Appendices: Guidelines on Procedures for Scheduling PhD Thesis Examinations

(Version July 2019)
  1. PhD students, who have already completed all the coursework requirements for the degree, wishing to appear before a Thesis Examination Committee (TEC) must indicate to the department their intention to take the thesis examination at least six weeks before the proposed date of the thesis examination by submitting an online proforma via the Thesis Examination System of the Student Information System (SIS), accessible via myPortal. Inadequate notice served for taking the thesis examination will result in postponement of the thesis examination. To avoid unnecessary delay in graduation, students are advised to schedule their thesis examinations well in advance, and avoid conducting thesis examinations toward the end of a term, in order to allow sufficient time for revisions and other post-examination arrangements.
  2. Should the contents of the thesis involve commercially sensitive information, the thesis supervisor(s) is/are advised to approach the Technology Transfer Center well in advance to discuss the possibility of obtaining patent protection before the department makes announcement about the thesis examination to the public.
  3. To encourage the participation of members of the University community, thesis examinations should not be scheduled on Sundays and public holidays.
  4. The student has to complete the proforma, and seek the endorsement of the thesis supervisor(s), before submitting the proforma to the department for a PhD TEC to be recommended by the department head/program director.
  5. The department is responsible for checking the availability of examiners. Liaison with examiners to make arrangements for the thesis examination should not be done by the candidate being examined. The proforma should then be forwarded to the School concerned for identification of a Chairperson of the committee from outside the student’s department
  6. After the department head/program director and the Dean or the Dean’s designee have endorsed the proposed membership of the TEC, the proforma will be forwarded to the HKUST Fok Ying Tung Graduate School (FYTGS) for approval.
  7. FYTGS will check the proposed TEC membership to ensure that it complies with the “Guidelines on the Appointment and Roles of Chairpersons and Examiners of PhD Thesis Examination Committees”. If the proposed membership is in line with the guidelines, a confirmation email will be sent to the student, copying the thesis supervisor(s) and the department. If deviations from the University guidelines are identified, postponement or withdrawal of the thesis examination (regardless of whether the student has duly submitted the thesis or not) will be requested/required until the clearance and approval of FYTGS has been sought. Approval from FYTGS on the proposed membership of the TEC should be sought no less than four weeks before the proposed examination date.
  8. No less than four weeks before the thesis examination, the student has to deliver sufficient hard or electronic thesis copies ready for examination purpose to the department. Students failing to meet the thesis submission deadline may be required to postpone the thesis examination. The department should confirm and record the actual date of receipt of the thesis copies in the Thesis Examination System.
  9. The department should distribute the thesis copies to the Chairperson and examiners as soon as possible upon approval of the membership of the PhD TEC, such that members are given sufficient time to review the thesis. The department should also ensure the thesis copies are duly received by the examiners and record the actual dispatch date of the thesis copies in the Thesis Examination System. A thesis copy will be put on display at the department prior to the thesis examination for perusal by faculty, students, other University members, and members of the public. To increase public awareness of the scheduled thesis examination, announcements will be automatically posted at the Thesis Defense Calendar once the thesis copies receipt details are inputted into the Thesis Examination System. Other forms of posting, such as emails and/or posters, should also be made accordingly.
  10. Upon students’ submission of the thesis copies for examination purpose, FYTGS will formally issue an appointment to the Chairperson and examiners of the TEC.
  11. At least one working day before the thesis examination is held, FYTGS will send an email reminder to members of the PhD TEC and relevant parties of the School/department, containing the TEC membership and details of the thesis examination.
  12. If changes are to be made after the proforma has been approved by FYTGS, the department/student is required to seek clearance, via School, from FYTGS before the changes can be effected.​
  13. In the event a Chairperson or examiner declines the appointment to serve on the TEC, the School/department is responsible for nominating a replacement Chairperson/examiner for the consideration of FYTGS as soon as possible. FYTGS may request the thesis examination to be postponed if the time allowed for the replacement Chairperson/examiner to review the student’s thesis prior to the thesis examination is considered insufficient.
  14. Students will also be notified by the Health, Safety and Environment Office for performing safety clearance check where applicable.

For enquiries regarding the arrangements for scheduling PhD thesis examinations, please contact FYTGS via the department office.