• Home
  • Graduate Studies Representative on Doctoral Exam Committees

Graduate Studies Representative on Doctoral Exam Committees


To define the conditions that a Graduate Faculty member may serve as the Graduate Studies Representative on a doctoral student examination committee.

Applies to: 

Graduate Faculty

Policy Statement: 

Doctoral student oral examinations include the doctoral comprehensive oral exam and the doctoral final oral exam (i.e., dissertation defense). The committee for the comprehensive oral examination and final oral examination must consist of at least five Graduate Faculty members appointed by the committee chair, department, and/or Graduate Division of the professional school or College.

The Graduate Studies Representative must be a member of the Graduate Faculty authorized to serve on doctoral exams by a department other than the aspirant’s major department.

A faculty member from a different department with a courtesy appointment in the student’s department may serve as the Graduate Studies Representative or in fulfillment of the committee majority pursuant to the Doctoral Student Oral Exam Committee Composition policy but cannot serve in both roles at the same time.

The role of the Graduate Studies Representative is designed to assure the appropriate standard of fairness, professionalism, judgment, and skill are applied throughout the examination process for the benefit of the institution and in the best interest of the student. As an independent participant observer, this member should have no personal or professional duality or conflict of interest with other members of the committee or with the student that would prevent the representative from the unbiased fulfillment of these responsibilities.

The Graduate Studies Representative must be phsyically present for the duration of the examination. If the Graduate Studies Representative has not arrived, the exam may not begin and if the Graduate Studies Representative leaves, the exam may not continue. No proceedings held without the Graduate Studies Representative may influence the student's milestone outcome.

The Graduate Studies Representative is a voting member of the committee and has full rights 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 Dean of Graduate Studies for consideration of further action.

Before the examination, the Graduate Division should provide a list of responsibilities to the Graduate Studies Representative. A list of these responsibilities is provided below:

  1. The examination was conducted in compliance with the policies and by-laws of Graduate Studies and the program’s Graduate Division.
  2. The examination was held in a manner that was free and open to the public.
  3. The representative was accorded full participatory rights in the examination.
  4. The representative was accorded full voting rights as a member of the committee.
  5. The examination was free from irregularities or unfairness to the student.
  6. The examination was free from irregularities or unfairness among faculty members.
  7. The examination, if repeated, occurred at least the appropriate minimum interval after last unsuccessful attempt, as determined by the department.
Exclusions or Special Circumstances: 

Graduate Studies will manage any exceptions to the policy outlined above. Requests for exceptions must be made in writing to the Dean of Graduate Studies detailing the exception requested and the extraordinary circumstances that have resulted in the request.


Office of Graduate Studies
213 Strong Hall
1450 Jayhawk Blvd.
Lawrence, KS 66045

Approved by: 
Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs
Approved on: 
Thursday, March 1, 2012
Effective on: 
Friday, June 1, 2012
Review Cycle: 
Annual (As Needed)
Doctoral comprehensive oral exam, Doctoral final oral exam, Doctoral dissertation, Graduate Faculty appointment, Graduate Studies representative, Outside member
Change History: 

07/13/2020: Changed link from Dean's Letter to the Graduate Studies Representatives to Vice Provost's Letter to the Graduate Studies Representatives.
07/02/2019: Technical edit to clarify that the exam attendance rules must be observed for the full duration of the exam. The Graduate Studies Representative must be physically present throughout.
08/09/2018: Updated link to the Dean's Letter to the Graduate Studies Representatives. 
06/08/2018: Technical edits for consistency with update to Doctoral Degree Oral Comprehensive Exams policy.
07/08/2016: Updated to remove gendered pronouns.
12/03/2015: Technical edits.
10/01/2014: Graduate Studies made minor edits to the list of responsibilities of the Graduate Studies representative.
09/25/2014: Fixed broken links and made minor updates to formatting.
09/24/2014: This policy that specifically applies to the Graduate Studies representative on doctoral exam committees was developed from the preceding policy titled: Graduate Student Oral Exam Committee Composition. The Graduate Studies representative was formerly referred to as the “Outside committee member”. Prior to final approval by the Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, this policy was reviewed and endorsed by the academic deans and associate deans, directors of graduate study, school personnel, the Executive Committee of Graduate Faculty, and the Dean of Graduate Studies.
03/01/2012: The Office of the Provost approved Graduate Student Oral Exam Committee Composition policy.

Academic Categories: 
Academic Programs
Graduation & Degrees

Can't Find What You're Looking For?
Policy Library Search
KU Today
One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
Nearly $290 million in financial aid annually
44 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
23rd nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets," Military Times