This page is working on the Ph.D. Exam.
- Guide for the Electronic Submission of
Dissertations (from Graduate School).
committee to conduct the final examination of a candidate for a
doctoral degree consists of four or more persons approved for this
purpose by the Dean of the Graduate School. In most cases the
committee is the same as the supervisory committee for the candidate.
In every case at least one member of the committee must represent
the student’s related minor work. All members of the
approved committee are expected to be present for this examination.
In the event a member fails to appear for a defense, permission must
be obtained from the Associate Dean to proceed with the examination.
Otherwise, the exam must be rescheduled. Normally
the chair of the supervisory committee will preside; however, any
committee member may preside or the candidate, the chair or any
member of the committee may request an outside presiding officer.
asked on the examination should concern the candidate’s
dissertation or related matters. The candidate is expected to be
prepared both to defend the dissertation and to answer questions in
the major field of study. The examination is to be oral and
approximately two hours in length, but not to exceed three hours.
At the conclusion of the examination, each member of the committee votes
by written ballot on whether the candidate has passed the examination
and is therefore recommended for a doctoral degree. An affirmative
vote means that both the dissertation and the candidate’s
examination are accepted as satisfactory. If all members of the
committee vote affirmatively, they sign their names on two
Dissertation Title pages, two Abstract Title pages, and on the
Final Examination certificate provided by the Graduate School. Note:
In the case of a dissertation that requires revision, the committee
may opt to sign the title pages only after the revisions are
If the committee conducting the examination includes four or more
examiners, a candidate fails if two adverse votes are cast by members
of the committee or if a single adverse vote is cast by the professor
supervising the dissertation. A single adverse vote by a member of
the committee other than the supervising professor does not prevent a
candidate from passing unless the person casting the negative vote
records his protest in writing within three days with the Dean of the
Graduate School for submission to the Executive Committee of the
Graduate Faculty. After hearing the members of the committee state
the reason for and against passing the candidate, the Executive
Committee shall decide the matter. In all cases the certificate
carries a complete record of the vote as cast, and, if passed, the
dissertation bears only the signatures of the committee members
An increasingly common problem is that of committees passing
dissertations that may require extensive revisions. Ideally, the
committee should be able to determine in advance of the defense
whether the dissertation is truly ready to defend. If, while
reviewing the dissertation, the committee suspects major revisions
may be required that will take longer than 30 days, the final
examination should be postponed. If it only becomes evident during
the course of the final examination that revisions to the
dissertation cannot easily be completed during the prescribed 30
days, the student should be failed. There is no such thing as a
- A candidate who has failed the final doctoral examination may be
granted a re-examination on the recommendation of the supervising
professor no sooner than six months after the date of his failure.
The examining committee should be the same as that for the first
examination, but changes may be made in the personnel of the
committee whenever in the judgment of the Dean of the Graduate School
it is necessary or desirable. Voting requirements and other
procedures on the re-examination are the same as for the first
- A candidate who has twice failed to pass the final examination for a
doctoral degree shall not be given another opportunity in any
department of the Graduate School.
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