Final Doctoral Examination

Advance planning and consistent communication are crucial. You can reduce stress for yourself and everyone else involved in your examination by being well-informed and well-organized.



March 19, 2020

In response to the growing concerns surrounding the COVID-19 virus, G+PS in consultation with UBC IT has developed a process to support total virtual participation in a doctoral defense. This Virtual Exam Protocol applies for defences held on or after March 19, 2020 until further notice.



This is just a guide – please check the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies’ (G+PS) website for exact timelines. 

1. Your Supervisory Committee advises you to write up your thesis – please submit the Supervisory Committee Meeting Report to our office, which states that the committee has advised you to write up your thesis.
2. You begin to write your thesis.
3. Your supervisor normally works with you in editing drafts of the various chapters.
4. You provide a copy of your thesis to all members of your Supervisory Committee.
5. You and your supervisor submit the “External Examiner Appointment Form” to our office Program in advance of thesis submission.
6. If all corrections suggested by the members of your Supervisory Committee are made to the thesis, you ask all members of your Supervisory Committee to submit the “Supervisory Committee – PhD Thesis Report” to our office. The Experimental Medicine Program will then issue the Departmental Memo and will send to G+PS.  You need to be registered in MEDI649 and not on financial hold.
7. You and your supervisor suggest a possible examination date to G+PS.
8. You and your supervisor contact possible University Examiners (and send them your abstract).
9. When you have two university examiners confirmed, you and your supervisor submit the “University Examiner Appointment Form” to our office.
10. You have your thesis format reviewed by G+PS.
11. You submit an electronic copy (pdf) of your thesis to G+PS (after making corrections) together the Thesis Review Sheet (received by G+PS).
12.You submit a copy of your thesis also to all members of your Supervisory Committee that will attend the exam as well as to the two UBC examiners (four weeks prior to the date of the exam).
13. You submit the Thesis Program (template) to G+PS.
14. You have your Oral exam.
15. You make suggested corrections to your thesis.
16. Your Research Supervisor (and committee members, if required) approves the corrections of the thesis.
17. You apply for graduation (this can already be done before the exam, as well).
18. You submit the final and corrected thesis to cIRcle
19. You submit a doctoral graduation citation to G+PS.

Please note that this website provides only an overview of the process. For more information, you should also review the website of the Faculty of Graduate Studies. Please also see their website on Deadlines for Doctoral Exams.

Examination Committee

The Examination Committee normally consists of:
– an External Examiner (who is not required to attend the oral defence)
– two University Examiners
– two or three members of the candidate’s Supervisory Committee (including the Research Supervisor)
– an Examination Chair

Note on the Examiners:
An Assistant Professor may be approved if s/he has passed initial re-appointment or has previous experience with the doctoral examinations process. Please contact the Doctoral Examinations Coordinator (604-822-3989) for instructions about providing this rationale prior to submitting this form.

The approval process
– The Experimental Medicine Program will have to provide G+PS with a brief rationale of how the proposed external examiners’ fields of expertise relate to the candidate’s area of research. These details are provided by your Research Supervisor.
– The Experimental Medicine Program will need to receive the Approval of University Examiners for Doctoral Dissertation from you so that we can review it and discuss possible changes with your Research Supervisor before sending it to G+PS, a minimum of four weeks prior to the scheduled Final Oral Defence.
– The Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies will confirm the approval of the University Examiners via e-mail.


You should submit the External Examiner Form to the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies 8 weeks before the submission of the dissertation as well as 8 weeks after the dissertation to give the external examiner sufficient time to review the thesis.  Therefore, G+PS requires a total of 16 weeks to prepare for the oral examination.

Students also need to follow the Deadlines for Doctoral Exams, set by the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.

G+PS should be contacted a minimum of 4 weeks prior to the exam with 2-3 possible examination dates.