Academics > Masters and Ph.D. > Ph.D.

Ph.D. Final Examination Dissertation Defense


A Ph.D. Final Examination may be scheduled if:

Dissertation Reading Committee

The student's first step toward appointment of the Dissertation Reading Committee is to assess the membership of the Ph.D. Supervisory Committee and to make changes if there are faculty who need to be added or deleted. This should be done approximately two to three quarters before the anticipated date of the Final Examination. The student should notify the Advising Office of any changes to be made to the Supervisory Committee.

The second step is to formally establish the Dissertation Reading Committee approximately one quarter before scheduling the Final Examination. Students should consult with the faculty advisor to determine which faculty on the Supervisory Committee would be appropriate Reading Committee members (three members including the faculty advisor and excluding the GSR). These are the faculty who will actually read the dissertation thoroughly, and who will sign the Doctoral Dissertation Reading Committee Approval Form. After determining the reading committee choices, the student should contact those individual faculty to get their agreement to serve on the Reading Committee. The student should then notify the Advising Office of the selection and Advising will constitute the committee in MyGrad. The Graduate School will send email confirmation to the student and to the Reading Committee members.

Final Examination

The Final Examination is an oral defense of the dissertation.

If a Final Examination is satisfactory, the Ph.D. Supervisory Committee members who participate at the examination sign the warrant and return it to the ECE Advising Office by the last day of the quarter (last day of finals week). Any members of a supervisory committee who participate at an examination but do not agree with the majority opinion are encouraged to submit a minority report to the Dean of the Graduate School. If an examination is unsatisfactory, a supervisory committee may recommend that the Dean of the Graduate School permit a second examination after a period of additional study.

Scheduling the Final Exam

The EE Advising Office should be notified 3 weeks in advance of the dissertation date.


  1. COMPLETE the Alumni Information Form.
    • Please fill in all the blanks completely, as this information is used for accreditation, statistics and to help graduates stay in touch.
    • We protect your privacy: This information is not shared with people/agencies outside the UW, and you will not be contacted for UW events unless you select to do so.

  2. REVIEW all steps outlined on the Graduate School website regarding the Final Submission of Your Electronic Thesis or Dissertation (ETD).

  3. SUBMIT a complete draft of the exam to the committee 4-6 weeks before the exam so that they will have sufficient time to review it before agreeing to schedule the exam.

  4. CONFER with advisor and other committee members to determine when defense can be scheduled, and select a date, time and location.

  5. RESERVE a room for the exam via EE Departmental Calendars.

  6. REQUEST the exam through the Graduate School using MyGrad

  7. NOTIFY all committee members of the exam date/time/location, and ask that they confirm via the Faculty Exam Approval Form 3 weeks prior to the date of the exam.
  8. ALL members of the Supervisory Committee including the GSR, regardless of whether or not they intend to attend, must agree to the scheduling and will need to confirm their agreement via the Faculty Exam Approval Form. A minimum of 4 members are required to attend: the chairperson, the GSR, and 2 other committee members.

Once requested through MyGrad and all Faculty Exam Approval Forms have been received, Advising will approve the exam and send an exam announcement to you and the members of your committee.

Submitting Dissertation

Students are required to be registered for a minimum of 2 credits for the quarter that the Final Examination is held. 

After the Final Examination, the candidate must submit a dissertation to the Graduate School.  Registration as a graduate student is required the quarter that a Final Examination is taken AND the quarter the dissertation is submitted. The degree is conferred the quarter in which the student's dissertation is accepted by the Graduate School. For graduation timelines, checklists and FAQs, see the Preparing to Graduate page

A candidate certificate and the doctoral degree may not be awarded the same quarter.

Graduate Registration Waiver Fee The $250 Graduate Registration Waiver Fee is an optional fee paid in lieu of registration.  Students who have completed all degree requirements but needed additional time to format the dissertation for a 2 week period directly following the quarter in which all Graduate School and graduate program degree requirements are met, may take advantage of this opportunity to pay the fee and not have to register the following quarter.   Qualifying students who pay this fee will graduate in the quarter following the fee payment period.  Note: This option may have an effect on the grace period for student loans becoming due; students should check with their lenders for registration requirements before utilizing this option in lieu of registration.

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