The final exam represents the culminating milestone in the PhD process. Because most of the details of the final exam are determined by the Graduate School, students are encouraged to review the information provided on their site under Doctoral Degree Policies. Of particular relevance are guidelines concerning the timing, outcomes and people involved in the exam (i.e., the reading committee).
There are several steps to be taken prior to defending the dissertation and submitting the final manustript, described below.
- Scheduling the Exam
- The Final Exam
- Reading Committee
- Submitting the Dissertation Manuscript
- Graduate Registration Fee Waiver
Once all members of the supervisory committee agree on the date and time of the defense, the candidate submits a final exam request through MyGrad. The Director of Academic Services will approve the request, generating an automated email sent to all committee members. Defenses cannot be scheduled outside of the established academic quarters, and students must be enrolled in at least 2 credits during the quarter in which they defend their dissertation.
The student must send the dissertation document, title, and abstract to their committee chair(s) 3 weeks prior to their scheduled dissertation defense date. If the committee chair(s) approve(s), they will forward the title, abstract, date/time and location to the Communications Manager for advertising the defense at least 2 weeks prior to the defense date. The dissertation defense is broadcast to the community by the Communications Manager.
When the members of the doctoral supervisory committee agree that the Candidate is prepared to take the Final Examination, all members of the doctoral supervisory committee must give the student approval to schedule the Final Examination. The Warrant for Final Examination for the Doctoral Degree is provided to committee chair(s) by the Director of Academic Services on the day of the dissertation defense. At the Final Examination the dissertation is evaluated, and if a majority of the supervisory committee members in attendance agree with the evaluation the warrant is signed. The Director of Academic Services reports the result of the final exam to the Graduate School. If a member of the doctoral supervisory committee does not agree with the majority recommendation concerning the examination, the minority report portion of the warrant must be used. See Memo 13: Supervisory Committee for Graduate Students for more information.
A minimum of three members of the supervisory committee serve on the reading committee. Selection must be made shortly after the final exam is completed, and the Director of Academic Services notified to make appropriate changes in MyGrad. At least one of the members of the reading committee must hold an endorsement to chair doctoral committees. The reading committee is appointed to read and approve the dissertation. Effective March 4, 2020, final approval for the dissertation is conducted by the Reading Committee via MyGrad. All reading committee members must submit their decisions in MyGrad prior to the student's submission of their manuscript through ETD.
The Graduate School’s Thesis/Dissertation site has an extensive set of information and resources to assist with the submission of the final manuscript. Several critical pieces of information are found at the bottom of the site under 'Questions':