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Doctoral Degree Final Oral Exams


To define the eligibility and requirements for doctoral final oral exams at the University of Kansas

Applies to: 

All Lawrence/Edwards Campus Graduate students

Policy Statement: 

Completion of the dissertation is the final academic phase of a doctoral program, culminating in the final oral examination and defense of the dissertation. In all but the rarest cases, tentative approval of the dissertation is followed promptly by the final oral examination. When the completed dissertation has been accepted by the committee in final draft form, and all other degree requirements have been satisfied, the chair of the committee requests the Graduate Division to schedule the final oral examination. This request must be made in advance of the desired examination by at least the period specified by the Graduate Division (normally three weeks). The submission of the request must allow sufficient time to publicize the examination so that interested members of the university community may attend. The final oral examination may be held no earlier than one (1) month after the successful completion of the comprehensive oral examination. Departments, programs, schools, or the College may require a longer minimum interval between the oral comprehensive exam and the final dissertation defense.

The committee for the final oral examination must consist of at least five members (the members of the dissertation committee plus other members of the Graduate Faculty recommended by the committee chair and the department and appointed by the Graduate Division). At least one member must be from a department other than the major department. This member represents Graduate Studies and must be a regular member of the Graduate Faculty. Before the examination, the Graduate Division provides a list of responsibilities to the Graduate Studies representative. The Graduate Studies representative is a voting member of the committee and has full right to participate in the examination. In the case of any unsatisfactory or irregular aspects of the exam or violation of Graduate Studies policy, the Graduate Studies representative shall provide a written report to the Vice Provost of Graduate Studies for consideration of further action. 

The Graduate Division ascertains whether all other degree requirements have been met and if reports of any previously scheduled final oral examinations have been submitted and recorded. Upon approval of the request, the final oral examination is scheduled at the time and place designated by the Graduate Division. This information must be published in a news medium as prescribed by the Graduate Faculty. Interested members of the university community are encouraged to attend these examinations.

For every scheduled final oral examination, the department reports to the Graduate Division a grade of Honors, Satisfactory, or Unsatisfactory for the candidate’s performance. If an Unsatisfactory grade is reported, the candidate may be allowed to repeat the examination on the recommendation of the department.


Graduate Studies

Approved by: 
Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs
Approved on: 
Friday, July 17, 2009
Effective on: 
Friday, July 17, 2009
Review Cycle: 
Annual (As Needed)

This policy reflects the practices that have been in place at the University of Kansas for a number of years.

Doctoral final oral exams, Graduate Studies representative, Doctoral dissertation
Change History: 

04/07/2023: Fixed broken links.
04/04/2023: Removed broken links.
06/25/2020: Changed Dean of Graduate Studies to Vice Provost of Graduate Studies.
01/10/2017: Policy Update - shortened minimum interval between comps and defense
12/04/2015: Technical edits.
October 2014: Reviewed and updated by Graduate Studies

Academic Categories: 
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