All graduate students with a thesis/dissertation/DA scholarly activity are required to complete a final examination. Final examinations are scheduled by departments after receiving approval of the student's program of study and reported to the Graduate School.
All examinations must be completed at least three (3) weeks before the end of the semester in which the student plans to graduate. All graduate requirements must be completed prior to or at the end of the semester during which final examinations are held (See Dates, Deadlines, and Procedures).
Students writing theses/dissertations/DA scholarly activities are given final oral examinations (typically a thesis/dissertation/DA defense). Others are usually given both written and oral examinations.
Oral examinations are open to all members of the Graduate Faculty as observers. Oral examinations are open to non-Graduate Faculty with permission of the advisor and the Dean of the Graduate School. When students are required to make presentations as part of the examination process, these presentations will be advertised and open to the public.
Following the oral exam, the committee meets in closed session to determine the outcome of the examination. The student passes the exam if a majority of the committee so votes. Otherwise, the student fails the exam. In the case of a tie vote with an even number committee, the student defaults to failing the exam. For students failing the oral exam, the Graduate School allows one re-examination. This re-examination is to take place during the subsequent three (3) semesters unless otherwise approved by the Graduate School. If the academic unit involved has a formal re-examination policy that is more stringent, that policy supersedes the Graduate School re-examination policy.
If the candidate’s program requires a thesis/dissertation/DA scholarly activity, copies in substantially final form shall be in the hands of the advisory committee at least two (2) weeks before the date scheduled for the oral examination (see Dates, Deadlines, and Procedures section of catalog). Oral examinations are to be held at least three (3) weeks prior to the date of graduation (see Dates, Deadlines, and Procedures section of catalog). If any committee member questions the adequacy of the substance or form of the thesis/dissertation/DA scholarly activity, the committee as a whole decides if the document and the student are sufficiently prepared for an oral examination.
The major advisor is responsible for reporting grades (using a Change of Grade) for all prior thesis/dissertation/DA scholarly activity registrations of the candidate when the document has been approved by the advisory committee.
After the successful defense of a thesis/dissertation/DA scholarly activity, the student must submit all appropriate documents to the Graduate School within two (2) weeks (see Dates, Deadlines, and Procedures section of catalog). Failure to do so may delay graduation. If the required documents are not submitted within one year, the Dean of the Graduate School may declare the defense void and require that it be repeated.
A manual with detailed instruction for thesis/dissertation/DA scholarly activity preparation and clearance (Instructions for Preparing Theses, Dissertation, DA Papers, and Professional Projects) is available on the Graduate School website or from the Graduate School.
Graduate students in programs that are primarily course-based, professional training programs are not required to have a final exam, based on the guidelines for those programs as specified in the Graduate Catalog. If the candidate’s program requires a final exam but does not result in a thesis/dissertation/DA scholarly activity, the department or college/division is responsible for having a written examination on the degree program prepared and administered. If the student’s performance is judged to be satisfactory or if it is determined that deficiencies may be cleared up during the oral examination, the advisory committee conducts the oral examination on the scheduled date. Otherwise, the student may be expected to complete subsequent requirements before the oral examination is held. All oral examinations must be completed at least three (3) weeks prior to the date of graduation (see Dates, Deadlines, and Procedures section of catalog).