University of Minnesota  FAQ

Doctoral Degree: Completion


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Please use the contact section in the governing policy.

  1. Can I change a committee member after my initial committee has been submitted and approved?

    Yes. Committee changes require program and collegiate approval and must be recorded in the system of record.

  2. Can a collegiate unit delegate responsibility for approving changes in committee membership to the program level?

    No. It is the responsibility of the collegiate unit and the program to ensure that all initial and replacement members are eligible to serve on the doctoral final oral examination committee.

  3. Must my advisor represent my major field on the final oral examination committee?

    Yes. Your advisor must be one of the three individuals required to represent your major field on the examination committee.

  4. I have co-advisors. Must both of my co-advisors represent my major field on the final oral examination committee?

    At least one of your advisors must represent the major field. If you have co-advisors, one may represent the outside/minor field.

  5. Why does my final oral examination committee have to include an outside committee member? Who qualifies as an outside member?

    An outside committee member is required to both ensure fairness and due process for the student in the examination and to ensure that the student is examined across the breadth of knowledge represented by their field of study. An outside member is typically from a graduate program other than the student’s major field; however see the following question for more information.

  6. I’m pursuing a formal track in a graduate program that offers multiple tracks. Can a faculty member from one of my program’s other tracks qualify as the required outside examiner on my committee?

    Yes, if approved by the program and collegiate unit.

  7. Is there a time limit on the length of oral examinations?The expected length of an oral examination may differ by program. However, examinations typically range from 1.5 to 3 hours.
  8. Must the student and the committee members attend the final oral examination in person?

    No, neither the student nor the committee members are required to attend the final oral examination in person as long as all of the conditions required for remote participation in the exam are satisfied.

  9. Can a committee member abstain from voting in the doctoral final oral examination?

    No, all committee members are required to vote in the final examination.

  10. An emergency situation has arisen with one of my committee members. Am I allowed to identify a substitute?

    Yes. Substitutions for the doctoral final oral examination that are necessitated by emergency situations should, if possible, be approved in advance. The advisor should consult with the appropriate collegiate unit staff before the start of the examination.

  11. Is it permissible to recess the doctoral final oral examination?

    Yes. Refer to the Procedure: Canceling or Recessing the Doctoral Preliminary and/or a Master’s or Doctoral Final Oral Examination for further information.

  12. When should students apply for degree clearance?

    Students should apply via MyU by the first day of the intended month of degree clearance.

  13. I was asked at my final oral examination to make revisions to my thesis. How does my advisor certify that the revisions have been completed so that the degree can be awarded?

    The signature of your advisor (and co-advisor if applicable) on the signature page you are required to submit with your thesis certifies that the advisor/s have seen and approved the final version of the thesis.

  14. What does it mean to “file a digital copy of the dissertation with the University in accordance with University standards”?

    University standards require doctoral students to submit a digital copy of their dissertation to the University Digital Conservancy (UDC) via ProQuest for archiving. See the appendix: Thesis Formatting and Submission Guidelines (PDF) for additional information. Students may request an embargo on publication of the dissertation for a limited period of time.

  15. At what time should students request an embargo (hold) on the publication of the dissertation?

    The request for an embargo (hold) must be made prior to the conferral of the degree. Once the final approved copy of the dissertation is submitted and approved, students cannot make changes to the dissertation or remove it from the University Digital Conservancy (UDC).

  16. Under what circumstances should students request an embargo?

    Circumstances that argue for granting permission to restrict dissemination include: Patentable rights in the work or other issues in which disclosure may be detrimental to the rights or interests of the author; the ethical need to prevent disclosure of sensitive or classified information about persons, institutions, technologies, etc.; the interest of an academic or commercial press in acquiring the rights to publish the dissertation or thesis; or content that is likely to be submitted to a peer-reviewed journal. In rare instances, students may wish to request an extension to the embargo. Such requests must be submitted, following the same embargo-request process, before the original embargo expires. Approval of an extension to the embargo is not guaranteed.