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Frequently Asked Questions about the Final Exam

Below are answers to questions that are not addressed by information made available by the graduate school, in some cases because the answer to the question represents a final exam policy specific to the department.

Q: Do I have to give a presentation during the defense?
A: Yes. While some departments do not require students to give a formal presentation of their work as part of the final exam, the faculty in HCDE believe in the importance of being able to describe the work orally as well as in writing (in the dissertation). The student should prepare a presentation of 35 to 50 minutes.

Q: Can I get help with scheduling the event?
A: Students are able to reserve a room in Sieg Hall using the Room Scheduling link. It is also possible to reserve the Allen Auditorium in the Allen Library

Q: Does the department permit me to have two people designated as my committee chair?
A: Yes, you can designate more than one faculty member as your committee chair. If you choose this route, it is your responsibility to keep both committee chairs informed as to your progress.

Q: Do I have to be an enrolled student in order to defend my dissertation?

A: You must register for at least two credits in order to defend the dissertation. This is true for summer as well as in the academic year. Summer ASE appointments do not typically include tuition, and students do not typically enroll for credit in summer, so this can be a barrier to summer defenses. 

Q: When am I able to use the Graduate Registration Waiver Fee?

A: If your defense is scheduled later in an academic quarter and the committee recommends edits to the dissertation, you may need more time in order to obtain approval from the Reading Committee and submit the final documents. The registration waiver provides 14 calendar days following the last day of the quarter in which all degree requirements were met. You must have been registered in the previous quarter, and submit a $250 fee by the last day of instruction in the quarter in which you submit your final ETD. This can affect your degree conferral date: e.g., if you defend in spring but use the registration waiver to submit your dissertation in summer, your degree will be conferred in summer.

Q: Am I able to schedule the defense if one or more committee members can only participate remotely?

A: Yes. Please see the graduate school policy here.

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Representative Dissertations