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Graduate Student Oral Exam Attendance


To establish the requisite committee composition of graduate student oral examinations and provide instruction for situations in which a committee member is not able to be physically present.

Applies to: 

All Lawrence/Edwards Campus Graduate students

Policy Statement: 

Ideally, all members of the committee are physically present at graduate student oral examinations, which include the master’s comprehensive oral exam, the master’s final oral exam (i.e. thesis defense), the doctoral comprehensive oral exam, and the doctoral final oral exam (i.e. dissertation defense).

A majority of committee members must be physically present for an examination to commence; for doctoral oral examinations this requirement is 3 of the 5 members, for master’s oral examinations the requirement is 2 of the 3 members.

In addition, it is required that the student being examined, the chair of the committee, and the Graduate Studies representative all be physically present at the examination or defense. Mediated attendance by the student, chair and Graduate Studies representative is prohibited.

When a situation arises in which a committee member cannot be physically present, attendance via mediated means (tele/video-conferencing) is acceptable at the discretion of the committee chair.

In cases where the student prefers an examination in which all committee members are physically present, the student's preference shall be honored.

Exclusions or Special Circumstances: 

In the case of failure of technology during the examination, all members of the committee present must concur that the examination was substantially complete. If any member of the committee dissents, the examination is considered canceled and must be rescheduled. The committee members at remote locations must be contacted to submit their decision concerning the assessment of the examination before the exam results are recorded.

Graduate Studies will manage consideration of and decisions on exceptions to the policy outlined above. Requests for exceptions to this policy shall be submitted in writing to the Dean of Graduate Studies. If exceptions are granted, Graduate Studies will request that a member of the departmental leadership (the chair or director of graduate studies) be present at the examination.


Office of Graduate Studies


Approved by: 
Office of the Provost
Approved on: 
Friday, June 1, 2012
Effective on: 
Friday, June 1, 2012
Review Cycle: 
Annual (As Needed)
Graduate student oral exam attendance, Master’s comprehensive oral exam, Master’s final oral exam, Doctoral comprehensive oral exam, Doctoral final oral exam, Graduate Studies representative
Review, Approval & Change History: 

September 2014: minor edits by Graduate Studies

Academic Categories: 
Academic Programs
Graduation & Degrees

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