Graduate degree examinations are a major milestone in all graduate students’ pursuit of their graduate degree. Much hinges on the successful completion of these examinations, including the ability to continue in a graduate program. 

The rules and processes set by the Graduate School ensure the integrity of these examinations for graduate students, the graduate faculty and for Ohio State. Graduate students are expected to follow all rules and processes pertaining to examinations. Please see below for more information on deadlines, and degree rules for different graduate degree types.

Prior to scheduling an exam, students must coordinate with their advisor and examination committee to determine a mutually acceptable date and time for the oral exam. Exams must take place during university business hours, Monday through Friday. Exams may be held on Ohio State’s campus or via video conference, dependent upon unanimous agreement by the student and committee

Doctoral Examinations

All PhD and DMA degrees require a candidacy examination and a final examination. Some graduate programs also require a preliminary examination.

Professional Doctoral Examination

Professional doctorate students must submit their Application for Professional Exam via GRADFORMS and have this approved by their program and advisor at least two weeks prior to the proposed exam date. 

Master's Examination

The master’s examination is administered under the auspices of the local program’s graduate studies committee.

Dissertation and Theses

The dissertation is the hallmark of the research expertise demonstrated by a doctoral student. It is a scholarly contribution to knowledge in the student’s area of specialization. 

A thesis is a hallmark of some master’s programs. It is a piece of original research, generally less comprehensive than a dissertation and is meant to show the student’s knowledge of an area of specialization.

Final Semester

During your final semester as a graduate student there are many activities that lead up to commencement and receiving your degree. Complete the final semester checklist and learn more about commencement activities.