6. Preparation for the Final Thesis Examination

6.1 Composition of the Final Thesis Examination Committee

A master’s oral thesis examination committee will be composed of the supervisory committee, plus one member from outside the student’s academic unit (external). The individual must be ‘at arm’s length’ and have no conflict of interest with the student and supervisor/co-supervisor.

The supervisor, after consultation with the graduate program designate, submits the External Examiner and Notice for Final Thesis Oral Exam to the FGS for approval. Documentation regarding rationale for the selection of the examiner may be requested by the FGS. This notice must be received by FGS at least 4 weeks prior to any planned oral exam date.

6.2 Definition of ‘At Arm’s Length’

The proposed external examination committee member must be in a no conflict of interest situation Conflict Of Interest Policy (150 002) and ‘at arm’s length’ to the student and supervisor/co-supervisor. The external examiner should not have:

  • been involved in the development of the thesis proposal or thesis,
  • been associated with the student or supervisor/co-supervisor as a close friend, relative or in a commercial, business or financial relationship, or
  • published or held research funding with the student or supervisor/co-supervisor, during the past 5 years.

6.3 Distribution and Preparation for the Final Thesis Examination

It is important to obtain preliminary acceptance, in writing, from the supervisory committee members indicating that the thesis is ready to be reviewed by the examination committee and that the student is ready to proceed. This process is critical to protect and uphold the reputation of the program and the University for excellence in graduate education. It is also important that an external is not asked to invest time in reading a thesis that is substandard. The thesis should have proper formatting and grammar illustrating graduate level communication of the research in a logical and organized manner.

At least four weeks prior to the oral thesis examination, it is the responsibility of the supervisor to:

  • ensure each supervisory committee member has completed the Preliminary Acceptance of Thesis Prior to Final Examination form;
  • notify the examination committee and student of the examination date, time, and other arrangements necessary for the examination;
  • supply the examination committee with a copy of the thesis, so that they may have adequate time to appraise the document. The committee is normally given 3 to 4 weeks to review the thesis. In the absence of the supervisor, the above responsibilities shall be carried out by a designate of the supervisor.
  • The student should not be making the arrangements for the examination.

6.4 Changing an Examination Committee

In rare circumstances, the supervisor may recommend changes to the membership of the examination committee. The FGS must be notified in writing and approve the change in membership.