Suggested Guidelines for the Final Oral Examination
The following are some guidelines for the final oral examination. Dissertation refers
to both thesis and dissertation.
Scheduling and Announcement
The final oral examination, usually over the general field of the dissertation, is
required of all candidates for doctoral and master’s thesis-option degrees. It should
be scheduled at least four months after the student has been admitted to candidacy
and a suitable time after the dissertation (not necessarily the final version) has
been read by the advisory committee. All committee members should have copies of the
dissertation at least 2 weeks prior to the defense (some programs may require earlier
distribution). The examination is a formal public affair. Therefore, it should be
held during weekday business hours when classes are in session and not during break
periods. (A defense may begin as late as 4:30 p.m. in the afternoon.) The examination
should be held in a HSC room conducive to attendance by faculty members and students.
Doctoral Students Only- At least three weeks before the date of the examination, the candidate should submit
the signed notification form and the defense abstract to the Dissertation Coordinator
at TTU. The Graduate School should be notified as soon as possible when it becomes
necessary for a doctoral examination to be postponed.
Graduate Dean's Representative
The Graduate Dean’s representative is a member of the Graduate Faculty appointed by
the Graduate School (TTU for dissertations and GSBS for theses) primarily to observe
and report (if necessary) on the conduct of the final examination. The representative
shall have access to the thesis/dissertation and may participate in questioning the
candidate. The student must provide a copy of the dissertation to the Dean’s representative
at least a week before the defense. The Dean's representative also must sign the Oral
Defense Signature Form after the defense is complete.
Conduct of the Examination
The chairperson of the advisory committee should convene the examination by introducing
the candidate, giving his or her background, and indicating the general format of
the proceedings to follow, although there may be variations from department to department.
Initially, the candidate should give an overview of his or her study for the benefit
of those in attendance who have not read the dissertation (15 to 30 minutes). After
this, under the guidance of the chairperson, the candidate may be questioned by members
of his or her committee, the representative, and other audience members. As indicated
earlier, the examination is a public affair and the candidate should be prepared to
defend his or her work before anyone who may question it. A copy of the dissertation
(not necessarily in final form) should be available for reference during the examination.
When ample opportunity has been given for this discussion, those not on the doctoral
committee should be excused while the committee and the representative ask further,
possibly more detailed, questions regarding both the dissertation and its research
procedures. The candidate should be dismissed from the room while the committee comes
to a decision concerning the results of the examination. When the decision is made,
the Thesis or Dissertation Oral Defense Signature Form should be signed by the committee members to record votes.
The chairperson should then inform the candidate of the outcome. The signature page
is sent to the Assistant Dean, Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, TTUHSC, who
will forward it to the Thesis/Dissertation Coordinator, Graduate School TTU. NOTE:
A Dissertation Approval/Disapproval Signature form signed by the committee members
upon completion of the dissertation must be sent to the Assistant Dean, Graduate School
of Biomedical Sciences also.
All members of the dissertation committee must approve and sign the document, either
approving or disapproving, before it is submitted to the Graduate School of Biomedical
Sciences Office. More than one vote for disapproval shall constitute failure of the