If you have questions about oral examinations, contact us at GradStudentSvcs@austin.utexas.edu.
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 schedules of your committee members.
Students must be currently enrolled in the dissertation course for the semester in which the defense is scheduled and held.
Any changes to your dissertation committee must be approved by the Dean of the Graduate School. Changes should be approved at least 30 days prior to the date of the oral examination so that all new members have ample time to become familiar with your dissertation.
You, the student, and your supervisor, in negotiation with the dissertation committee members, should determine a time and date for the defense. Each member of your committee must receive a copy of your dissertation at least four weeks prior to your dissertation defense date. A defense cannot be held within two weeks of the last class day of the semester, unless the committee has consented to hold the defense within those last 2 weeks.
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. The Graduate School does not distinguish between physical attendance or electronic/virtual attendance of the defense. One non-supervisory committee member may be absent from the defense in if necessary, but all members must read the dissertation and, when satisfied, sign the Report of Dissertation Committee form.
Email the Graduate School at the link above with any questions concerning defense attendance.
When you submit the Request for Final Oral Examination form to the Graduate School, you should include one copy each of the dissertation abstract, title page and the committee membership page for a format check in separate PDF. You do not need to include the instructions page.
After the Defense
The official recommendation of your committee and your program is communicated to the Graduate School on the Report of Dissertation Committee. The Dean of the Graduate School depends on this document to determine your eligibility to receive the doctoral degree so it is essential that it be completed and returned in a timely fashion. 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 successful completion of your defense and any required revisions to your dissertation, the Report of Dissertation Committee should also be signed by all members of your committee and must be submitted to the Graduate School.
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.
Do not submit your report/thesis/dissertation via email. Final reports, theses and dissertations MUST be uploaded to the Texas Digital Library before your final paperwork and pages will be reviewed. After submission, no revisions or corrections will be allowed except for those required by the dean of the Graduate School.
Doctoral students’ final oral examinations are open to all members of the University community and the public unless attendance is restricted by the Graduate Studies Committee. Scheduled oral examinations are published on the UT Grad School website.