During the second week of each quarter the Graduate Advising Team hosts information sessions on each program milestone. Slides and recordings (when available) are posted here:
Qualifying Evaluation General Examination Final Exam & Dissertation
Autumn 2021 Recording
Autumn 2021 Recording
Autumn 2021 Recording

Exam Notices

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.

Autumn 2021 & Winter 2022 COVID-19 Update: The UW Graduate School's instructions for video conferencing in doctoral examinations remains in effect for Autumn 2021 & Winter 2022. Therefore, "In order to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), a student or any member of the supervisory committee who chooses not to come to campus or otherwise participate in person must be allowed to participate by video conference." When preparing to schedule your milestone presentations, please consider safety protocols. If you want to have an on-campus presentation, you may reserve a room using the Allen School reservation system. This system provides room capacity constraints that must be followed. The Allen School is unable to offer staff support for hybrid presentation options in reservation rooms. IIf your lab wants to allow you to host your presentation, that is acceptable; be sure to consider room capacity, and air quality.

Ph.D. Milestone Procedures

This section is to serve as an overview of administrative tasks Ph.D. students need to complete to successfully pass through the program milestones. Each exam has its own website detailing the how and whys of the process, and there is a webpage with full detailed explanation of the pathway to a Ph.D. at the Allen School.

If you need to petition for a deadline extension for your Qualifying Evaluation or General Examination, please use this DocuSign Powerform after having a discussion with your advisor (Have two advisors? Try this form).

Your advisor is tasked with guiding you through the Qualifying Evaluation process. Please reach out to them with your questions, and if you are not receiving the support you are due then let the grad advising team know.

As of Summer 2020, Ph.D. students using the newer course requirements must have all their quals courses completed before they can undergo Faculty evaluation. If you are interested in giving your quals talk in the quarters prior to your Faculty evaluation, that is an option available to you with advisor approval.

  • You and your advisor need to have established your secondary advisor for your quals committee by the start of the term (usually CSE faculty members, but external folks are OK for the secondary member).
    • For the Qualifying Evaluation you need to have a permanent advisor selected. Whether you would like to make your temporary advisor permanent, or you're selecting a different advisor, please complete this Advisor Change Survey. If you are also adding a second advisor, please submit the form twice.
  • The faculty quals meeting is the Thursday before Finals week every quarter. By the second week of the term, use this form to be added to the agenda . You cannot pass your qualifying exam without being on the meeting agenda.
  • These steps should happen by the Wednesday prior to the term's faculty quals meeting:
    1. Three (3) weeks prior to your talk date, submit your qualifying project report (10-page document) to your quals committee advisors.
    2. Two (2) weeks prior to your talk date, submit your exam details to the Program Coordinator so it can be put on the calendar, and your exam can be recorded in your student file.
  • The faculty will review all students on the agenda. Students typically receive the results of the vote via email on the following Friday.
  • Submit your 10-page Quals report to the correct entry on your MyCSE. Now begins your General Exam study period.
  • Establish your supervisory committee. Notify grad-advising@cs of the committee member names, and a team member will submit them to the Graduate School. You will receive a confirmation email.
  • Receive the charge from your advisor, and ensure a copy has been sent to each committee member. Also, have your advisor send a copy to the Graduate Program Coordinator. Your exam must be scheduled within eight (8) weeks of the receipt of the charge. See "thesis proposal style" charge template for an example of what a charge may look like.
  • Two (2) weeks prior to your exam date, deliver your exam document (20-pages) via email to your supervisory committee.
  • Schedule the exam via MyGrad Program. Put the on-campus room location or virtual meeting link in the location field. The talk details will be posted here on the graduate program calendar.
  • Enter your exam title and abstract on your MyCSE page before exam notices go out two (2) weeks before your exam. Announcement emails will not be updated with your title and abstract after they go out.
  • Once you pass your exam, please upload your 20-page document to your MyCSE exam entry under the "Student" upload prompt. You will receive a promotion when your exam is processed.
  • The Supervisory Committee from your General Exam stays active for your Final Exam, unless you request changes from the Program Coordinator. Your committee should be finalized two months before your exam date.
  • Establish your Reading Committee by contacting grad-advising@cs with a list of name. You will need to submit the name, email, and organization of any members outside the UW.
    • Any member, including those outside the UW, who does not have a UWNetID is prompted to create one at the creation of the committee. Reading Committee members must sign up for a UWNetID in order to approve the graduate's dissertation. Members will see the option to approve the dissertation after the exam has been scheduled.
  • When your Reading Committee has read a draft and the entire Doctoral Committee agrees you are ready to defend your dissertation, schedule your Final Examination via MyGrad Program. Put the on-campus room location or virtual meeting link in the location field. The talk details will be posted on the graduate program calendar.
  • Enter your exam abstract on your MyCSE page before exam notices go out two (2) weeks before your exam. Announcement emails will not be updated with your abstract after they go out.
  • When your reading committee has approved your dissertation, remind them that they will need to login to MyGrad Committee to formally approve it. You will receive an email notifying you of each member’s approval. Faculty will also be able to see who on the committee has approved.
  • Complete the Graduate School checklist for Doctoral Students.
  • Submit your dissertation and SED Certificate of Completion via the UW ETD Administrator Site by the last day of the quarter at 23:59.
    • As step 8 of the Graduate Check checklist for Doctoral Students states, your reading committee needs to sign by the last day of the quarter. You need to be proactive about following up with them to ensure signatures are received on-time.
  • If you need a letter from the UW confirming your completion of all graduation requirements please submit the Letter of Certification request form from the UW Graduate School after your dissertation has been approved by the UW and all course requirements are showing as completed. Most institutions will not accept a letter from your faculty advisor or the advising staff.
  • Moving Out & Saying Goodbye: Noooo, don't leave! But if you have to, here is a handy checklist of things to do before you go.

