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Current students

General Exam


The Graduate School requires completion of 60 credits prior to scheduling the General Examination. At least 30 credits must be from UW and meet the following requirements:

  • Minimum 18 credits of coursework at the 500 level, not including seminars. A master’s degree from the CEE department may fulfill this requirement.
  • Minimum 18 numerically graded UW credits of approved 400 and 500 level coursework. A master’s degree from the CEE department may fulfill this requirement. Ungraded credits from the same quarter the General Exam is taken may be counted. The 18 credits at the 500 level may overlap with the 18 numerically graded credits.

Thirty credits from an appropriate master’s degree at an accredited institution may be applied toward the 60 credit requirement. If your master’s degree is not from UW, the Graduate Advising Office will submit a petition to the Graduate School to waive 30 credits. Before the Graduate School will process the petition they will need to verify the master’s degree via an official transcript. It is recommended to order official transcripts from your master’s degree as soon as possible to prevent delay.

More than 30 coursework credits may be applied if the master’s degree is from the CEE department. A master’s degree from the CEE department may fulfill the 18 credits at the 500 level and 18 numerically graded requirements shown above.

Items to Complete

  • Registration is required the quarter the General Examination is taken. The exam may be taken between quarters, however, registration is required the following quarter.
  • Set up a Supervisory Committee. The Graduate School recommends the Supervisory Committee be established at least four months prior to the General Exam. Once you have the names of your committee members, email that information to 
  • Arrange day, time, and location of exam and confirm with your committee members. A room may be reserved by your faculty adviser or the Graduate Advising Office.
  • Submit the online General Exam Request form at least three weeks prior to the exam date.
  • Provide the following information to the Graduate Advisers at least one week before your exam: date, time, location, name of your Committee Chair(s), a brief abstract and title of your dissertation.

Copies of the proposal should be distributed to the Supervisory Committee members at least two weeks before the exam.

Who must be present at the General Exam?

At least four members including the Supervisory Committee Chair, the Graduate School Representative and at least one other graduate faculty member must be present. If a member is required to attend but cannot be physically present at the exam, the Graduate School allows for video conferencing if specific requirements are met. (Please note, in response to COVID-19, all exams will done through video conferencing, including the GSR's participation)

When the Graduate School has approved candidacy, the student is awarded a Candidate Certificate. A candidate certificate and the doctoral degree may not be awarded the same quarter.