All theses are subject to an oral defence, which is chaired by a professor representing the Dean of the faculty.
After receiving the decision from the student to move to the oral defence, the faculty organizes the oral defence at a time acceptable to the examiners and the candidate.
Prior to the defence, the chair of the jury receives from the faculty, a file containing the examiners' reports and other documents pertaining to the defence.
The day of the defence, the candidate and the examiners will discuss the thesis. This is a valuable time when experts in the area of research will provide feedback to the student. In the spirit of academic discourse and the advancement of knowledge, they will ask questions, mention positive aspects of the thesis and make suggestions for further work.
To prepare for the defence, the student should take advantage of the fact that oral defences are open to the public and attend other students’ defences. The candidate should discuss with the supervisor about what else could be done to get ready. As soon as the date of the defence is set the candidate should:
- Ask the thesis supervisor or the academic unit to reserve the audiovisual equipment required for the defence.
- Visit the room where the defence will take place.
- Arrive early at the room where the defence will take place. The room is reserved 30 minutes before the start of the defence.
Board of examiners
A master’s thesis is read by and subsequently defended before a committee of no fewer than two examiners. The examiners of a master’s thesis are appointed by the chair of the academic unit or the dean of the faculty in which the student is registered. If a student is enrolled in a collaborative program at least one examiner will normally be approved by the director or coordinator of the collaborative program. In the case of joint programs with Carleton University, one examiner will normally be from Carleton University.
A doctoral thesis is read by a board of no fewer than four examiners. The board of examiners is appointed by the vice-dean of the student's faculty upon recommendation from the chair of the academic unit. This recommendation is sent by the academic unit on the appropriate form and must reach the faculty one month in advance of the expected date of submission of the thesis. The academic unit should have determined in advance of submitting the form that the proposed examiners are available and willing to read the thesis.
In the case of joint programs with Carleton University, one examiner should be from Carleton University. This person is considered to be an internal examiner. In the case of a collaborative program, at least one internal examiner must be approved by the director or coordinator of the collaborative program.
At least one examiner, referred to as an external examiner, must be from outside the University of Ottawa and must be independent from the supervisor and the student. This examiner is selected by the vice-dean graduate studies of the student's home faculty from a slate of at least two, and preferably three, names provided by the academic unit.