The Final Exam and DissertationThis phase of your Ph.D. program is marked by intensive research and writing efforts that will culminate in your finished dissertion and final exam (thesis defense). The final exam has a similar format to the general exam, and your established doctoral supervisory committee stays active for the final exam. If you need to change your doctoral supervisory committee, please contact grad-advising@cs and the team can update it for you. Your doctoral supervisory committee should be finalized two (2) months prior to the exam date. You should be aware that the UW Graduate School has very strict deadlines and the deadline listed is for both your final exam and your final copy of the dissertation, including revisions. This means you would be well served to present your thesis defense at least two weeks before the deadline listed by the Graduate School.
UW Graduate School Dissertation Resources
This page details the necessary administrative procedures to schedule and pass your milestone evaluation.
The University of Washington & the Paul G. Allen School is committed to providing access and reasonable accommodation in its services, programs, and activities. For currently enrolled UW students, accommodation requests related to a disability should be made through myDRS at least 10 days ahead of a scheduled talk. Accommodation requests on behalf of other guests should be sent to Graduate Program Adviser Joe Eckert (jeckert1) at least 10 days ahead of the scheduled talk.
Students can present their work virtually or in person. You can also reserve a physical space through the Allen School reservation system. If you will present virtually, please include a self-hosted Zoom link when scheduling your presentation. Hybrid presentations are acceptable, but we are unable to offer staffing support.
- Undergraduate-level Breadth
- 5 Breadth Courses (required from 3 of 4 groups, one waiver permitted)
- 2 CSE++ Courses (one waiver permitted in addition to breadth waiver) HCDE 544 and INSC 571 cannot both be used towards completion of the required coursework. HCDE 545 and INSC 572 cannot both be used towards completion of the required coursework.
- Chair (your advisor or co-advisors)
- CSE faculty from inside your area (co-advisor counts)
- CSE faculty from outside your area
- Graduate School Representative from outside CSE
- You must declare a "reading committee" to evaluate the dissertation, which is typically your generals committee minus the GSR.
TA RequirementYou are required to complete two quarters of teaching assistantship within the school. For further information:
- TA Home Page: Policy, roles, responsibilities, payment, and how to apply.
- Related funding policies
- 90 total credits with a cumulative GPA of 3.0. Within these 90 credits:
- 40 credits must be in 500-level courses or above
- 27 credits must be CSE 800 (Dissertation)
- 45 credits must be from CSE curriculum
- 15 credits may be in supporting fields (such as CSE++ courses)
- Review the Graduate School's Graduation Checklist. This contains links you'll need throughout the process. International students: Review the OPT process and consider when you should begin an OPT application (OPT typically takes at least 90 days to process, often longer).
- Declare your reading committee by emailing members' names to firstname.lastname@example.org.Your reading committee is made of the folks who will read your dissertation and evaluate it. If a member of your reading committee does not have a UW NetID, they will be asked to create one. Every member on your committee needs to read and approve your dissertation. While industry partners from your doctoral committee are welcome, you may find it unnecessary to add them to this committee.
- Schedule the exam via MyGrad Program. You'll need to check with your committee early to ensure they have a shared time available. Be sure to include a self-hosted Zoom link in the location field if you have a virtual or hybrid presentation. Don't forget to reserve a room if you're presenting in person! You can find deadlines for this process on the Graduate School website. You should try to schedule your exam far enough in advance to handle revisions before the end of the quarter. Remember that summer quarter ends earlier than the start of fall quarter!
- Give your committee your exam document. This needs to happen no later than 2 weeks prior to your exam in order to give the committee time to read and reflect on your work before the presentation. If you have time, requesting feedback at this stage may reduce the number of revisions you need to make to your dissertation after your exam.
- Update your abstract in MyCSE. This also needs to happen no later than two (2) weeks prior to your exam in order to have notifications sent out to the school on your behalf. Any exam announcements without title and abstract will have placeholders in your announcement.
- Present your final examination. You're almost there!
- If you passed, Remind your committee to sign the "Committee Approval Form" via Docusign. This was previously called a "warrant" and is sent to your committee members on the morning of your exam.
- BUT YOU'RE NOT DONE YET! Please review "Student Steps for Dissertation" below. The final exam and dissertation submission are treated by the University as two separate events.
- Assist with forming a reading committee. Your student may need some guidance. Every person on the reading committee must read the dissertation and approve it through a UW system. Help your student determine if an industry partner needs to be involved at the level of the dissertation (as oppposed to the exam).
- Assist with scheduling the exam. You can find deadlines for this process on the Graduate School website. Encourage your student to schedule your exam far enough in advance to handle revisions before the end of the quarter. Remember that summer quarter ends earlier than the start of fall quarter!
- Review the exam document. Your student should submit this no later than 2 weeks prior to their exam in order to give the committee time to read and reflect on their work before the presentation. Offering feedback at this stage may reduce the need for revisions following the exam.
- Attend the final examination. You're almost there!
- If the student passes, sign the "Committee Approval Form" via Docusign. Keep an eye on your email! We are unable to process the student's exam without your electronic signature on the form. If the student doesn't pass, contact grad-advising@cs. This form should be received from the Docusign tool on the morning of the exam.
- BUT YOU'RE NOT DONE YET! Please review "Faculty Steps for Dissertation" below. The final exam and dissertation submission are treated by the University as two separate events.
- Complete revisions given to you by the committee. After your exam, it is common to receive revisions. You'll need to complete these before final approval of your dissertation. You can find deadlines for this process on the Graduate School website.
- Complete the Graduate School graduation checklist for doctoral students. This includes steps for submitting your dissertation, completing the Survey of Earned Doctorates, and the links you'll need to do so.
- Remind your reading committee to approve your dissertation. This is a separate step from approving your exam. Direct the members of your reading committee to this address: https://grad.uw.edu/for-faculty-and-staff/mygrad-faculty-view You will receive email when each committee member approves the dissertation. You can also check in MyGrad Program. This step must be completed by the last day of the quarter in which you intend to graduate.
- Not going to make the deadline? It's (mostly) ok. For $250, you can graduate in the first two weeks of the following quarter by using the "Graduate Registration Waiver Fee." If you fail to meet this second deadline, you will need to enroll for another quarter of studies.
- Need degree verification? Your future employer may want to verify that you earned a degree. However, the process of getting degrees posted often takes longer than employers would like. If you need verification before your degree is posted, fill out and submit this form to the Graduate School. They will not issue the letter unless you have met all of your degree requirements, including the final approvals from your reading committee.
- Complete the "Saying Goodbye to CSE" checklist. We're sad to see you go and hope you'll stay in touch!
- Give your student any remaining revisions to be made on the dissertation. Please be mindful that all revisions and final reading committee approval need to be completed by 11:59pm on the last day of the quarter. Remember that summer quarter ends earlier than the start of fall quarter
- Approve the final dissertation. Once the student has satisfactorily completed revisions, approve the dissertation through the Graduate School interface This step needs to be completed by 11:59pm on the last day of the quarter.
- Remind the rest of the reading committee to sign off on the form. This is especially important for faculty members outside the Allen School. Please use this link: https://grad.uw.edu/for-faculty-and-staff/mygrad-faculty-view This step needs to be completed by 11:59pm on the last day of the quarter.
- Congratulate your newly minted doctor! Not only is it kind, but it also helps your student know that they don't have to manage anything else on the faculty end.