Jun 24, 2024  
2020-2021 Graduate Catalog 
2020-2021 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]


University Handbook, F70-74

Semester final examinations are scheduled by the Committee on Academic Policy and Procedures. Once the final examination time for a course is published in the Course Schedule it may be changed only with the concurrence of the Provost and Executive Vice President. Faculty members may assign take-home examinations, projects, papers or other media in lieu of a written final examination. In such instances, the deadline for submittal of the alternative assessment may not be earlier than the end of the scheduled final examination period for the course. Course schedules can be found on the university’s academics website.

Except for honors, problems, seminar, reports, research, laboratory practical, language, 8-week evening college, studio and fine arts performance classes, the last examination (either unit or comprehensive) must be given during the final examination period. No examination (unit or final) may be scheduled seven calendar days prior to the first scheduled day of semester examinations. (FSM 5/13/03)

Faculty members may not give the final examination at a time other than that published in the class schedule. The final examination may be given to an individual student under special circumstances at another time during final examinations. In particular, students who have more than two examinations scheduled in a 24-clock hour period (a 24-hour period starting at any time) and students who have conflicting exam times may petition the instructor(s) of the highest numbered non-group exam course(s) and schedule an alternate time for taking the final examination(s) at some other time during final examinations. If a student is unable to arrange the necessary rescheduling through the instructors involved, then the dean will resolve the overload problem, if all the scheduled examinations are within the same college. If the examinations in question are within the jurisdiction of different colleges, decisions regarding rescheduling shall be made by the Provost and Executive Vice President. (FS 2/12/08, revised)

University-sponsored events, on- and off-campus (such as extracurricular events, social activities, athletic events, and field trips) shall not be scheduled between 24 hours before the first scheduled final examination and the end of the last scheduled final examination. In addition, off-campus events shall not be scheduled to prohibit a student from being on campus between 24 hours before the first scheduled final examination and the end of the last scheduled final examination.

Exceptions to the scheduling restrictions for university events can be made under the following conditions:

  • Approval for events must be obtained from the Provost and Executive Vice President and President of the Faculty Senate.
  • For events scheduled well in advance, the approval must be obtained at least 18 weeks in advance.

Consideration may be given to approval of events whose scheduling is not known as long as 18 weeks in advance.

Students who plan to participate in approved events which conflict with final examinations may obtain from the Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President a statement certifying their participation in the event. Faculty may choose to make special arrangements for final examinations for students who are involved in such approved events.

Master’s Student

{Graduate Handbook, Chapter 2, Section J}


A culminating experience is required to earn a master’s degree. The culminating experience should verify the student’s competence to synthesize information across the student’s program of study. The culminating experience will occur after the student has completed the program of study and other requirements or during the term in which the candidate intends to complete them. The Supervisory Committee is responsible for administering the culminating experience and must include at least 3 graduate faculty members. The majority of the Supervisory Committee must vote in favor for the student to pass his/her defense (a tie vote is a failure). The major professor is responsible for returning the signed ballot to the Graduate School.

For students pursuing a thesis or report option, the culminating experience shall be a defense of the thesis or report.

For students pursuing a coursework only degree, the experience may be an interpretation of scholarly work, a test of the student’s understanding of the field or other culminating experiences. It is the responsibility of the academic unit to provide culminating experience guidelines for each coursework-only master’s degree that the department offers. Examples could include concerts, portfolios, final written or oral examinations, case studies, or whatever the program deems appropriate.


In the case of a candidate writing a thesis or report, the examination cannot be scheduled until the supervisory committee certifies that a satisfactory copy of the thesis or report has been presented. The candidate must file with the Graduate School an Approval for Final Examination Form signed by each member of the committee. By signing this form, the faculty member indicates only that the form of the thesis or report is acceptable for review and that a final examination may be scheduled. Signing does not imply that the content of the thesis or report is satisfactory. When the examination has been scheduled, the Graduate School will send a final examination ballot and an ETDR ballot to the major professor and notify in writing all members of the committee regarding the time and place.

Final examinations should also be scheduled so as to give the supervisory committee at least two weeks to review the thesis.

Failure and Repetition

At least 2/3 of the supervisory committee must approve the candidate’s performance before he or she is deemed to have passed the final examination. A refusal to vote by the major professor or any member of the supervisory committee shall be recorded as a negative vote. With permission of at least 2/3 of the supervisory committee, a candidate who fails a master’s examination may take a second examination no sooner than two months nor later than 15 months after the failure, unless an extension is granted by the Dean of the Graduate School. A third defense is not allowed.

At least 2/3 of the members of the supervisory committee must sign the final ETDR before the ballot can be processed and the thesis or report submitted to K-REX.

Competency Revalidation of Courses

If a student’s program of study includes any course credits more than six years old at the time the student is about to complete all degree requirements, the final master’s examination will normally include an examination over the body of course work listed on the program of study.

The form and content of this competency examination is determined by each master’s program which may impose additional requirements for revalidating the student’s competency in the supporting course work. In a master’s program for which such a revalidation examination may be inappropriate, an exception to this policy may be sought from the Dean of the Graduate School.

Doctoral Student:

{Graduate Handbook, Chapter 3, Section I and Section L}

Preliminary Examination

A student must be in good academic standing to take a preliminary examination. The required written preliminary examination may be supplemented by an oral examination as prescribed by the supervisory committee. These are designed to test the student’s breadth and depth of knowledge in the proposed field of specialization, as well as the student’s ability to explore problems on the boundaries of knowledge. Satisfactory performance in the examination is an indication that the student is prepared to perform independent work toward the doctoral degree and results in the student being classified as a doctoral candidate upon affirmative recommendation by the supervisory committee. The examination may be scheduled after the program of study is filed and at a time deemed appropriate by the supervisory committee. The preliminary examination must be completed at least 7 months before the final oral examination.

Once the supervisory committee and the student decide when the examination is to be taken, the student should notify the Graduate School one month before the scheduled date. A ballot is sent to the major professor by the Graduate School. Copies of the examination are filed with the academic unit and made available on request to any graduate faculty member for a period of two years from the date of examination. Students must enroll in at least one credit hour during any and all semesters in which they are actively engaged in the preliminary examination process. 

The results of the preliminary examination are indicated on the ballot by the signatures of those members of the departmental or program examining committee responsible for administration and grading of the examination. The format of the examination and the structure of the examining committee may differ among doctoral programs, and in some programs, the examining committee will differ from the supervisory committee. Within one week following the completion and determination of the results of the preliminary examination, including those of any oral portion, the supervisory committee must sign the ballot indicating that the preliminary examination has been completed and recommending approval or disapproval of the student’s admission to candidacy for the doctoral degree. The student is considered to have passed the examination and to be recommended to candidacy if at least three fourths of the supervisory committee voted to approve candidacy.

In case of failure of the first preliminary examination, the supervisory committee may approve a second examination with no more than one dissenting vote. A second examination can be taken no sooner than three months following the initial failure. Once the supervisory committee and the student decide when the second examination is to be taken, the student should notify the Graduate School one month before the scheduled date. The composition of the supervisory committee shall not be changed before a final decision is reached on admission to candidacy. A second failure constitutes denial of admission to candidacy for the doctoral degree in the field of study of the graduate program. As with the first examination, the signed ballot must be returned to the Graduate School within one week of the determination of the results of the examination.