Ph.D. Students - academic info

Qualifying Exams

First year Ph.D. students take their qualifying exams over Memorial Day weekend every year. They will pick up their questions from Hut 105B, the grad adviser's office, at 9am. Answers are due back to Sue on Tuesday, 9am. Oral exams will be scheduled for the following Friday.

Setting up your doctoral committees

Before your general exam in spring of your third year, you must establish your doctoral supervisory committee. The School of Drama's policy on doctoral exams includes guidelines on who needs to be on the committee, as does the UW's Grad School. Before your final thesis defense you will also need to set up a reading committee. When you have the names of the faculty who have agreed to be on your committe, please let Sue know and she will set it up. You will receive a confirmation email from the Grad School when your committee has been established.

General Exams

The general exam is administered in two parts in the spring quarter of the third year. This is a dedicated reading quarter to enable students to prepare for the General Exam and to survey the proposed field of study. The first part is based on a series of questions composed in consultation with the candidate’s dissertation advisor; it consists of written essays of approximately 3,000 words, and is designed to contextualize the dissertation topic. Candidates are allowed two weeks to complete the essays, which will be followed by an oral examination.

The second part of the exam is a detailed précis of the proposed dissertation, including a reading list. The précis and reading list will also be part of the oral examination. The second oral exam is the official General Exam.

After consulting with the supervisory committee and reserving a room, students schedule the time of the official general exam on the web.

the system will send a confirming email to the student and committee.

Final Exam and Dissertation

Final exams may be scheduled after the reading committee has read a draft of the entire dissertation. After consulting with the supervisory committee and reserving a room, students schedule the final exam on line by going to the grad school's web site:

After passing the final exam, the candidate has 60 days (or the end of the quarter, whichever comes first) in which to 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 Graduate School's Graduate Registration Waiver Fee - an optional fee ($250) paid in lieu of registration. It is available to qualifying students for a 2 week period directly following the quarter in which all Graduate School and graduate program degree requirements are met. Qualifying students who pay this fee will graduate in the quarter following the fee payment period. More info.

Language and outside course Requirement

Students must complete three classes outside of the required Drama seminars. In addition there is a foreign language requirement

Going on leave

All graduate students must stay in graduate status, either registered or on-leave. Starting Autumn 2011, you apply to go on leave by filling out a form on the web and paying a $25 (*per quarter*) fee. Students who do not remain in graduate status will be required to pay a $250 reinstatement fee. On-leave requests are approved by the Graduate Program Coordinator.

Because of visa requirements, international students must obtain pre-approval from international student services before requesting leave.