Submission to the Biology GAU

  • The Thesis must be approved by the Supervisor before it goes to the Supervisory Committee for final approval.
  • The Thesis must be approved by the Supervisory Committee before it can proceed to submission, Examination and Defence.

Note: to save later frustration, be sure to consult the SGS guide to Thesis preparation  when you BEGIN writing your Thesis.

Timeline:  varies.  Format, revisions, etc. must satisfy the Supervisory Committee.

The Supervisory Committee may request an “internal examination”, i.e. that the Thesis be read by a Committee of two full faculty members who have not served on the student's Supervisory Committee.

The Supervisory Committee, in consultation with these two individuals, will determine whether (a) the Thesis can go forward to the School of Graduate Studies for external Examination, or (b) an internal (GAU-level) oral defence of the Thesis must be held before the Thesis can go forward for external Examination.

Submission to the School of Graduate Studies (SGS)

The Supervisory Committee should compile a list several *potential* Examiners (at least 3) for each of these positions, along with all their contact information, the thesis title and abstract, a form stipulating no conflict of interest, and submit the package to the DoGS.  Neither the student nor anyone on the Supervisory Committee should contact the potential Examiners.

The Examining Board consists of five members:

(1)      External Examiner (outside of UNB) – for these potential examiners, provide a description of their expertise, and a statment that there is no conflict of interest.

(2)      Internal Examiner(s) - Supervisor(s)

(3)      Internal Examiner from the student’s GAU

(4)      Internal Examiner from the student’s GAU or from another GAU at UNB.

(5)      Internal Examiner from another GAU at UNB.

This list will be approved by the GAU Committee, after which they will all be contacted informally by the DoGS to see if they are willing to serve. 

Five copies of the approved Thesis, the signed approval form, the conflict of interest form, and the list of potential Examiners are submitted to the Biology DoGS.  (It is advisable to provide an electronic copy of the Thesis, as well.)

The DoGS will then forward the approved list to the School of Graduate Studies, who will make the final selection and formally invite the Examiners.

Examination of the Thesis

The Dean of SGS will send each Examiner a copy of the Thesis with instructions.   The Examiners are entitled to 4 weeks to read the Thesis.  No contact with Examiners should be made, except through the SGS.

At the end of the four weeks, or when the External Examiner’s report is received, the SGS distributes copies of that report to all UNB Examiners, calls them to a meeting to discuss the Thesis, and a decision is made:   (a) the Thesis is accepted with no or minor modifications, i.e. it is approved to go to defence, (b) the Thesis requires major revisions, i.e. it goes back to the student and will be re-Examined, or (c) the Thesis is rejected.

Timeline:  Allow 10 weeks from the time your Thesis goes to the Examiners to submission of the final paperwork; the earliest defence date is five weeks after submission - - if everything goes without a hitch!  Note the deadlines on the SGS Calendar for deadlines for thesis submission listed there, (a) to be eligible to graduate at the Spring or Fall convocations, and (b) to avoid paying fees for the following term.

Oral Defence

The Defence is scheduled by the SGS in consultation with the DoGS, student and Examining Board, for NO EARLIER than one week after the SGS has recorded the Board’s decision to accept the Thesis as ready for defence. 

In preparation for the oral defence, the student should obtain the package of forms that must be filled out for the School of Graduate Studies.  They are available from the Graduate Secretary.  The student MUST be sure to have the “blue form” at the Defence, to be signed by the Examiners.

At the Defence, the candidate presents a summary of the research (20-30 min). 

The Dean (or Associate Dean) of SGS chairs the Examination, consisting of up to 3 rounds of questioning by the Examining Board only, approx 15 min per Examiner per round.  This is followed by an open question period. The candidate and all non-faculty are then asked to leave the room while the Examiners discuss the Defence. 

The Examiners choose from three alternatives re: the Defence:  (a) acceptable, i.e. pass, subject to Thesis corrections, (b) not wholly acceptable, i.e. defence must be repeated, or (c) not acceptable, i.e. no degree will be awarded.  The candidate is called back into the room, and informed of the decision.

Timeline:  approx 4 hours

Completion of PhD

Following a verdict of “pass”, the final version of the Thesis is submitted to the Chair of the Examining Board (via DoGS) along with multiple forms that must be completed by the student, the Supervisor, the members of the Examining Board, and the DoGS.  These are then forwarded to the School of Graduate Studies, with all the appropriate paperwork, with a recommendation for acceptance and request for the copies to be bound.

Note:  SGS requires 2 copies.  If additional bound copies are needed, e.g. one each for the student and Supervisor, they must be submitted at the same time.

Timeline:  From the time of Thesis submission to the Examining Board to the final approval of the degree (i.e. to graduate), the process normally takes 2.5 months.  The PhD is considered to be complete as of the date on which the DoGS submits the Thesis copies and final paperwork to the SGS.  The formal degree is awarded at the next Convocation Ceremony (May or October), if the deadlines have been met.  (See the Calendar of the School of Graduate Studies for deadlines.)