Final Oral Defense Examination

Upon the completion of the dissertation, the candidate must submit to a Final Oral Defense Examination. A student must be in good academic standing to schedule the defense. The examination focuses on the dissertation itself but can include general questioning related to the field(s) of study within the scope of the dissertation (Final Oral Defense Instructions).

The date, time, and location of the final examination must be scheduled with the Graduate College in advance using the Announcement of Final Oral Defense form in GradPath.  This form should be submitted far enough in advance of the examination that all approvers can grant their approval in time for the form to reach the Graduate College one week prior to the exam.  The Graduate College will place an announcement on the UA master calendar to invite the public to attend the candidate's presentation of his or her work.  Final Oral Examinations should be scheduled during days when the university is in session and during normal business hours. Permission to hold examinations during University holiday closures or outside of normal university business hours may be granted by Graduate College.

The dissertation director presides over the examination. The initial seminar portion during which the student presents the dissertation and entertains questions is open to the public.  The committee's deliberation is closed to the public.

There is no minimum time limit for the Final Oral Examination, but the entire proceedings may not exceed three hours. Members of the committee must be present for the entire examination. Should special circumstances require a member to attend remotely, prior permission from the Graduate College is necessary.

If the committee requires revisions, those must be done in a timely manner, not to exceed one year.  If the revisions are not completed by the dissertation submission deadline for the term when the student defends, the student will be required to register for the next semester and will graduate in the semester when the revisions are complete and approved.  If revisions are not done by the end of the time to degree period, the student will have to re-take comprehensive examinations to demonstrate currency of knowledge.