Thesis Defense

Department of Computer Science and Engineering
CSE Graduate Programs
Procedures for M.S. Thesis Defenses

As part of the degree requirements for the M.S. in Computer Science or Computer Engineering, students must pass a final examination given by their Advisory Committee as described in the graduate catalog. The part of the exam that is related to the presentation of the student's research is public (the Thesis Defense). The final examination may not be administered before the thesis is available to all members of the student's advisory committee in substantially final form, and all members have had adequate time to review the document. Final corrected copies of the thesis must be accepted by the thesis clerk no later than one year after the final examination or within the 7-year time limit, whichever occurs first. Failure to do so will result in the degree not being awarded.

Listed below are the procedures that should be followed for M.S. Thesis Defenses in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering. Much of this information is taken from the Graduate Advisor Handbook and from on the Office of Graduate Studies (OGS) website and from the Department's Graduate Brochure (pdf).

Final exam deadlines are listed on the OGS calendar (usually about 8 weeks before graduation).

To be eligible to schedule the Final Examination, the student must meet the following requirements:

  • An approved thesis proposal must have been submitted to OGS at least 15 days before the Request to hold the Final Examination (thesis defense) is submitted to OGS (or about 4 weeks before the defense). (This is a decrease - it used to be 14 weeks before the defense.)
  • All course work on the degree plan must be completed with the exception of those hours for which the student is registered. This means all petitions to change the courses on the degree plan must be filed and approved before the exam can be scheduled.
  • The cumulative and degree plan GPRs must both be at least 3.00. There cannot be any unabsolved grades of D, F, or U for any course listed on the degree plan. To absolve a deficient grade, the student must have repeated the course at Texas A&M University and have achieved a grade of C or better.
  • All English proficiency requirements must be satisfied prior to scheduling the examination.
  • Students must be registered in the University in the semester or summer term in which the final examination is taken.

Listed below are the steps that should be followed in scheduling and administering Final Examinations (Thesis Defenses) for Master of Science degrees in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering.

  1. The student and the Chair of the Advisory Committee should review the eligibility requirements for the Final Exam and ensure that the student has satisfied them all. If different courses were taken than are listed on the degree plan, then the appropriate petitions should be filed to make the necessary changes; all such petitions must be approved by OGS before the exam can be scheduled.
    Deadline: several weeks before exam.
  2. The student should consult with their Advisory Committee and select a mutually agreeable date and time for the defense. All advisory committee members should attend the final examination. If one of the members cannot attend the examination, he or she must find an appropriate substitute. The committee chair may not be substituted. (Note that the committee member and not the substitute should sign the thesis approval pages.) Normally two hours should be reserved for the defense. The student is responsible for ensuring that a room is reserved for the defense; the advising office can help with this if needed. If it is available, defenses should be scheduled in Room 302 HRBB to enable a larger attendance.
    Deadline: Several weeks before the exam.
  3. The Request for Final Examination must be received by OGS at least 10 working days before the exam. An electronic copy in plain text (ASCII) of the title and abstract of the thesis must be emailed to the advising office ( before the student brings the Request for Final Examination, already signed by the Chair(s), to the advising office for the Department approval signature. The advising office will submit the Request to OGS and they will announce and publicize the defense.
    Deadline: At least 15 working days before the exam.
  4. The student should distribute a complete draft ("nearly final form'') of the thesis to the advisory committee.
    Deadline: Approximately two weeks before the exam.
  5. OGS will send the Advising Office a Report of Final Exam before the exam. It should be completed and signed by the Advisory Committee at the defense. (If the Advisory Committee has Co-Chairs, OGS sends the report to the first listed Co-Chair.) The student's Chair should return theReport of Final Exam to the advising office and they will submit it to OGS. If the Report of Final Exam is not submitted to OGS within 10 working days of the scheduled examination, then a failing grade will be recorded.
    Deadline: Immediately after the exam (at the latest, within 10 working days of the exam).