Application to Graduate, Final Oral Exam and Dissertation

Application to Graduate

One semester prior to your planned graduation, notify the Graduate Program Coordinator to set up a meeting. This will provide sufficient time for the Graduate Studies Committee to review your academic record, and to formally ensure that you have met the department's graduation requirements.

An Application to Graduate form must be submitted through the Graduate School's form at: Note: The completed and approved online form must be submitted to the Graduate School by the end of the third Friday of the semester in which you wish to graduate.

Ph.D.-Degree Final Oral Exam
The Graduate School Handbook outlines rules and policies related to the conduct of this examination, commonly called the "defense" of the dissertation by students and faculty. A committee is formed to read and evaluate the dissertation. It will have at least three graduate faculty members, including the student's advisor. When all the committee members have signed the Draft Approval Form, that group conducts the Final Oral Examination in accordance with the rules of the Graduate School; in addition, the Graduate School assigns a Graduate Faculty Representative to the committee.  This examination tests originality, independence of thought, the ability to synthesize and interpret, and the quality of the research presented.

The exam usually consists of two parts: 1) a 45-60 minute (no longer than 60 minutes) oral presentation by the student, followed by 2) a question-and-answer session, lasting at least 1 hour (per Graduate School Rules). Departmental Policy permits University faculty and graduate students to attend the oral presentation part of the Ph.D.-degree Final Oral Examination. One week prior to the Final Oral Exam, the the student must give the Graduate Program Coordinator their thesis abstract, date, time and location of their exam. At least one day prior to the examination, all attendees must notify the Chair of the Examination Committee of their intent to attend. The candidate shall be excused when committee members discuss and vote on the approval decision. The student is considered to have completed the final oral examination successfully only when the decision of the final oral examination committee is unanimously affirmative.

Ph.D.-Degree Dissertation
The dissertation is a scholarly contribution to knowledge in the student's area of specialization. By researching and writing a dissertation, the student is expected to demonstrate a high level of knowledge and the capability to function as an independent scholar. Refer to the Graduate Studies Handbook for policies and procedures regarding external members, timing, draft approval, and format review. Note that the Graduate School format requirements are described in the Guidelines for Preparing Theses, Dissertations, and D.M.A Documents.