Final Examination

Ph.D. students are required to undertake a Final Examination (a.k.a. "Dissertation Defense") at the conclusion of the graduate program.  This examination includes a 30-minute public presentation of a summary of the dissertation, followed by a closed session with the student’s committee that focuses intensively on the quality of the dissertation. There should be only minor changes in the dissertation at this time.

A Final Examination may be scheduled if:

  • A student passed a General Examination in a previous quarter;
  • A reading committee is officially established with the Graduate School;
  • A reading committee has read an entire draft of a dissertation and voting members of a supervisory committee agree that a candidate is prepared to take a Final Examination; and
  • The student is registered for at least two credits of GEOG 800 in the quarter of the Final Examination.

The student should consult with all committee members to find a mutually-agreed-upon time, date and location for the Final Examination. Students should check for the availability of the Smith Hall 409 conference room with the Geography Main Office. Once these details are agreed upon, students should submit the Online Request for Final Examination via MyGrad

The Director of Academic Services must then approve the scheduling of the Final Examination in MyGrad, and official notice of the exam will be e-mailed to all committee members.

The Director of Academic Services will then print the Final Examination Warrant and provide the warrant to the Supervisory Committee Chair prior to the examination. After the Final Examination, the signed warrant needs to be placed in the permanent student file and the Committee Chair must notify the Director of Academic Services of the exam results by 4:00 p.m. on the last day of the quarter (finals week). If an examination is unsatisfactory, the Supervisory Committee may recommend that the Dean of the Graduate School permit a second examination after a period of additional study.

In addition to the signed warrant, the student must also get signatures on the Doctoral Dissertation Reading Committee Approval Form. This form must be signed after all committee members have seen the final version of the dissertation, and submitted to the Graduate School by the end of the quarter the student wishes to graduate. Information about dissertation submission and publication guidelines is available from the Graduate School and the University Libraries.

It may be possible to pay the $250 Graduate Registration Waiver Fee if you were not able to submit your dissertation by the end of the quarter. Details about the eligibility requirements can be found on the Graduate School's website.