Final Exam Guidelines

Final Exam Guidelines

Writing and defending the doctoral dissertation is the final requirement for a Ph.D.  Your Supervisory Committee determines if you have completed a body of work meeting the standards of the program. 

To Do:

  1. The Graduate School accepts only electronic theses/dissertations (ETDS). Students submitting an ETD should read through information posted on the Graduate School website, beginning with
  2. At least three months before your defense: Set Final Exam date with Supervisory Committee. The GSR and Chair are required to be at the Final Exam.
  3. Three months before your defense: Email MaryEllin (, MCB Graduate Specialist, the names of your Reading Committee. Three (3) members are required, including your supervisor.
  4. At least five weeks before your defense: Present your Reading Committee with your dissertation. Your thesis Reading Committee must read your dissertation and agree to the date and time of your exam before you schedule your Final Examination online.
  5. At least three weeks before your defense: Schedule your Final Examination online via MyGrad. If your exam will not be held on the UW main campus or at FHCRC, you will need to include the full address and room number of the venue. When the exam is approved, Maria Sanders will emial you the warrant. If you have not received this information contact the MCB Office.
  6. Three weeks before your defense:  Email Maria Sanders (, MCB program assistant, the title of your dissertation, date, time, location and how you want your name to read; she will announce your exam and make up flyers.
  7. Three days after your defense: The signed Warrant must be returned to MaryEllin, not later than the last day of the Quarter. MaryEllin will officially report the outcome of your exam to the Graduate School. Your completed MCB Exit Survey (included with your Warrant) must be returned to Maria. You will also submit to Maria via email attachments, your Abstract and publications.
  8. Take the following paper work with you to the final exam for signatures:

  9. Graduate School directions for Electronic Theses/Dissertations (ETDs):  Follow these next steps.

The Graduate School is now accepting only electronic theses/dissertations (ETDs). Students submitting an ETD should read through information posted on our website, beginning with

Graduate Enrollment Management Services (GEMS) highlights the most significant changes in the new submission process.

No Required Fees

  • With ETDs, there are no required fees! (In the past, students paid binding, microfilm and open access fees.)

Document Changes

  • The ETD document does not include a signature page or a quote slip.
  • The approval form replaces the signature page (see approval forms below).
  • Names of committee members are now listed on the title page. GEMS advisors review every detail of the title page for accuracy and completeness. If students follow our sample title pages, the review of their submission will be quicker. Sample title pages:

No Prelim Check

  • GEMS advisors no longer do preliminary checks of any kind. Documents are reviewed only after they are submitted in the UW ETD Administrator Site as a final submission..
  • ETDs will not be accepted until all revisions are made and submitted.

Dates and Deadlines