Oral Examinations

Once your dissertation is nearing completion, it’s time to schedule your defense—your final oral examination.

You should begin making arrangements for your defense at the beginning of the semester (especially during the summer) in order to accommodate the travel plans of your committee members.

Defense Attendance

You, the student, and your supervisor, in negotiation with the dissertation committee members, should determine a time and date for the defense. You must schedule the dissertation defense with the Graduate School at least two weeks prior to the defense date by completing the Request for Final Oral Examination form. All members of your committee must sign your request form indicating their intent to be present at your final oral. Your graduate adviser must also sign this form to indicate you have been approved to defend.

It is expected that all members of the committee attend the defense, either in person or via teleconference. The Graduate School does not distinguish between physical attendance or electronic/virtual attendance. If one non-supervisory committee member is unable to attend the defense, there must be an explanation of the member’s absence, together with an assurance that your dissertation will be read, and if approved, signed.  There is a pre-typed section on the 2nd page of the Request for Final Oral Examination form, which may be used, or an attached letter may be used.  These explanations must be signed by the committee member in question, OR your committee supervisor, OR your graduate adviser.  Call the Graduate School at 512-471-4511 with any questions concerning this.

After the Defense

At the defense, the dissertation signature page should be signed by all members of your committee. (It’s a good idea to take at least two copies of your signature page to your defense.)

Your committee supervisor will mail the Report of Dissertation Defense—the official recommendation of your committee to the Dean of Graduate Studies, who depends on it to determine your eligibility to receive the doctoral degree—to the Graduate School. A passing report signifies that your committee unanimously agrees that you have completed a dissertation that is an independent investigation in your major field.

In the event that revisions to your dissertation are necessary before your committee members approve your dissertation, the report will be retained by your supervisor until all revisions have been completed.

After you’ve made required or requested revisions to your dissertation, if any, check it carefully for grammar, spelling, punctuation, content and format, then convert it to the required PDF format and upload it.

Upcoming Oral Examinations

Doctoral students’ final oral examinations are open to members of the faculty and—with the committee’s consent—non-faculty. Scheduled oral examinations are published here.