The University Senate of Michigan Technological University
Required Oral Examination Attempts
Senate Policy 115.1
Graduate students who must pass an oral examination associated with one of the milestones
required for completion of a graduate degree may be allowed a second opportunity to
successfully complete each of the required oral examinations if this is allowed by the student’s
This policy applies to graduate students pursuing a degree that requires an oral examination.
Individual graduate programs may have a more restrictive policy (meaning that they may allow
only a single attempt at one or more of the oral exams) but they may not have a more lenient
Oral examinations can have one of the following outcomes:
- Conditional pass
Students who conditionally pass an exam but fail to complete the imposed conditions
specified period of time will normally not be given a second opportunity to take the oral exam.
A student who fails an oral exam on the first try can request an opportunity to repeat
one time if this is allowed by the student’s graduate program.
Reason for Policy
This policy clarifies that a student can, when allowed by their graduate program, request a
second attempt at an oral examination associated with a milestone required for completion of a
Related Policy Information
Degree requirements for graduate degrees, including which oral examinations are required to
complete a milestone for each type of degree are listed online:
This policy does not apply to undergraduate students or graduate students pursuing a degree
that does not require oral examinations to complete a milestone.
Office/Unit Telephone Number
Graduate School (906) 487-2327
Oral examination – an oral test at the graduate level. There are typically three oral
examinations – Qualifying Examination, Research Proposal Examination, and Final Oral
Required oral examination – An oral examination that is required to complete the degree.
Qualifying Examination – a test of disciplinary knowledge.
Research Proposal Examination – test of capability to conduct independent research.
Final Oral Examination – public defense of research.
Pass – an oral exam result when a student has successfully completed the associated
Conditional Pass – an oral examination result when a student has not successfully completed
the associated required oral examination until specific conditions are met within a specified
period of time.
Fail – an oral examination result when the student has not successfully completed the
associated required oral examination.
Examination committee – a group of graduate faculty formed following current Graduate School
and graduate program policies to evaluate the student’s oral examination.
Graduate Student – Must be aware of the policy. If an exam is conditionally passed, must
complete the conditions required to pass the exam within the allowed timeframe in order to
complete the milestone. If an exam is failed on the first try, the student can request an
opportunity to repeat the exam one time if this is allowed by the student’s graduate program.
Graduate Program – Must either adhere to this policy or establish a more restrictive policy that
only allows a single attempt at an oral examination (if this is desired by the program).
Examining Committee – Must communicate in writing the results of the required oral
examination to the graduate program director and graduate program assistant. Must document
in writing the conditions as well as the period of time the student has to address conditions of a
conditional pass. Must monitor the completion of conditions for a conditional pass of a required
oral examination. For a failed exam, the committee must also communicate if the student
requested a second attempt, whether or not the second attempt was allowed, and the outcome
of a second attempt if one was allowed.
Graduate Program Director and Assistant – Must monitor the results of required oral
examinations by its students and communicate the results to the Graduate School and student
using normal procedures.
Graduate School – Must monitor that the appropriate documents are on file to record the results
of required oral examinations.
In support of this policy, the following procedures are included:
Procedure on Required Oral Examination Attempts
Forms and Instructions:
In support of this policy, the following forms/instructions are included:
Report on Final Oral Examination form
Report on Qualifying Examination or Research Proposal Examination form
Approved by Graduate Faculty Council on March 5, 2013
Introduced to Senate: 9 April 2014
Approved by Senate: 23 April 2014
Approved by Administration: 27 June 2014