Final Examination

Before your final degree can be awarded, your Examining Committee must confirm that you are eligible to receive the degree by approving your final exam.  During your final exam, you will present and defend your thesis/dissertation. 

Master’s Degree

To receive a Master’s degree in ME, the Advisory Committee of the student must certify that the student is eligible to be awarded the Master’s degree. This certification process depends on whether the student is registered for a thesis or non-thesis option.

Non-thesis Option Master’s Degree

No final exam is required; the Advisory Committee and the Major Professor will certify the preparedness of the student. (Note: non-thesis master’s students may choose a minimum of one ME faculty member to be on the Advisory Committee.)

Thesis Option Master’s Degree

The Final Examining Committee, consists of a minimum of three members, and is usually (but not necessarily) the same as the student’s Advisory Committee, and is appointed at the request of the student’s Major Professor.  The Examining Committee is responsible for reading the student’s thesis and conducting the Final Examination. A copy of the thesis should be submitted to the Examining Committee members at least two weeks before the examination date. Students must be enrolled in thesis research during the semester prior (CAND 992 or 993), or the semester of (CAND 991), the Final Examination.  Please see below for information on how to register for the final exam.

PhD Degree

The Final Examining Committee for the PhD student, consists of a minimum of four members, and is usually (but not necessarily) the same as the student’s Advisory Committee, and is appointed at the request of the student’s Major Professor. The Examining Committee is responsible for reading the student’s dissertation and conducting the Final Examination.

Students are not eligible to take the Final Examination (thesis defense) until two full semesters (including summers) have been completed following the Preliminary Exam. Students must be enrolled in thesis research (ME69900) during the semester prior (CAND 992 or 993), or semester of (CAND 991), the Final Examination.  Please see below for information on how to register for the final exam.

Please see the Grad School calendar for the current semester deadlines for final defense and deposit.  Please remember that all departmental approvals are needed by the deadline, in order for it to be considered complete, so allow enough time for responses to be entered in the system, when scheduling.

Please note:  If a student completed the Preliminary Exam after the semester deadline, it was recorded as being completed in the following semester.  (For example, a student completes the prelim on August 9, 2021, after summer semester ended.  The prelim is recorded as being completed in the Fall 2021 semester, in which the student must also be registered for research.  But, the student will also need to be registered for Spring 2022 and Summer 2022, before they can schedule their Final Exam in Fall 2022 semester.)

Registration for the Final Exam

The final exam must be held according the deadlines established by the Graduate School for that particular semester. To schedule a final examination (thesis defense), go to myPurdue's Plan of Study generator, and complete Form 8: Request for Appointment of the Examining Committee. Your Form 8 must be electronically submitted at least three weeks prior to the Final Exam Date. A copy of the thesis should be submitted to the Examining Committee members at least two weeks before the examination date.

Results

Once your Form 8 has been completely approved, your major professor will receive an email from the Grad School that will contain a link where they can electronically complete the exam rubric and confirm attending examining committee members.  The Grad School will then send an email to the attending examining committee members with a link where they can complete the exam rubric and electronically submit their approval.  (If you have a “special” appointment examining committee member, please contact megradoffice@purdue.edu so that a proxy form can be sent to them to complete and return.  The proxy form allows the grad office staff to complete the electronic approval on their behalf since they won’t have access to the Purdue systems.  (There is no longer a paper exam rubric that needs to be completed and submitted; everything is done electronically, as of Spring 2020 semester.)

  • After your Form 8 has been approved, it is recommended that you submit, no later than the day of your defense, the Electronic Thesis Acceptance Form (ETAF, previously known as Form 9) online through myPurdue (Go to myPurdue > Academics > Graduate Student > Graduate School Plan of Study > Form 9 > Initiate Thesis/Dissertation Acceptance Form, to submit your ETAF.  NOTE: You will not have access to the upload link for your thesis deposit until your ETAF has been signed by your examining committee and the ME grad chair.)  Within this ETAF you can indicate if your thesis should be confidential, should have a delay of publication, and your major professor will have to confirm your thesis has been run through iThenticate. Make sure your thesis title is correct, as changes after this point will require permission and be charged a fee.
  • Before deposit, complete the “Graduate School Exit Survey” (MS and PhD) and the “Survey of Earned Doctorates” (PhD only).  Your thesis will not be accepted for deposit, until these have been completed. (Survey links can be found at: myPurdue > Academic > Graduate Plan of Study.)
  • Once you have incorporated any changes requested from the final exam, and your Advisory/Examining Chair has approved your final thesis/dissertation, please make sure to submit a .pdf version to Prof. Nicole Key for review.
  • Once the ETAF has been processed by the Thesis Form Head (Grad Chair), you will receive an email containing instructions on how to proceed in the deposit process (Go to myPurdue > Plan of Study portal to access the link to submit your thesis to Hammer RR.  You will not have access to the link to upload your thesis for deposit until your ETAF has been signed by your examining committee and the ME Grad Chair. Pay the Deposit Fee. This will be charged to your account 2 – 3 days after deposit acceptance.) After you upload your ETD (thesis), the Thesis Office will review for any formatting errors and will communicate with you regarding any possible corrections. When approved, you will receive an emailed receipt.
    • Follow the Purdue University Graduate School's requirements for formatting your thesis.
    • Follow ME’s Guidelines for formatting your thesis/dissertation (see below).
    • The Registrar's website has official Grad School Thesis and Dissertation Policies, including structure and formatting.
  • Please note that there are fees for depositing your thesis/dissertation.

New Policy: Deposit Time Limit (for thesis/dissertation)

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 Exam (including the session in which the Final Exam was passed). The thesis or dissertation must be deposited no later than the CAND 99100 Deposit Deadline of the third consecutive session for full consideration of the sought degree. For example, a student who passes the Final Exam in a fall session has through the CAND 99100 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 Exam to be conferred the degree.

New Policy: PurdueThesis Required

Effective Spring 2021, the use of PurdueThesis is now required for students using LaTeX to author their thesis/dissertation and planning to deposit beginning with Spring 2021 term. PurdueThesis can be accessed here: https://www.overleaf.com/latex/templates/purdue-university-thesis/twytjzscfbsp  (puthesis software is no longer supported or accepted by the Grad School.)

Embargo vs. Confidentiality Selection (for thesis/dissertation)

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. 

Thesis/Dissertation Office

It is highly recommended that you start working with the thesis/dissertation office as early as possible, so that you don’t require a lot of formatting changes, etc. close to your final defense and deposit.  They provide resources and assist you in the formatting, editing and depositing of your thesis and help make sure you are ready for your defense.

New video series: Everything you need to know about formatting and depositing your thesis

The Purdue Thesis Office has published a series of videos detailing everything you need to know about formatting and depositing your thesis. You can watch the videos here: https://tinyurl.com/PUthesisworkshop

ME Guidelines for thesis/dissertation

Once your advisory chair has approved your final thesis/dissertation, please email a .pdf copy to Dr. Nicole Key for review.

For students wishing to include one or many published papers as chapters in their thesis/dissertation, please make sure to follow the below guidelines:

  1. If the manuscripts have co-authors, a statement must be included that describes the contribution each author made to the manuscript, including the thesis author.
  2. The papers must be incorporated into the thesis, and there should be an introductory chapter that motivates the chapters (papers) and a conclusion chapter that ties them together and discusses future work.
  3. There should not be introduction and conclusion sections with the chapters (papers).  The papers will need to be reworded and reworked to fit within the thesis format.

ME Graduate Office
585 Purdue Mall (Room 1003)
West Lafayette, IN 47907
MEgradoffice@purdue.edu
(765) 494-5730