College of Liberal Arts & Sciences


ATTENTION: Walk-in appointments with a COGA staff member are available Tuesday-Thursday from 8 AM - 5 PM. Appointments on Monday or Friday may be available by request. Zoom appointments are also available by request. Please contact the COGA office,, to schedule an appointment. Please note, we accept all student forms and paperwork electronically.  

For more information on completing your oral comprehensive or final defense exam, please visit our Exams Frequently Asked Questions page. Be sure to contact your department to discuss your options in light of COVID-19 social distancing recommendations. 

All graduate students must complete one or more exams as part of the degree requirements.  These include the Master's Exam/Thesis Defense for Master's degree students and the Comprehensive Exam and Final Exam/Dissertation Defense for doctoral students.  These exams require pre-approval from the COGA office at least two weeks prior to the exam date. 

Students should work with their departments well in advance to schedule their exams in a timely fashion. Proposed Master's Exams/Thesis Defenses for Master's degree students and Final Exams/Dissertation Defenses for doctoral students must occur by the graduation deadline. Proposed Comprehensive Exams for doctoral students must meet the following deadlines in order for the student’s credit hours during that term to count toward their post-comprehensive enrollment:

  • Fall - December 31st
  • Spring - May 31st
  • Summer - July 31st 

When a graduate student and the department seek approval to schedule one of these exams, COGA checks to ensure that the student has fulfilled certain requirements:

  • Is enrolled in the degree plan for which the exam is being completed
  • Has a GPA of 3.0 or above
  • Has completed close to or over 30 hours
  • Is enrolled for the current term (unless the exam will be completed prior to the early graduation deadline)
  • Has no waiting or incomplete grades
  • Has not exceeded the time limit for degree completion
  • If the exam is a thesis or dissertation exam, has completed at least 1 thesis or dissertation hour

For doctoral exams, COGA also checks to see that the student:

  • Has completed two semesters at full time enrollment as defined by the full time enrollment policy OR at least 18 hours over multiple semesters
  • Has completed the Research Skills and Responsible Scholarship requirement
  • Has successfully passed the Comprehensive Oral Exam within the last 5 years (Final Exam only)
  • Has maintained appropriate post-comprehensive enrollment (Final Exam only)

Finally, COGA will verify that the composition of exam committees is in accordance with Graduate Studies policies on Master's» and Doctoral» exam committee composition.  The student, committee chair, and outside member must be physically present for the exam to commence.  Mediated attendance (teleconference or videoconference) by other members is allowable only if the student agrees to such arrangements.

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