Ph.D. Prospectus Defense/General Examination

Passing the General Examination is a major milestone in your academic career and results in a promotion to Ph.D. candidate status (also known as ‘All but Dissertation’). During this exam, you will defend a dissertation prospectus that outlines a plan for the full dissertation. You will develop the prospectus by working closely with your Supervisory Committee Chair and (usually) your entire committee.

You can learn more about the General Exam on the Graduate School website:

General Examination: Admission to Candidacy for Doctoral Degree

Before you schedule your exam, it is important to:

  • Request a degree audit from the GPA
  • Submit your PhD Training Plan (if you have not yet done so)
  • Register for credits in the quarter of the exam


  • Have your Chair confirm with the GPA that you are ready to take the exam
  • Coordinate a day/time/modality (in-person/remote/hybrid) with your entire committee.
  • Schedule a room (This can be frustrating. The GPA is happy to help with this!)
  • Notify the GPA of day/time/modality
  • Schedule the General Exam in MyGrad

The Exam

At least four members of the supervisory committee (including Chair and GSR) must be present at the General Examination. If you plan to have a remote or hybrid exam, review these Graduate School guidelines.

Post exam

After a successful exam, email a copy of your prospectus to the GPA.