COVID-19 Zoom Link Note: UW IT recommends adding a meeting passcode to your examination to prevent "Zoom bombings" and other cyberattacks. That said, the Allen School Grad Advising team has not experienced these attacks since COVID-19 started, so it may not be an issue. If you choose to include a meeting passcode for your talk, then please be sure to include the Zoom link with the meeting code attached to the end. Or, you can include at the bottom of your abstract using MyCSE. Zoom links should be submitted for every milestone schedule request.

Exam Warrants

As of April 20th, 2020 the Paul G. Allen School has switched to eSignatures on all exam warrants. Signers are not required to have a DocuSign account. DocuSign is compatible with assistive technology.

On Monday of each week, the Advising Program Coordinator will send out an email to each committee member via DocuSign requesting their signature. Once the student has completed their exam, each committee member will need to open the email they received, click/tap the “Review Document” button that leads to the DocuSign website to view the form, and then commence with signing.

The Program Coordinator will use the emails provided by MyGrad Program. Once all the signatures are received the student’s exam result will be reported to The Graduate School. UW IT offers DocuSign essential training courses for signers.

Student 'Catering' of Exams

It has been common practice in some programs for students to bring food and/or drinks to meetings with faculty (e.g. during annual committee meetings, general exam defenses, thesis/dissertation defenses). It is often an implicit expectation rather than an explicit requirement. However, the differential in power between the student and their faculty mentors means that this “voluntary” practice is actually far from voluntary.

The Allen School, in consultation with the UW Graduate School, the Graduate and Professional Student Senate and the endorsement of the Faculty Senate, now prohibits this practice for formal milestone presentations such as qualifying project presentations, general exam, and final exams. The Allen School is deeply committed to educating the next generation of scholars, innovators, and difference-makers.  Allowing students to focus on their studies facilitates that aim. We will continue to allow students to choose to bring snacks for other students to informal meetings such as a practice job talk for a conference paper.