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Doctoral Degree Policies

Final Examination -- Dissertation Defense

A Final Examination may be scheduled if: (a) a student passed a General Examination in a previous quarter; (b) a reading committee is officially established with the Graduate School; (c) the reading committee has read an entire draft of the dissertation and; (d) the entire supervisory committee has agreed that the student is prepared and has approved the student to schedule a Final Examination.  At least four members of a supervisory committee (including the Chair, Graduate School Representative, and one additional Graduate Faculty member) must be present at the examination.

What if a committee member does not show up for the exam?

Video Conferencing in Doctoral Examinations

If the Final Examination is satisfactory, the supervisory committee members who participate at the examination sign the warrant and return it to the student's graduate program by the last day of the quarter (last day of finals week). Any members of a supervisory committee who participate at an examination but do not agree with the majority opinion are encouraged to submit a minority report to the Dean of the Graduate School. If an examination is unsatisfactory, a supervisory committee may recommend that the Dean of the Graduate School permit a second examination after a period of additional study.

Graduate School Representatives may print GSR reports through their MyGradProgram Faculty View.


Registration as a graduate student is required the quarter that a Final Examination is taken AND the quarter the dissertation is submitted. The degree is conferred the quarter in which the student's dissertation is accepted by the Graduate School.

A candidate certificate and the doctoral degree may not be awarded the same quarter.