The oral defence

Find out about the process and format of the oral exam.

For details about the oral, please see the document below.

You can expect to receive your examiners reports and confirmation of your oral examination five working days prior to the scheduled date, earlier if possible. If we cannot give you the required number of days’ notice then the oral will be postponed and another date will be scheduled.

Support people and audio recording

You may ask for a small number of people to attend your oral for moral support. You may also request to have your oral defence audio-recorded. The Doctoral Examinations Administrator will contact you with a date for confirming these requests. The Dean WFGR must approve your requests.

People present at the oral

The oral will be chaired by a senior and independent academic from the University—the Chair may be from your Faculty but will not be from your School.

The internal examiner and the New Zealand examiner will be present. Occasionally, the overseas examiner may be linked by video, but will usually have their questions put by one of the other examiners.

Your Victoria University of Wellington supervisor is expected to attend, and your other supervisors will be invited. Supervisors do not take part in discussion during the oral, though they may make a statement to the examiners at the end of your defence.

Any support people in attendance will not have speaking rights.

Format of the oral

  • The chair will commence with a welcome and introductions of all present.
  • You will then have an opportunity to address the examiners for 10 to 15 minutes without interruption. Most candidates use a powerpoint for the presentation but this is not compulsory.
  • The examiners will question you on your thesis and engage you in discussion about your research.
  • The chair may invite you to make a closing statement.
  • The chair will ask you and any support persons or observers to leave the room.
  • Your supervisors will be given an opportunity to make a statement to the examiners and will answer any questions the examiners wish to pose.
  • The supervisors will then leave the room.
  • The examiners will discuss your thesis and agree on what recommendation to make to the Dean WFGR.
  • The chair will recall you to the room, and you will be advised of the examination committee's recommendation.