Final Defense

The final defense of the student’s dissertation cannot be scheduled until his/her adviser or all co-advisers have read and approved it. The student is responsible for assuring the completion of the draft of the dissertation and for adequate consultation with members of the doctoral committee well in advance of the final defense. The dissertation should be in its final draft, with required notes, bibliography, tables, etc., at the time of the final defense; both the content and style should be correct and appropriate by the time the final draft of the dissertation is submitted to the members of the committee. There should be at least three weeks between the time, date, and location of this examination, once it is scheduled. This defense is also open to the public. The student must be able to respond to questions about the work performed and is responsible for the correctness of the research results reported in the dissertation. In addition, at least one paper based on work reported in the dissertation must be written and submitted for publication before the final defense. The Graduate School requires at least two weeks’ notice for scheduling the final defense. The students should notify the Graduate Program Staff Assistant three weeks in advance so that the necessary paperwork can be done on time. At least three members of the doctoral committee (including the thesis adviser or chair) must be physically present at the defense. No more than one member man participate via distance communication. Exceptions must be approved by the Graduate School at least three weeks before the scheduled date of the defense.

It is strongly recommended that the dissertation is defended within 24 months after passing the comprehensive examination.

When a period of more than six years has elapsed between the passing of the comprehensive examination and the completion of the program, the student is required to pass a second comprehensive examination before the final oral examination will be scheduled.

A doctoral student is required to complete the program, including acceptance of the doctoral dissertation or the passing of the final performance, within eight years after the date of successful completion of the qualifying examination. Individual programs may set shorter time limits. Extensions may be granted by the director of Graduate Enrollment Services in appropriate circumstances.

Delivery of the “final” version of the dissertation to the chair of the doctoral committee should precede the Graduate School deadline by two months. A student must pass the final defense, obtain the signatures of all the committee members and the Department Head or the Graduate Program Coordinator on the Ph.D. Dissertation Approval Page from the Graduate School and submit the final approved electronic copy of the dissertation to the Graduate School with the completed signatory page by the specified deadline in order to graduate in a semester. The approved copy of the dissertation must be submitted to the Graduate School within six months of passing the final defense.

Every doctoral student must submit the signed copy of his/her dissertation to the Thesis Office in a timely manner so that he/she graduates within a semester following his/her defense. If a student cannot meet the Graduate School and department deadlines, he/she can still complete the other requirements for the degree and request for a letter certifying that all other departmental requirements for the degree have been satisfied. The letter will also indicate when the degree will be awarded after all Graduate School and department requirements are completed.

Contact Information:

  • Graduate Programs Office
    344 Leonhard Building
    University Park, PA 16802



Home of the first established industrial engineering program in the world, the Harold and Inge Marcus Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering (IME) at Penn State has made a name for itself in the engineering industry through its storied tradition of unparalleled excellence and innovation in research, education, and outreach.

We are Innovators. We are Makers. We are Excellence in Engineering. We are Penn State IME.

The Harold and Inge Marcus Department of
Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering

310 Leonhard Building

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802-4400

Phone: 814-865-7601

FAX: 814-863-4745