There are five possible outcomes for an oral defence. Decisions A and B qualify as a pass. Decisions C, D, and E qualify as a fail.
Decision A: If the committee feels that the thesis and the responses to questions raised in the defence meet appropriate academic standards for the granting of the PhD degree, the student will be judged to have passed the defence.
Decision B: If the committee determines that minor revisions (i.e., stylistic or editorial changes that should be able to be completed in no more than three weeks) are necessary for the thesis to fulfill the academic standards necessary for partial fulfillment of the degree, the Pro‐Dean must delegate one member of the committee, usually the supervisor, to ensure that the student carries out the required changes within the stated time‐frame.
If the committee determines that the thesis or oral defence does not meet appropriate academic standards for the PhD degree, and would require, for example major revisions to the text and/or additional study, it must then decide between the following three options:
Decision C: The student is allowed to submit a revised thesis within six (6) months to the oral defence committee who will then evaluate the revised thesis without another the need for another oral defence.
Decision D: The student is allowed to conduct another oral defence within six (6) months without the submission of a revised thesis.
Decision E: The student is allowed to submit a revised thesis within six (6) months to the oral defence committee, who will then evaluate the revised thesis and conduct another oral defence.
Note: If the revised thesis and/or oral defence is subsequently failed again, the student will be withdrawn from the University.
In the case of a failure, within a week of the oral defence, the Pro-Dean will inform the student in writing of the failure and subsequent actions to be taken. This letter will:
- Summarize the reasons for the failure;
- Indicate changes to the thesis stipulated by the Committee members;
- State the deadline for the submission of a revised thesis, if required (up to six months);
- State the deadline for reconvening the oral defence, if required;
- Outline any other actions, and
- Delegate a member of the dommittee, usually the supervisor, to ensure that the student carries out the required changes to the written thesis and/or complies with the other stipulations.