PhD Final Oral Examination

In order to complete the PhD degree, the candidate must defend their dissertation. This examination serves to confirm that the candidate has satisfactorily completed the research project as agreed upon with the committee. It also serves to provide the department an opportunity to learn more about the research completed and its significance to soil and environmental sciences.

Prior to scheduling the final oral examination, the dissertation should be satisfactorily completed with the exception of any revisions that emerge from the exam itself. The completed dissertation should be submitted to the Advisory Committee at least two weeks prior to the examination.

The candidate must submit the Request to Schedule the Doctoral Oral Examination form to the DGP informing the DGP of the scheduling of the final oral examination. The title of the dissertation must be included as the Graduate School publishes final exam information for the university community.

The format of the final oral exam is similar to that of the oral preliminary examination. The following is directly from Section 3.5 of the Graduate Handbook

  • Presentation by the candidate. The candidate typically presents the methodology used, the data collected, and the conclusions reached as reported in the dissertation. For the purpose of dissemination of research, it is required that the presentation of the dissertation be open to the university community.
  • Questioning of the candidate. Any member of the university community is allowed to ask questions of the candidate at the presentation. The questioning phase may continue with a closed session in which the advisory committee questions the candidate.
  • Deliberation and decision. Only the advisory committee and the Graduate School Representative are present when the outcome of the examination is determined.

Throughout the process, the chair of the candidate’s advisory committee has the obligation to maintain a scholarly atmosphere and to keep academic integrity and the student’s best interest foremost.

Final Exam Outcomes

Passing the Final exam

The committee must provide a unanimous vote of approval for passing the final exam. If the exam is passed with conditionally, the student must receive written communication regarding additional requirements and these must be provided to the DGP and the Graduate School attached to the Exam Results form. The Advisory Committee must provide final approval when conditions are met.

Failure to pass the Final exam

If the student fails the final examination they are terminated from graduate work at NC State unless the Advisory Committee unanimously requests a second examination. The request for a second exam may be denied by the Director of Graduate Programs or the Dean of the Graduate School, in which case the student will be terminated.