Conducting an Oral Defence Graduate Students are required to defend their Project orally
through a formal Oral Defence.
Graduate Students, discussing with the project supervisor, have the
either completing their defence:
• In person at the Athabasca University campus, or
• Virtual defence at a distance using either phone
or other conferencing facilities accepted by the project review
Virtual defence at a distance is
preferred. Graduate students should discuss
the examination options and potential
dates with their supervisors.
Responsibility for Costs
Graduate Students who are required to participate in an oral defence
and who choose to participate from distance will be responsible for the
procurement of the conferencing facilities and related costs at their
chosen location. Athabasca University will cover the
costs of the Project committee.
If students choose to travel to Athabasca University for the oral
defence, they will be responsible for their own travel and
Guidelines for Oral Defence
Graduate Students should discuss with their Project Supervisors the
conduct and procedures to be used during their oral defence. Some
guidelines to consider are:
• During the conduct of an oral defence, students
will be allowed to
refer to their Project and other supporting materials (such as
data-gathering instruments) related to the conduct of their research.
• All other materials and reference books will not be
allowed during the conduct of the defence.
• Project committee members may ask specific
questions to clarify or
challenge the findings, conclusions or recommendations of the Project
or they may ask general questions which relate to any of the program
competencies studied by the student.
• Project committee members will discuss the results
of the oral
defence after the student has either left the room or “logged off” from
• The Project Supervisor will advise the defending
his/her results. This will normally be a short time after the
defence has been completed.
• In a teleconference oral defence, ensure that the
facility has a commercial quality conferencing phone with a good
speaker and microphone. You will not want to sit there and hold a
telephone to your ear for two or more hours.
For an oral defence conducted via teleconference, graduate students
• Select a teleconferencing provider (i.e. local
• In conjunction with their Project committee
members, select a time and date for the teleconference.
• Arrange for a conferencing bridge if
required. (A bridge is
recommended if more than three sites are being linked. This can
arranged through the local telephone company. For three or less
one location must have at least two lines and an ability to
teleconference in at least two other locations).
• Advise all Project committee members of the time,
date and method
(i.e. bridge or link) to be used to conduct the teleconference oral
• Before the day of the oral defence, circulate to
committee member all supporting material that may be used in the
defence but is not part of the final Project.
• On the day of the oral defence, initiate the
Updated October 05 2015 by FST Technical Staff