Thesis defence

All thesis-based students must complete an oral examination to defend their thesis. 

Discuss scheduling your defence with your supervisor early

Your supervisor will be responsible for booking your thesis defence and coordinating your supervisory committee.

  • The external examiner for your exam must be identified at least six weeks before the exam date.
  • The Notice of Thesis Oral Examination must be submitted to the Faculty of Graduate Studies at least four weeks before the exam date.

Preparing for your thesis defence

Send your thesis to your committee

When your defence is booked, you are responsible for sending your thesis to the examining committee no later than 3 weeks before the defence date.

Continue studying

Read over your thesis and other literature related to your topic. The point of a defence is to ensure that you know your content and topic well.


​​​​​​Do a mock exam with your colleagues. This will help you practice presenting your ideas and answering questions about your thesis. You might also identify ways to strengthen your argument or address any potential confusion.

Thesis defence policy and regulation

Students admitted Fall 2014 and beyond

Effective September 1, 2014, all graduate students admitted for Fall 2014 and beyond are governed under the current thesis examination regulations and administrative processes. If you have any questions regarding the new regulations or your options, your program administrators will be able to help you.

If you will be completing your candidacy outside of Calgary, read the guidelines for oral examinations with the candidate at a distant location

Campus in winter

Indigenous Cultural Protocols and Oral Exams

The Faculty of Graduate Studies welcomes and supports Indigenous graduate students and those working with Indigenous Elders and Knowledge Keepers who wish to incorporate Indigenous ceremonies and/or traditions into their examinations. Students should discuss their plans with the supervisor(s) prior to scheduling their exam and complete the Indigenous Cultural Protocol Plan form.

Examinations and conflict of interest

You have the right for your work to be assessed fairly and ethically. The examination committee for a candidacy examination must be impartial and able to independently and objectively evaluate the student’s academic work. However, conflict of interest can sometimes interfere or appear to interfere with professional judgement and/or responsibilities.

If you feel there is a conflict of interest, connect with your graduate program director or our Graduate Academic Specialists.