PhD Thesis and Final Examination

Printable copy of these instructions and check sheet

PhD students must follow the steps below for their final examination and to submit their thesis. The final examination is given after the thesis and all other requirements have been completed. The final examination covers primarily the thesis and related topics. 

The main steps of this process are as follows; details are below.

  1. Schedule the final examination with your advisory committee members.
  2. Reserve a room for the final examination.
  3. Submit Form 8 in myPurdue to officially schedule the final examination.
  4. Deliver a copy of the thesis to all committee members at least two weeks before the final examination.
  5. Following your final examination, submit the Thesis Acceptance Form (Form 9) through myPurdue.
  6. Deposit your thesis.

Step 1: Schedule your final examination with your advisory committee members.

Note: There must be at least two academic sessions/semesters (counting summer session) of research registration between the semester of the preliminary examination and the semester of the final examination. Contact Matt Golden (mgolden@purdue.edu) in the ECE Graduate Office for additional information.

At least 3 weeks before the desired date of the final examination, consult with your major professor and your doctoral advisory committee to find a suitable date and time to hold the examination. Your examination should be held on the West Lafayette campus or may, with the approval of your doctoral advisory committee, be held virtually.

Final examination committee members: The final examination committee is typically the student’s doctoral advisory committee. However, the Dean of the Graduate School reserves the right to appoint additional committee members.

Final examination timing:

  • The final examination must be completed before the semester deadline (approximately one week before the last day of classes), but we strongly recommend you do not wait until this late date. See the Graduate School deadlines here: Graduate School Calendar.  
  • If you are registered for Exam Only, your final examination must be completed by the eighth week of classes in Fall or Spring or by the sixth week of summer session.

Step 2: Reserve a room for the final examination.

Once you have established the date of your final examination, reserve a room:

  1. Go to the Resource Allocation Tool.  
  1. Enter the desired date and select a room.
  2. Click View Calendar.
  3. Scroll down to see the calendar.
  4. After confirming the availability of the room, select Request Reservation in the left-hand navigation.
  5. Select the room and enter a date and time; click Continue.
  6. In the Select an Administrator list, select Elisheba Van Winkle.
  7. Select a reason for the reservation (thesis defense) and then click Request Reservation.
    • You will receive an email confirmation.

If you are unable to reserve a room using the instructions above, send the request by email to Elisheba Van Winkle (vanwinke@purdue.edu). 

On the day of the exam: If the room is locked, see an area secretary for a key. If the area secretary is not available, see the ECE Graduate Office (MSEE 140).

Step 3: Submit Form 8 in myPurdue to officially schedule the final examination and submit an abstract.

Follow these steps to submit Form 8 and submit your abstract: 

  1. Log into  myPurdue and go to the Plan of Study Generator under the Academics tab.
  2. Complete and submit the Form 8.
    • This request requires approvals from the Graduate Office, the chair of your advisory committee, and the Graduate School.
  3. Send an abstract (250 words or less) of the thesis research clearly defining the problem and its significance to Matt Golden (goldenm@purdue.edu) in the ECE Graduate Office.

Late requests: Please be aware that late requests to schedule your final examination do not allow sufficient time to process your request and adequately publicize your examination date.  Any requests to schedule a final examination less than three weeks in advance must be approved by Matt Golden and will be approved only in exceptional circumstances.

Final examination posting: The time and location of the final examination will be posted on the ECE website. University regulations permit visitors to attend the final examination.  Such visitors are permitted to ask questions of the candidate after having been recognized by the major professor, but they may not be present while the committee deliberates on its decision.

Step 4: Deliver a copy of your thesis to all committee members at least two weeks before the exam.

Preparing your thesis: Before beginning to write your thesis, you are strongly advised to review the information on the Graduate School Thesis and Dissertation Office website.  

Templates: You must use the LaTeX (recommended) or MS Word templates that the Graduate School provides.

Step 5: Following your final examination, submit the Thesis Acceptance Form (Form 9) through myPurdue.

Follow these steps to submit Form 9: 

  1. Log into myPurdue and go to the Plan of Study Generator under the Academics tab.
  2. Complete and submit for Form 9.

Results: The advisory committee will report the results of the final examination through the Graduate School Web Database. No more than one dissenting vote is acceptable in certifying the candidate to receive the PhD. If the final examination is unsatisfactory, at least one semester or summer session must elapse before the final examination is repeated.

Embargo and confidentiality: Be sure to discuss with your major professor whether your thesis should be confidential prior to submitting the request or if there will be a delay in the publication.  

Your major professor will certify that they have used iThenticate software to check your thesis for plagiarism in the electronic Thesis Acceptance Form.  They will also confirm confidentiality or Embargo (delayed publication of the thesis) if you have marked these. 

Students should consider an embargo over confidentiality in all cases. An embargo is commonly used when applying for patents, pending publications, or when proprietary rights are involved.

Confidentiality should only be used with ITAR/Export controlled or confidential sponsored information is included in the thesis. Indefinite confidentiality can only be requested when there is contract information on file with Sponsored Program Services. All indefinite requests will be subject to approval by the SPS office. All confidentiality requests will also be reviewed by Thesis Office staff to ensure this program is being utilized properly. 

Step 6: Deposit your thesis.

Follow the instructions on the Graduate School Thesis and Dissertation Office Deposit Requirements webpage to deposit your thesis.

For more detailed steps or questions about the on-line thesis deposit process, refer to the Graduate School Thesis and Dissertation Office website or contact staff in this office.

Thesis deposit time limit policy: Effective Fall 2020, students are required to deposit their theses and dissertations within three consecutive sessions of receiving a decision of PASS on their final examination (including the session in which the final examination was passed). The thesis or dissertation must be deposited no later than the end of the semester Deposit Deadline of the third consecutive session for full consideration of the sought degree. For example, a student who passes the final examination in a fall session has through the end of the semester Deposit Deadline of the following summer to deposit. To uphold the integrity of the defended research, if a student is unable to deposit their thesis or dissertation within three sessions, they must re-defend their research and deposit within the session they receive the decision of PASS on the second final examination to be conferred the degree.