Dissertation/Thesis Defense

The description that follows includes requirements for both the dissertation (Ph. D.)  and  thesis (M. S.) defense examinations.  Where requirements differ, M. S. requirements are in parentheses.

Students must complete the Doctorate of Philosophy Examination form of the Graduate School prior to the examination.

The Graduate School requires that the “Program of Study” document to contain ONLY those courses a student has taken that are necessary to meet the requirements of the degree.  Grad students approaching graduation that are preparing this document should compare the courses they have listed and ONLY include the minimum amount of information to demonstrate completion of the degree. This document should not include any deficiency courses taken as prescribed by the department.  Otherwise, the form is returned, has to be corrected, and then everyone has to sign it again.

Be aware of the deadlines for final exams, etc. for graduation as published by the Graduate School.  The final examination consists of a 45- to 60-minute (MS: 30- to 45-minute) seminar summarizing the dissertation research for the committee.  The seminar is followed by a rigorous oral defense of the dissertation.

The defense of the dissertation (thesis) may lead to additional questions in regard to the student’s disciplinary knowledge base, but this is not a requisite of the exam.  The Graduate School form to schedule this exam must be filed at least 10 working days in advance.  Not later than seven (7) working days before the date of the final examination, the student must personally deliver a final copy of the dissertation (thesis) to each member of the examining committee.

A candidate who fails in the final examination may (1) upon recommendation of the advisor and approval of the graduate dean, be granted a second examination after a lapse of at least one semester (or 16 weeks) or (2) be excluded from further candidacy for the degree.  Failure of the 2nd examination disqualifies a candidate from obtaining the degree.

Last modified: December 27, 2015

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