Request for Final Oral Examination


Instructions for Submitting the Request for Final Oral

  • Begin arranging for your defense at the beginning of the semester, especially during the summer, in order to accommodate the travel plans of your committee members.
  • You should submit the final draft of your dissertation, reviewed for technical and grammatical correctness by your supervisor, to each of your committee members at least four weeks before your final defense. All members of the committee must sign the Request for Final Oral Examination. By signing, each member acknowledges receipt of a copy of your dissertation draft and agrees to participate in the defense on the scheduled date. If there is difficulty in obtaining a signature, call the Graduate School (512) 471-4511.
  • The request must be filed in the Graduate School with the abstract, signature and title pages for a format check at least two weeks in advance of your defense. This time is necessary for the Graduate School to process your request and to mail the defense report materials, a copy of the abstract and an invitation to the defense to your committee members and graduate program.
  • By signing the Request for Final Oral Examination, you authorize The University of Texas at Austin to publish your name, major, dissertation title, committee chair, and the date, time, and location of your final oral exam.  In the absence of this signature, this information will not be published as a part of the Schedule of Final Oral Exams.

Why the Defense?

  • The Final Oral Examination is a major component of the doctoral degree requirement. Your dissertation cannot be approved by the Graduate School until you have successfully passed your defense and your committee members have signed the Report form and the approval page (signature page) of your dissertation.
  • The signed Report of Dissertation Defense is the official recommendation of your committee to the Graduate Dean, who depends upon it to determine your eligibility to receive the doctoral degree. A passing Report signifies that your committee unanimously agrees that you have completed a dissertation that is an independent investigation in your major field.
  • This Report form will be mailed to your committee supervisor by the Graduate School. In the event that revisions to your dissertation are necessary before your committee members all approve your dissertation, the Report form should be retained by your supervisor until all revisions have been completed. Defense materials for off-campus members will be sent to your supervisor so that all members will have the forms they need at the defense.

Defense Options

The student and their supervisor, in negotiation with the dissertation committee members, must select one of two options for the defense (traditional or virtual attendance).


  • A minimum of four committee members, including your supervisor, must be present in the room in which the defense is held. Participation via phone or video-conferences do not count toward the minimum of four, and stand-ins for committee members are not allowed.

    When only three committee members are available for in-room attendance, an exception requires that a fourth Graduate Studies Committee (GSC) member of status not on the committee (Graduate Adviser, GSC Chair, Department Chair, Senior Faculty) will attend and observe without vote. In such circumstances, a fourth committee member must also be available to participate via phone or video-conference.
  • If a committee member is unable to attend your defense, there must be an explanation of the member's absence, together with an assurance that your dissertation will be read, and if approved, signed. There is a pre-typed section on the second page of the Request for Final Oral Examination form which may be used or an attached letter can also be used. These explanations must be signed by the committee member in question, OR your committee supervisor, OR your graduate adviser. Call the Graduate School at 512-471-4511 with any questions concerning this.
  • Students defending under the Traditional Option should complete the Request for Final Oral (Traditional Option).
  • Your graduate adviser must sign this form to indicate you have been approved to defend. All members of your committee must sign your request form indicating their intent to be present at your final oral.


  • Participation by ALL members of the dissertation committee is required.
  • In-room attendance is required for the student and supervisor(s). All other committee members who are not physically present for the defense must participate electronically.
  • As the student, it is your responsibility to ensure that the electronic system is adequate for the intended purposes.
  • Students defending under the Electronic Option should complete the Request for Final Oral (Virtual Option).

Suggestions for Completing the Request Form

  • Type the form before circulating it for signatures.
  • Your graduate adviser must sign this form to indicate you have been approved to defend. All members of your committee must sign your request form indicating their intent to be present at your final oral.
  • All members must sign the signature page of your dissertation. It is a good idea to take at least two copies of your signature page to your defense. You will only turn one original signature page in to the Graduate School when you turn in your final paperwork. ALL the signatures must be original and in ink.

Formatted Pages Also To Be Included With Request

Submit one copy each of your dissertation abstract, the title page, and the Committee Certification of Approved Version (signature page) for a format check at this time.

Committee Changes

It is important to remember that any changes made to your committee must be approved by the Dean of the Graduate School as the changes occur. Changes need to be approved at least 30 days prior to the date of the final oral so that all new members will have ample time to become familiar with your dissertation.


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