Final Dissertation Exam

The final exam represents the last significant opportunity for the Dissertation committee to ask questions and provide comments on the student’s dissertation research. It also serves to disseminate the work to the public (including faculty, students, and colleagues). In many ways, it represents a celebration of the completion of the student’s journey. Unlike the Dissertation Proposal Defense exam, which is closed, the final exam is open to the public and announced along with other public seminars. Students must be registered in the semester they complete their final dissertation exam.

Two weeks prior to Final Exam, students must email the following information to Valerie Calbert. She will publicize the exam to hospitality faculty, staff, and students.

  • Title of Dissertation
  • Dissertation Committee names and email addresses
  • Final Exam date, time and location

The student must provide a copy of their dissertation to Rhonda McElroy, which is then stored in their student file.

Students must also email the Graduate College at with the following information about their Final Dissertation Exam and copy their Dissertation Chair and Rhonda McElroy (

  • First and Last Name
  • Type of Degree (PhD in Hospitality Administration)
  • Dissertation Title
  • Name of Dissertation Chair and committee members
  • Final Dissertation Exam Location
  • Final Dissertation Exam Date and Time

Guidance on How to Prepare for the Final Dissertation Exam

  • A student should work closely with their dissertation chair to develop a plan to complete the dissertation within the Graduate College’s deadlines for graduation. The scheduling of the exam should be determined in consultation with the chair and the Dissertation committee.
  • Following the final oral exam, it is common for the committee to suggest minor improvements or corrections to the dissertation; however, it is usually not the case that substantial new work is expected. If there is any possibility of the committee requesting further work, take this into account when scheduling the final exam and be prepared to allot the time necessary to make the recommended changes or enhancements to the dissertation. Students should consult with their chair on this point.
  • It is important to attend other defenses to understand the process and to learn valuable skills from other students’ final exams.