The following information is being provided for graduate students and their advisers as a general guide for preliminary or final exam preparation.

Before the Exam
  • Coursework must be completed.  No Incomplete (I), Not Recorded (NR) or F by Rule grades.
  • Prerequisite Milestones are complete:
    • PhD Students: Early Research, Research Area, and Qualifying Exams
    • EdD Students: Residency Requirement, Cognate Requirement, and Qualifying Exams
  • Obtain Institutional Review Board (IRB) and/or Human Subjects Approval.  A copy of the IRB approval letter must be submitted with the committee request form.  A letter showing approval from the Campus IRB must be provided to the department contact in the Academic and Instructional Services Office prior to the scheduling of the preliminary exam.  The title on the IRB does not have to match the title of the thesis or dissertation.  However, changes in the research focus may result in an amendment.  Please contact the IRB office for questions.
  • You must be registered during the term in which the exam takes place.  At minimum, this is 0 thesis (599) credits
  • A date and time must be selected with all committee members.

Guidelines for Committee

  • The master's committee must consist of at least three faculty members (chairperson + 2 voting members)
  • The doctoral committee must consist of at least four members (chairperson + 3 voting members). 
    • At least three members, including the chairperson, must be members of the Graduate Faculty (check the Graduate Faculty Database). 
    • The chairperson and one other member must be physically present the day of the exam.
    • At least two members must be tenured at the University of Illinois. 
    • At least one member must be from outside the student's field of specialization. 
    • Emerti faculty who has been awarded continuing membership on the Graduate Faculty may serve on and chair committees. 
  • If a committee member is not a member of the Graduate Faculty (i.e., retired faculty or external faculty) additional information is required:
    • An up-to-date copy of the committee member's Curriculum Vita (CV)
    • A letter of justification from the advisor/chairperson are required to be submitted to the Graduate Student Services Office
Exam Process and Request for Appointment of Committee

At least four (4) weeks prior to the exam date the student must submit the Request for Appointment of Thesis/Dissertation Committee Form.  Failure to submit this form may result in the exam not being held.  

  • The request is routed to the GSSO Office.  Once received:
    • Advisor and departmental approval will be obtained
    • A room in the College of Education will be scheduled.  If a student wishes to hold the exam outside the College of Education, the student must schedule the room and indicate the room on the request form
  • Once approved by the department, the request will be forwarded to the Graduate College  

For Prelim Exams Only:

  • The Preliminary Exam Result (PER) form will be picked up by the chairperson the day of the exam and returned to the GSSO contact immediately following the exam.  Students are not to be in sole possession of the PER form.

For Final Exams Only: 

  • On the day of the final exam, your advisor or chairperson will pick up the packet of paperwork from the appropriate GSSO contact.  This packet will include the Final Exam Result (FER) form and the Thesis/Dissertation Approval (TDA) form. 
  • The student and the chairperson should review all documents and ensure that there are no errors before the committee signs off. 
  • All forms should be returned the GSSO contact by the chairperson immediately following the exam, once signed.  Students should never be in sole possession of these forms.
  • At least three weeks prior to depositing your thesis/dissertation, you must provide your GSSO contact with a final copy of your dissertation. This will then be reviewed by the Associate Head for Graduate Programs, who will sign the TDA forms if no edits are needed.
  • Once the TDA forms are completely signed, you will be notified that you can complete the deposit of your final dissertation. GSSO will send all TDA forms to the Graduate College for final processing.
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