FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Doctoral Degree: Completion FAQ
- What if a student needs to change committee members after an initial committee is submitted and approved?
Changes in committee membership may be made after an initial committee is submitted and approved. Such changes require program and collegiate approval and must be recorded in the system of record.
- 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.
- Is it required that my advisor represent my major field on the final oral examination committee?
Yes, your advisor must be one of the three people representing your major field on the examination committee.
- I have co-advisors. Do both of my co-advisors have to 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.
- 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 different graduate program than the student’s major field; however see question #6..
- Can a faculty member representing a formal track within a graduate program that is different from the student’s track satisfy the requirement that one committee member represent a field outside of the student’s major field?
Yes, if approved by the program and collegiate unit.
- 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.
- Do the student and the committee members have to be physically present on campus for the final oral examination?
No, neither the student nor the committee members are required to be physically present on campus for the final oral examination as long as all of the conditions required for remote participation in the exam are met.
- 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.
- 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 be approved in advance, if possible. In such cases, the advisor should consult with the appropriate collegiate unit staff before the start of the examination.
- Is it permissible to recess the doctoral final oral examination?
Yes . You should refer to the Procedure: Canceling or Recessing the Doctoral Preliminary and/or a Master’s or Doctoral Final Oral Examination for further information.
- When should students apply for degree clearance?
Students should apply via MyU by the first day of the intended month of degree clearance.
- What does it mean to “file a digital copy of the dissertation with the University in accordance with University standards”?
University standards require that students who complete a doctoral dissertation submit a digital copy of their dissertation to the University Digital Conservancy (UDC) for archiving. See the appendix: Thesis Formatting and Submission Guidelines for additional information. Students may request an embargo on publication of the dissertation for a limited period of time (see question #13).
- 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).
- Under what circumstances should students request an embargo?
Considerations that are likely to be deemed reasonable 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 your dissertation or thesis as a book; or content that is likely to be submitted to a peer-reviewed journal.