Final Oral Examination (Dissertation Defense)

The final oral examination (often called “defense”) normally covers a student’s dissertation and areas of study. Students may not take the final oral examination until they have satisfied all other requirements for their degree. Students’ records must be cleared of incomplete grades and progress grades (other than research) before they can take the final oral exam.

Doctoral students have five years from the date of passing their preliminary examinations to take their final oral examination and submit their dissertation. Arrangements for the final oral examination and the oral examination committee’s approval of the dissertation are the responsibilities of the student and the program. The graduate program coordinator must submit the final doctoral warrant request to the Graduate School at least three weeks before the final oral examination.

After the graduate program coordinator submits the doctoral degree warrant request, the Graduate School will review this request and send the approved doctoral degree warrant to the graduate program coordinator. The final warrant should be printed out and committee member signatures should be obtained the defense. To pass the examination, students must receive no more than one dissenting vote from their final oral examination committee. A missing signature is considered a dissent. Once the final warrant has been signed, an electronic copy should be uploaded in the administrative documents section of the ProQuest/UMI ETD Administrator website. The original signed hard copy of the final warrant should be kept with the student or the graduate program coordinator. For further information, visit the Graduate School’s Guide to Preparing Your Doctoral Dissertation.

See Preliminary ExaminationsTime Limits