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PhD final examination

After the Reading Committee has read an entire draft of the dissertation. The entire supervisory committee has agreed that the student is prepared and has approved the student to schedule a Final Examination. The student must schedule the Final Exam through MyGrad Program.

  • It is imperative that students familiarize themselves with the Graduate School requirements for the Final Examination: Dissertation Defense. Also to this end, students should review the Graduate School Thesis/Dissertation requirements carefully.
  • Prior to scheduling the Final Exam, the student should notify all members of the Supervisory Committee, including the GSR, of the exam date, time. In addition, the student must book a room for the Exam.
  • The student must then compose an e-mail to the ME Graduate Academic Adviser notifying the department of the exact dissertation title. This is necessary so an announcement can be sent to the ME students and faculty.
  • During this period, the Graduate School will evaluate the transcript.

Before going to your Final Exam the student must:

Final dissertation submission to the graduate school

The Final Exam is a defense of the dissertation and has two parts: a public presentation, and a closed portion which is open only to faculty members. The Supervisory Committee determines if the student passes the Exam.

Upon completion of the Exam and no later than the last day of the quarter, the student must:

  • Return the signed ME Committee Signature Form to the ME Office.
  • Submit the final version of the dissertation to the Graduate School electronically through UW ETD Administrator Site.
  • If a student is unable to submit the dissertation by the end of the quarter, they have the option of requesting a Graduate Registration Fee Waiver.
  • This option is available to qualifying students for a 2-week period directly following the quarter in which all degree requirements are met. Students who pay this fee will graduate in the quarter following the fee payment period.

This option may have an effect on the grace period for student loans becoming due; students should check with their lenders for registration requirements before utilizing this option in lieu of registration. International students must consult with an adviser in the Office of International Students and Scholars to determine their eligibility for this option.

International students must consult with an adviser in the Office of International Students and Scholars to determine their eligibility for this option.

Important details to remember:

  • Failure to submit any of the above documents or electronic copies of the dissertation by the published deadlines will result in graduation being delayed.
  • The degree is conferred the quarter in which the student's dissertation is accepted by the Graduate School.

Final Exam checklist

Procedure Recommended Deadline
Establishing your Reading Committee
E-mail in order to establish your Reading Committee (minimum 3 members from the Supervisory committee; 2 of the 3 must be core ME faculty)
3 months prior to scheduling the Final Exam, or as soon as the dissertation draft is complete
Graduate Program Adviser enters this information into your student record and Graduate School officially appoints Reading Committee electronically.  
Submitting Dissertation copies to your Reading Committee
Provide a dissertation copy to your Reading Committee; you must be registered for a minimum of 2 credits of ME 800 during the quarter in which your dissertation is being read. The document submitted to the Reading committee should be complete but not necessarily in a finished format.
Requesting for the Final Examination
Submit Request for Scheduling Final Exam to the Graduate School through student MyGrad page confirming the date, time, and place with each committee member. The Graduate Program Adviser will then receive your request and be able to approve it.
At least 3 weeks prior to the Final Exam
Department sends Committee Signature Form for Final Exam, the Supervisory Committee sign off on the form to be placed back in your student file.  
Announcing the Final Exam to faculty & students
Notify the Graduate Program Adviser to announce to faculty and students of your upcoming Exam. Provide the exact title of your dissertation, date, time and location of your Final Exam.
At least two weeks prior to the Final Exam
You must maintain registration as a full- or part-time graduate student for the quarter of the exam and the quarter in which the PhD degree is conferred.  
Following the Final Exam, students return the signed Committee Signature Form to the ME Graduate Program Adviser Final day of the quarter by 5:00 pm
Submit an Electronic Dissertation and a Committee Approval Form to the Graduate School through the UW ETD Administrator Site by the last day of the quarter by 11:59 p.m. on the last day of the current quarter. Final day of the quarter by 11:59 pm


Instructions for Virtual Doctoral Examinations:

These are minimum Graduate School requirements regarding virtual doctoral examinations.

As stated in UW Graduate School Policy 4.2, graduate student exams must have four committee members present – the Chair, GSR (or DR), and at least one additional Graduate Faculty member. If any member(s) and/or the student needs to participate in an exam but cannot be physically present, the Graduate School allows for virtual examinations if the following requirements are met:

  • The minimum number of required committee members must attend the examination in-person or virtually.  If communication is broken during the examination and cannot be retrieved, thereby not fulfilling the minimum number of exam participants, the examination must be terminated and rescheduled to a later time/date.

  • If the examinations are held in-person or hybrid, the Graduate School Representative (GSR) or the Departmental Representative (DR) are NOT required to participate virtually and/or in-person.

  • The student is not required to participate by video conference at an academic institution, and therefore, a proctor (faculty or administrative personnel)

It is your responsibility to know the requirements for your PhD degree. See complete Graduate School requirements for Final Examination: Dissertation Defense.

You also need to refer to the ME department's PhD degree procedures to ensure that you have completed all of the Department’s requirements for your degree.