Evaluation Decisions for Doctoral Defense

There are four possible evaluation decisions for the doctoral defense.  All decisions—with the exception of “fail”—must be unanimous.

Pass

“Pass” requires that both the defense and the document (dissertation or treatise) are acceptable. In some cases, the committee may require minor revisions, which will be checked by the supervising professor. While the supervisor should wait to sign the gold sheet until any revisions have been reviewed, committee members may choose to sign at the defense. The committee should agree on the length of time allowed for submission of the revised dissertation. The completed Report of Dissertation Defense (gold sheet) should be returned to the Graduate School as soon as the final revisions to the dissertation have been approved.

Reconsideration

“Reconsideration” indicates that extensive revision of the dissertation is necessary, but that the committee is willing to re-evaluate the revised document without requiring another oral examination. The committee should agree upon the length of time allowed for submission of the revised dissertation. The supervisor of the committee should immediately notify the Graduate School when the decision of the committee is Reconsideration. Only after review of the revised dissertation, assuming the revisions are satisfactory to the committee, should the committee members sign the Report of Dissertation Defense (gold sheet) and submit the Report to the Graduate School. After reviewing the required changes, a committee member who is still not satisfied with the revisions may request another oral examination. In this case, the Report of Dissertation Defense should be returned unsigned with a letter from the supervisor reporting Not Pass (see the further instructions below for “Not Pass”).

Not Pass

“Not pass” indicates that committee is not satisfied with the dissertation and with the oral examination, but believes that rewriting may make it acceptable. In this case, the Report of Dissertation Defense should be returned unsigned with a letter from the supervisor reporting not pass.

Committee members should submit their individual Report on Doctoral Dissertation forms indicating their dissatisfaction. Another scheduled defense will be required, and new forms will be generated for signatures.

Fail

“Fail” indicates that at least one member of the committee has decided that the dissertation is unsatisfactory and may not be rewritten. Committee members should submit their individual Report on Doctoral Dissertation forms indicating their dissatisfaction. This decision amounts to the termination of a doctoral student’s program.

Documentation

Document a dissertation defense as follows:

  • The supervisor should bring the Report of Dissertation Defense, also known as the “gold sheet,” to the defense. The scheduling information on the gold sheet must be correct; if the time or location changes, the Graduate School must be informed.
  • If the defense and dissertation are satisfactory, all committee members in attendance should sign the Report of Dissertation Defense. The Graduate School does not distinguish between physical attendance or electronic/virtual attendance at the dissertation defense.
  • Once all attending members have signed the gold sheet, the Graduate Studies Committee chairperson should provide the final signature indicating that all coursework and other departmental requirements have been completed.
  • The gold sheet should be returned to the doctoral degree evaluator in the Graduate School, Main 101.