Planning for the thesis defense should take into account the School of Graduate Studies (SGS) deadlines for convocation and fees.  In order to arrange for a defense, the thesis must be ready at least eight (8) weeks prior to these dates. Please see SGS Guidelines for Doctoral Final Oral Examination (FOE).


Request to Graduate Department
of Public Health Sciences
to schedule FOE
FOE Date Thesis Submitted Convocation
(fees start to accrue mid-September, after this date, the November convocation deadline is end of September)
October December
(by the final date set by SGS to hold an FOE)
(fees start to accrue mid-January, after this date, the March convocation deadline is end of end of January and the June deadline is mid-April)
March (in absentia) or June
January March mid-April
(the June convocation deadline is mid-April)

prior to the Final Oral Examination

Supervisor’s Role

  1. When all members of the candidate’s supervisor committee agree that the thesis is complete and ready for defense, contact Vinita Krishnan in the Graduate Office ( / 416-978-1552).
  2. Complete the Final Oral Examination Committee Nomination Form and Approval of Thesis Form, including a date and time for the FOE.
    • In consultation with, and subject to, the approval of the Program Director, recommend the composition of the examination committee, including:
      1. Supervisory committee members: Supervisor and up to two committee members. The supervisor must have a full SGS appointment, while committee members must have at least associate SGS membership;
      2. A potential external examiner: This individual must be external to the University of Toronto, arms-length from the supervisor, the candidate and the project, as well as be a recognized expert in the field.  Supervisor should provide the external examiner’s C.V. and the thesis abstract to the Graduate Office, to submit to SGS for pre-approval. Upon approval, the supervisor will send a copy of the thesis to the external examiner at least six (6) weeks prior to the FOE. Supervisor and candidate should determine the external examiner’s intention to participate at the FOE, either in-person or remotely. Travel expenses of up to $500 will be reimbursed to external examiners who attend in-person;
      3. An arms-length internal examiner.
    • Quorum = 4 voting members
    • SGS recommends including at least 5 voting members to ensure the exam proceeds as scheduled.  NOTE: At least 2 of the 4 voting members required for quorum, must be arms-length from the student and supervisor. If either the external examiner or the internal examiner is unable to attend, the exam will not proceed. As a good practice, the supervisor is encouraged include a third arms-length voting member to ensure that the exam can proceed. Click here for a chart outling FOE committee membership.
  3. Approval of the examination committee is made by the Graduate Coordinator and then the Vice Dean of SGS.

Student’s Role:

  1. Ensure that the thesis follows the formatting requirements described on the SGS website;
  2. Submit the documentation to the Graduate Office at least eight (8) weeks prior to the FOE date;
  3. Distribute the thesis to all examination committee members, except the external examiner,  at least six (6) weeks prior to the defense.

Graduate Office Role:

  1. Submit the FOE On-line Pre-approval form to SGS for approval of the external examiner;
  2. Inform the external examiner of his/her role including the need to prepare a written confidential appraisal. Inform the external examiner about the honorarium and expense re-imbursement;
  3. Coordinate room booking and equipment with SGS and distribute programs;
  4. Familiarize the student with the examination process and expectations.

At the Final Oral Examination

  1. All members of the examination committee must be present in person or remotely;
  2. The Chair follows clearly established Examination procedures set by SGS;
  3. The examination committee votes on the acceptability of both the thesis and the oral defense, and informs the candidate of the decision;
  4. The student and examination committee will be instructed, according to SGS guidelines, regarding changes to the thesis, if any.

After the Final Oral Examination

  1. The student makes corrections/modifications to the thesis, as required. These are reviewed by the supervisor and the faculty member(s) designated at the end of the FOE;
  2. The designated faculty member(s) informs SGS, in writing, that corrections/corrections have been made and that the thesis is ready to be submitted;
  3. Student submits the final thesis to ProQuest and provides one (1) bound copy to the Graduate Department of Public Health Sciences (binding should be hard cover, buckram);
  4. Students failing to complete all steps by the above deadlines will be required to register and pay associated fees.