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Doctoral thesis defence

Doctoral thesis defence completes the evaluation of the research work which is explained in your thesis. When the jury authorizes a thesis defence, it is usually held within a time limit of 30 days. The purpose of a thesis defence is to:

  • Confirm the authenticity of the thesis and make a final judgment regarding it.
  • Determine the student’s aptitudes for oral communication.

Unless specified otherwise, the defence of a doctorate’s thesis is public, open to the university community and to persons invited by the doctoral student.

The Doctoral thesis defence must be held at least 10 days after the student has received his or her evaluation reports so he or she may properly prepare.

Unless specified otherwise, the defence must be held in French.

Choice of the mode of Doctoral thesis defence

The choice of the mode of thesis defence, either in person or online, is made by the student in consultation with his or her research supervisor and the jury chair.

This consultation is essential to agree on the appropriate conditions for the defence mode chosen and for the adjustments to be made to ensure the success of the process.

During a defence in person, the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies requires that the research supervisor, the assistant research supervisor as the case may be, and the jury chair physically attend on site.

It is also best if the other jury members physically attend. If it is impossible to do so, the jury members may participate at a distance in the thesis defence on Zoom or Webex.

The collaboration of program management is sought to organize the thesis defence as well as for the data entry in the studies management system, of information regarding the activity, namely the choice of the mode of thesis defence.

Preparing your Doctoral thesis defence

The Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies offers tools to help doctoral candidates prepare their defence.


The thesis defence lasts for approximately two hours, including the announcement of the decision. Except in very special cases, the decision is made during the process.

The quorum for a thesis defence is established at the majority of jury members and the external examiner must ideally attend in person or by videoconference. The thesis defence is delayed or postponed if there is no quorum.

The jury chair first invites the student to give a short summation of 20 to 30 minutes. Then each jury member has a say: there are usually two rounds of questions.

The chair and the jury members then withdraw to deliberate. Following their deliberation, the defence is accepted or refused unanimously or by a majority vote.

Following the defence, the jury issues a certificate which officialises the jury’s decision and specifies if it is reached unanimously or by a majority vote.


The thesis is accepted.
The Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies forwards to the student a certificate of defence and invites him/her to make a final filing of the thesis by making some corrections under the supervision of his or her research supervisor. The student has a period of 8 weeks to make the final corrections.

The thesis is refused.
The student has a right of appeal to the Dean of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies if he/she can invoke circumstances or arguments which invalidate the evaluation process. The jury’s final decision cannot in itself be subject to an application for review from the results of an evaluation, (Règlement des études, section 4.47 [Studies Regulation, in French only]. Once the time limit to appeal has lapsed without the student appealing, a fail mark is noted in his or her file.

Rooms available on campus

If needed, the University makes available a list of rooms which may be accessed on campus (PDF)

Faculties which do not have a room adapted for thesis defence may reserve the Council Room of the Louis-Jacques Casault building. Please read the procedure for reservation and use (PDF, in French only).

At the student’s request, the public is authorized to attend the thesis defence live and virtually. The room where the event is held must have the required commodities when possible.