Share

Final Oral Examination

The doctoral candidate who has satisfied all other requirements for the degree will be scheduled by the Graduate Dean, on the recommendation of the Department Head, to take a final exam. Two weeks' notice is required by the Office of Graduate Enrollment Services for scheduling this examination. Normally the final oral examination may not be scheduled until at least three months have elapsed after the comprehensive examination was passed, although the Dean may grant a waiver in appropriate cases. The deadline for holding the examination is ten weeks before commencement. It is the responsibility of the doctoral candidate to provide a copy of the thesis to each member of the doctoral committee at least two weeks before the date of the scheduled examination.

Both the thesis adviser and the student are responsible for ensuring the completion of a draft of the thesis and for adequate consultation with members of the thesis committee well in advance of the oral examination. Major revisions to the thesis should be completed before this examination. The dissertation should be in its final draft, with appropriate notes, bibliography, tables, etc., at the time of the oral examination; both the content and style should be correct and polished by the time this final draft of the thesis is in the hands of the committee.

The final examination of the doctoral candidate is an oral exam administered and evaluated by the entire doctoral committee. It consists of an oral presentation of the thesis by the candidate and a period of questions and responses. These will relate in large part to the thesis, but may cover the candidate's whole program of study, since one of the purposes of the examination is to assess the general scholarly attainments of the candidate. The portion of the examination in which the thesis is presented is open to the public.

At least three members of the doctoral committee (including the thesis adviser) must be physically present at the final oral examination. The graduate student must also be physically present at the exam. (Thus for a five-person committee, two could participate via distance.) No more than one member may participate via telephone; a second member could participate via PicTel. The examination request and a request for exceptions must be submitted to the Dean of the Graduate School for approval at least three weeks prior to the date of the exam. Special arrangements, i.e., requirements for meeting participation via distance, should be communicated to the student and the doctoral committee members well in advance of the exam.

The student must be registered as a full-time or part-time degree student for the semester in which the final oral examination is taken.

A favorable vote of at least two-thirds of the members of the committee is required for passing. The results of the examination are reported to the Office of Graduate Enrollment Services. If a candidate fails, it is the responsibility of the doctoral committee to determine whether another examination may be taken.

State of the Doctoral Thesis at the Time of the Final Oral Examination

Both the committee chair and the student are responsible for assuring the completion of a draft of the thesis, and for adequate consultation with members of the thesis committee well in advance of the oral examination. Major revisions to the thesis should be completed before this examination. The dissertation should be in its final draft with appropriate notes, bibliography, tables, etc., at the time of the oral exam; both the content and style should be correct and polished by the time this final draft of the thesis is in the hands of the committee. Again, there should be an adequate period of time (at least two weeks) between the delivery of the final draft of the thesis to committee members and the scheduled oral exam.