Hybrid Defences

Fully virtual defences are no longer allowed. Students are encouraged to hold in-person or hybrid defences.

If the oral defence is scheduled as a hybrid defence, the student or the supervisor is responsible for setting up the Zoom link for the confirmed date and time of the oral defence. The unit is also responsible for submitting this link to the student's MyThesis page. All committee members can access the MyThesis page for details about the defence.

The Zoom link should be created using a licensed Zoom Pro account. It is recommended that the Oral Defence Committee’s Academic Unit representative (Chair or delegate) act as the Zoom host during the defence.



Back to top