The final oral examination is a defense of the dissertation and is open to the public. The student must be enrolled for at least two hours in the semester he/she is to take the final oral examination. Any changes in the doctoral committee must be approved by the Graduate Dean. The Graduate Dean may exercise a prerogative and appoint an observer for the Graduate College who would not be a voting member.
At least 10 days before the defense, the candidate must submit to the Graduate College an Announcement for the Final Exam and an abstract of no more than 350 words. The Dissertation Defense Announcement form and Committee Approval of Defense Date are located on the Graduate College website under Current Students\Graduate Student Forms. Authority for the Defense of the Doctoral Dissertation and other forms are mailed to the student's major professor before the final oral exam. All members of the committee must sign the form and signify whether the examination was satisfactory or unsatisfactory.
Advances in electronic media have made it possible for the oral defense to be held without the presence of every member at the same location. The Graduate College must be notified of remote participation in advance of the defense. The student, the committee chair, and the majority of the dissertation committee must be physically present at the same location. Other committee members may participate remotely via audio or video conference. Nevertheless, the integrity and significance of the oral examination process must not be compromised by the absence of a sound committee.
Copies of electronic signatures for committee members who have been approved to participate remotely will be accepted on the Authority Report Form for the Dissertation Defense. Original signatures from all members are required on the final dissertation signature page.
The results of the dissertation defense must be reported to the Graduate College within 72 hours. A unanimous report from the doctoral committee is expected; however, on occasion some dissenting reports are received. If one member dissents, the dissent is recognized as a minority report. If two members of the doctoral committee dissent, a minority report must be filed and the Graduate Dean will investigate and make the final decision. If more than two members vote unsatisfactory, the defense is judged to be a failure. Only one attempt is granted in defending the dissertation. If the defense is determined to be unsatisfactory (failure), the decision is final and the defense cannot be repeated. Furthermore, the student will be dropped from the rolls of the Graduate College and candidacy for the doctoral degree will terminate.
Nothing herein shall prohibit such a student from reapplying for admission to the Graduate College and pursuing a doctoral degree in another major field so long as the student satisfies all necessary degree requirements under the rules and regulations of the admitting department, Graduate College and University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.