Guidelines for oral exams with the candidate at a distant location


The Dean of Graduate Studies may approve an oral examination when the candidate is at a distance. In recommending such a procedure, the department or graduate program must take full responsibility for the quality of the examination and for all costs. 

When the candidate is at a distant location:

  • The Notice of Oral Examination must state prominently that the examination will be conducted via distance technology. The candidate and all examiners must be fully aware of the procedures when carrying out this type of examination and must be comfortable that the examination can be conducted in this manner.
  • Any documents used during the examination must be in the possession of the Neutral Chair of the examining committee before the examination is held.
  • In the case of a doctoral thesis examination, Faculty of Graduate Studies’ approval for the external examiner must be requested 8 weeks before the proposed examination date.
  • At the same time, the department or program will arrange teleconferencing or videoconferencing facilities at the University of Calgary (with the assistance of the Learning Commons when appropriate) and at an academic facility at the candidate’s location. It is advisable to have the name and telephone number(s) of a technical contact person at the candidate’s location.
  • In the event of technical disruption, the examination may be interrupted for up to 30 minutes. If connections cannot be re-established within that time, the examination will be suspended and reconstituted when appropriate connections are established. The Neutral Chair must immediately notify Faculty of Graduate Studies regarding the disruption. The candidate, all committee members (or persons involved) and the Proctor (see below) should be advised of this policy at the start of the examination.
  • Four weeks before the distance examination, the department or program will propose to the Faculty of Graduate Studies a proctor, who will be a faculty member at the distance site, or a qualified member of private industry or government, and who will be the formal contact person. The proposed Proctor must not be related to the candidate. A short CV must accompany the request for approval of a Proctor, who will be named on the Notice of Oral Examination.
  • Upon FGS approval, the department or program will inform the Proctor in writing to confirm the appointment and provide the pertinent guidelines and regulations. The Proctor should verify in writing that he/she accepts the responsibility incumbent upon that position. Fax or e-mail is acceptable.
  • Only the candidate, the Proctor, distant examiners, and any necessary technicians can be present at the distant site during the examination. 
  • The post-examination deliberations of the Examination Committee are confidential, and the Proctor will ensure that these deliberations are not heard or seen by the student at the distance site.
  • The Proctor will notify the candidate when the deliberations are complete
  • Upon conclusion, the proctor will provide a written report on the conduct of the examination with respect to compliance with Faculty of Graduate Studies regulations and note any unusual occurrences.