Modified Guidelines for Remote Final Oral Exams (PhD, Master's) and Candidacy Exams

Updated August 2021

On March 13, 2020, the Faculty of Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies (GPS) announced modifications to the teleconferencing guidelines for final oral examinations and candidacy examinations to accommodate logistical challenges presented by COVID-19.

At that time, Calendar regulations, which noted that no more than two participants could attend an exam by teleconference, were temporarily adjusted to permit fully remote examinations to proceed, thus ensuring that these exams could continue to take place safely during COVID.

Now that the Province of Alberta is in Phase 3 of its reopening plan, the Faculty is updating these guidelines as follows:

  • Over the past sixteen months, departments were required to submit special exception requests to allow one or more individuals to participate in person for exams. These exception requests for partial in-person exams are no longer necessary as campus buildings and facilities gradually resume more activities.
  • As we transition back to more in-person work this fall, faculties and departments may plan candidacy and final examinations that accommodate both in-person and/or remote participation. It is expected that graduate students, supervisors, and faculty and staff members will experience differing levels of comfort with participating in person versus remotely. As faculties and departments plan their exams, we encourage everyone to consider these sensitivities and preferences.
  • Examinations should be conducted in accordance with the university's COVID-19 safety and health directives. As these may evolve, please ensure that your exam arrangements are abiding by the latest requirements. For full information, please see the Safety Measures General Directives page.
  • Examinations should also be held in appropriate spaces that support and provide flexibility for the technological needs of partial remote delivery where applicable and/or necessitated at the last minute.

In the event that any questions or issues arise prior to or during an exam, exam chairs should be advised to contact their program’s Associate Dean in GPS, or Andrea Riewe (780-492-2816), who will connect them with a member of our decanal team.

All other regulations governing the conduct of the final oral examination for Master's and PhDs, and the candidacy oral exam, apply as written in the University of Alberta Academic Calendar.

Please note that these modified guidelines are based on information we have now. As this is a rapidly evolving situation, we will update them should other contingencies arise.

For further information, please contact:

Andrea Riewe (Executive Coordinator) at 780-492-2816

Bobbi Schiestel (Faculty General Manager) at 780-999-4240