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PhD thesis assessment

A PDF version of the thesis is submitted by the supervisor to the student's PhD examining committee via the graduate secretary, who also schedules a date for the defence.

The evaluation of the PhD thesis by the committee varies in time depending on the length and quality of the written document. A minimum time of one month should be allowed. After completion of this evaluation the chair of the examining committee will submit an email to the director of graduate studies making their recommendations, including whether a GAU-internal oral thesis defence of the candidate should be held, the thesis should be returned to the candidate for major revisions or should be rejected.

GAU oral examination

A copy of the thesis will be made available for reading by faculty members for at least seven days prior to the defence. If the recommendation is positive, a GAU oral examination will be scheduled.

The purpose of this oral defence is to ascertain that the:

  • the candidate has a thorough understanding of the thesis research;
  • the thesis contains original contributions required for a PhD thesis;
  • the candidate is able to present the essence of the thesis in a competent fashion;
  • and
  • the candidate is capable of defending the thesis in a convincing manner.

The oral defence starts with a presentation of the thesis research by the candidate, of 30 minutes duration. This is followed by the questioning period by the examining committee members. If time permits, an opportunity is given to attending faculty members and the audience at large to briefly ask further questions and offer comments. After the defence, the examining committee convenes and makes a decision on the acceptability of the oral defence to the GAU.

If the decision is positive, the supervisor will propose the members of the PhD examining committee and the contact information of two potential external examiners to the director of graduate studies via email. The candidate must prepare one thesis document, including all required revisions, for submission to the School of Graduate Studies via the graduate secretary. The graduate secretary will then contact the supervisor and student to arrange submission of the thesis to the other committee members.

University PhD oral examination

The School of Graduate Studies will conduct a university PhD oral examination as outlined in the Procedures for the Submission and Assessment of Doctoral Theses.