Final Oral Exam
Upon completion of all degree requirements (or the expectation of completion at the end of the currently enrolled semester) a final oral exam is conducted by the student's doctoral committee. The exam should only be scheduled after the faculty member chairing the doctoral committee concludes that the research is completed and the subsequent dissertation is in final draft form. Ideally, the exam should be scheduled several weeks prior to the Graduate School due date for submission of research papers, theses, and dissertations to allow time for any final corrections or additions that the committee might require.
The oral exam is much less of a "test" than it is a professional discussion between the student and the doctoral committee. The discussion typically centers on the student's research, although questions about coursework or other matters may be introduced at the discretion of the committee. The exam typically lasts about an hour, after which the doctoral committee will certify in writing (assuming a favorable outcome) that requirements for the degree have been met. Finally, the student will be asked to provide the Office of Graduate Programs with certain follow-up information.
A student should work closely with the faculty member chairing the doctoral committee and staff in the Office of Graduate Programs to schedule a convenient time for the meeting. Certain information provided by the student and preparation of necessary forms will be required prior to the meeting.