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Doctoral Students

Comprehensive Exams

Each Ph.D. program requires at least comprehensive and final examinations. The Request for Graduate Examination/Thesis Defense Form must be submitted to the Graduate School at least two weeks prior to the exam date. It is the student’s responsibility to set the date and time of the exam, in consultation with his/her advisor. Students must be registered when they take the examinations.

  • The examinations may be oral, written, or both.
  • The comprehensive and final examinations will be given by the student’s dissertation committee. The student’s dissertation advisor may not chair the examination committee. All members of the committee must be present for the examination although a minority of members, but not the chairperson or the student, may participate by interactive video. In the event of an emergency that prevents one faculty committee member from attending the exam, the exam can proceed with the faculty who can attend and the student will schedule a separate meeting with the faculty member who was absent at an alternate time.
  • The committee must hold a strict majority vote for one of the following outcomes:
    Pass; Conditional Pass; Fail.
    If a student receives a Conditional Pass, the examining committee will clearly define the requirements for the student to receive an unconditional passing grade and these requirements must be completed to the satisfaction of the examination committee within 60 days of the defense. Under extenuating circumstances, the graduate program director may petition the Graduate School for additional time.
  • Each examination may be taken at most twice. If the student fails the examination a second time, s/he may not continue in the program.

To obtain all needed forms, please visit the Graduate School Webpage.​​​