eDefence departmental procedures

Several procedural changes will come into effect since we have transitioned from having the external examiner physically attend doctoral oral defences to having them virtually attend:

  1. Your letter to the external examiner should not state that we will be bringing them here to St. John’s. Instead, your letter should include a statement similar to this: Doctoral oral defences at Memorial are conducted using web-conferencing software. Once the student can proceed to the oral defence, the School of Graduate Studies will contact you regarding the technical details of e-attending.
  2. The Beatrice Watts Boardroom (IIC 2014) has been configured for optimal web-conferencing and will be used as the sole location for oral defences. To facilitate bookings, please confirm with Ruby Barron (rbarron@mun.ca) as to the availability for specific dates and times (9:30 a.m. or 12:30 p.m.).
  3. The School of Graduate Studies arrange for technical compatibility testing[1] with the external examiner in advance of the oral defence. Some examiners do not have access to a webcam. In this event the examiner will still see the video feed from the conference room and the student's presentation live.
  4. For the oral defence, the School of Graduate Studies will handle all the technical aspects of the eDefence, from set-up, contacting the external examiner and operating the webcams. The defence itself will proceed as per your departmental practice.
  5. Requests for anyone else other than the external examiner to e-attend must be made in writing to the Dean of Graduate Studies well in advance of the oral defence.

The Dean has put aside a modest annual budget for flying in external examiners. Requests for these exceptions will be considered on a case-by-case basis:

  1. Departments shall make a formal, written request to the Dean, detailing the reasons why the examiner should be physically present and not attending via web-conferencing.
  2. Decisions are based solely on merit, i.e. the examiner’s pre-eminence in his/her field, and not on a first-come-first-serve basis. Departments who wish to fly in an examiner should start planning well in advance.
  3. If the request is approved, the maximum amount of funding from the School will remain at $1000.
  4. Additionally, a strict requirement will be that the external examiner must give at least one graduate seminar during his/her visit.
  5. The deadline to make the request should be no less than 2 months before the oral defence.

[1] Required technology is pre-installed on 98% of the world’s computers.


School of Graduate Studies

230 Elizabeth Ave, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1B 3X9

Postal Address: P.O. Box 4200, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1C 5S7

Tel: (709) 864-8000