For PhD candidates

Once your oral defence has been approved the School of Graduate studies will coordinate everything in consultation with your department.  The only thing you need to do is prepare and practice your presentation!

About your presentation

We use a PC with the Windows 2007 operating system and with MS Office 2010 installed. Students who use MS PowerPoint or Prezi to design their presentations keep the same format. Mac users, however, will have to convert their presentations to QuickTime format in order for the presentations to correctly display. Alternatively, PDF format can also be used. For all other formats, please contact Ruby Barron ( well in advance of your defence date to ensure that we can accommodate the format used.

We recommend you provide us with your final presentation at least 48 hours in advance so we can test it on the same computer that will be used for the defence.

The day of your defence

Pre-defence meeting

The examination board will meet to review the defence rules and procedures 30 minutes prior to your start time.  It is advisable to show up within an hour before the pre-defence meeting to familiarize yourself with the room layout.  Simply approach the SGS reception and they will make arrangements.  

During your presentation

When the pre-defence meeting is finished the chair will invite you into the room.  Guests are welcome (the defence is open to the public) and encouraged to remain silent without taking photos/videos. 

When you enter the room your presentation will be on the overhead and ready to go.  A remote clicker/laser will be left at the podium for you.  Please note that the external examiner will not see the laser when pointed to the screen. It's best to include graphics (arrows, circles, etc.) to draw attention to certain parts of the slide when desired.

The typical defence presentation lasts approximately 20-30 minutes.  During this time the external examiner will see your presentation live via the web, as well as video feeds from the room.   They will hear you via telephone.  You will not see a video feed of the external examiner until questions begin.

Questions will begin as soon as the presentation is complete, typically beginning the with external examiner . Your presentation will be removed from the overhead projection and replaced by a video feed of all parties, and a whiteboard will also be available for use. During question rounds you may remain standing at the podium or sit at the boardroom table.

After the first round of questions you will be offered a short break before the second round begins.  The defence will go on for as many rounds of questions as necessary, but typically concludes after 2 rounds.  You will then be asked to leave the room while the examination board deliberates.

If you have any questions or concerns about the defence process or technical-related inquires please contact Ruby Barron at  


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