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Examining Committee for Doctoral Thesis [cf. GGR 1.9.3]
Each candidate for a doctoral degree shall be examined on the thesis. Each examining committee shall have the following minimum composition:
a) the chair of the graduate program committee, or designate, who shall be a non-voting chair of the examining committee. If the chair of the graduate program committee is also on the student’s supervisory committee, he shall designate a member of faculty at the University, who is not a member of the student’s supervisory committee, as chair.
b) all members of the student’s supervisory committee
c) a member of faculty at the University or a person otherwise suitably qualified, who is not a member of the student’s supervisory committee. For a thesis defence in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, the ‘internal external’ examiner may not be a member of the same department as the one granting the degree.
d) an external examiner who shall be specifically qualified in the field of the thesis and not be a member of faculty at the University
Preparation for Examination of Doctoral Thesis [cf. GGR 1.9.4]
Preparation for the examination of a doctoral thesis shall not take place until the thesis is substantially complete and in the required format. See www.lib.sfu.ca/help/writing/thesesfor information.
The candidate's supervisory committee shall make a recommendation to the chair of the graduate program committee concerning the composition of the examining committee (in conformity with 1.9.3) and the date, place and time of the thesis examination. Upon approval of the chair of the graduate program committee, this recommendation, with the thesis title, abstract, a digital copy of the thesis, and curriculum vitae of the external examiner, shall be sent to the Dean of Graduate Studies for final approval. These items shall reach the Dean of Graduate Studies no less than six weeks before the examination date. Upon approval from the Dean of Graduate Studies, the chair of the graduate program committee will notify the University community of the intended time and place of the examination.
At this time, the Dean of Graduate Studies shall formally invite the external, and digital copies of the completed thesis shall be distributed to the examining committee by the Dean of Graduate Studies.
The examination of the thesis shall take place under the regulations for thesis examination given in 1.10.1.
The Role of the External Examiner [cf. GGR 1.9.5
The external examiner should be a distinguished scholar with particular experience in the field of the thesis research. The examiner shall be free from potential conflict of interest which may arise, for example, from research collaboration with the student or prospective employment of the student. Whether the external examiner will participate in person or in absentia, including the possibility of a conference telephone connection or similar means, will be determined by the dean of graduate studies who will take into account the departmental views.
The external examiner shall be asked to report on the thesis, to the dean of graduate studies only, before the examination. If the report states that the thesis is ready for defence, a copy shall be sent to the chair of the examining committee by the dean of graduate studies for distribution to all members of the examining committee before the examination. The contents of the report will not be communicated to the student. If the report recommends that the examination be postponed, the dean shall send a copy to the chair of the examining committee, the senior supervisor and the chair of the graduate program committee. The chair of the graduate program committee and the senior supervisor will inform the student of the content of the report. Following discussions with the student and the supervisory committee, the chair of the graduate program committee shall report to the dean whether the examination will take place as scheduled or be postponed.
Once the examination has taken place, and if the thesis is passed, the external examiner shall send a brief report to the senior supervisor which indicates the general quality of the thesis. That report (which may be either a copy of the initial report to the dean of graduate studies or a report prepared after the thesis defence) shall accompany the recommendation for award of the degree.
In the event of examination in absentia, the report of the external examiner should be quite extensive and give a specific recommendation as to whether the thesis ought to pass, fail, or be subject to revision as under 1.10.2. The report may contain specific questions the external examiner would like posed to the candidate. The report shall be copied, by the dean of graduate studies, to the chair of the examining committee, for distribution to all members of the examining committee before the examination. Specific questions raised by the external examiner in that report shall be directed to the candidate during the examination by members of the examining committee selected by the chair of the examining committee.