Final Oral Examination at SGS

This is the final official step in the PhD program. On the day of the examination, arrive early to check the projectors, etc. but be prepared to spend some time waiting outside the examination room while the Committee debates the thesis before you give your defense. The 20-minute illustrated talk will usually be the one developed during the final supervisory committee meeting. 

While the student/supervisor is responsible to schedule the date/time for the FOE, the Graduate Office in Physiology will help secure a room for the exam. The Examining Committee for the Final Oral Examination at SGS will consist of the following and must be approved by the Graduate Studies Committee and SGS.

Composition of the Final Oral Doctoral Examination

Non-Voting Members

  • Chair - appointed by an external Department through the School of Graduate Studies.
  • Supervisor - may be asked to comment at the beginning and/or the end of the examination.

Voting Members (a quorum is 4 members)

All local members must be appointed as full members of the Graduate Faculty of the School of Graduate Studies at the University of Toronto:

  • 1 (one) external appraiser (outside the University). This member must be a recognized expert on the subject of the thesis, and an Associate or Full Professor at his/her home institution.  An appraiser from outside the academic sector must possess the qualifications to be appointed to an academic position at this level.
  • 1 (one) appraiser from outside the Department, not cross-appointed to Physiology and not a member of the Supervisory Committee.
  • At least 2 (two) members of the Departmental Research Grouping but not members of the Supervisory Committee. Should it prove difficult in exceptional circumstances to identify such an individual the Graduate Studies Committee will consider alternative candidates.
  • 1 (one) member of the Supervisory Committee (minimum and maximum of 1). Should this member need to be replaced in an emergency it should be easy to second a different member of the Supervisory Committee.

Scheduling of FOE

Candidates should allow sufficient time for the process of arranging and scheduling a final oral examination. Since the FOE committee has to be approved by SGS before the thesis is sent to the External Appraiser, and the appraisal must be available to the candidates two weeks before the examination, it is strongly advised to submit the completed Arrangements for PhD Final Oral Exam form, together with a full CV of the proposed external appraiser (in electronic format), to the Physiology graduate office at least 7-8 weeks before the FOE, and longer when Christmas or summer holidays intervene. Written appraisal is distributed to the candidate and examining committee 2 weeks prior to the examination.

Honorarium & Travel Expenses

The Department of Physiology will pay an honorarium of $100.00 Canadian to external examiners, whether they attend the examination or submit a report without attendance. While the student's supervisor will be responsible for all travel and accommodation expenses, up to $500 Canadian will be reimbursed by the School of Graduate Studies through the Department. All original receipts must be sent directly to the student's supervisor for reimbursement. The external examiner must complete and return all required forms for processing.