UW Graduate School

Instructions for Video Conferencing in Doctoral Examinations

For exams scheduled during Autumn Quarter 2020, Winter Quarter 2021, and Summer Quarter 2021, we are allowing the following exceptions (no petition necessary) to these requirements:

  • The Graduate School Representative (GSR) may participate by video conference.
  • The student is not required to participate by video conference at an academic institution, and therefore, a proctor (faculty or administrative personnel) does not need to be present throughout the entire examination.

In order to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), a student or any member of the supervisory committee who chooses not to come to campus or otherwise participate in person must be allowed to participate by video conference.

For additional suggestions on video conferencing, please visit the Graduate School’s General Guidance page.


These are minimum Graduate School requirements regarding video conferences during doctoral examinations. Individual departments may have stricter requirements and participants should contact the departments prior to organizing these conferences.

Graduate School Requirements

As stated in Graduate School Memorandum 13, General and Final Examinations must have four committee members present — the Chair, GSR and at least one additional Graduate Faculty member. If a member(s) needs to participate at an exam but cannot be physically present, the Graduate School allows for video conferences if the following requirements are met:

  • The conference process is initiated and completed by the student and/or student’s department.
  • All costs incurred are the responsibility of the student and/or student’s department.
  • All visual aids used at the examination must be available to conference participants prior to the examination.
  • All committee members, including the GSR, must be notified of the conference prior to the examination.
  • The Graduate School Representative (GSR) must be present and is not allowed to participate by video conference.
  • All other members, including the Chair, are allowed to participate via video conference.
  • If communication is broken during the examination and cannot be retrieved thereby not fulfilling the minimum number of exam participants, the examination must be terminated and rescheduled to a later time/date.
  • Committee members who are participating by video conferencing will send a fax or email to the Chair of the committee stating that he or she attended the exam, including the date and time, and how they voted (pass, reexamine, fail). This document must be attached to the original warrant.

If the student is to participate at the examination by video conference, the following requirements must be met in addition to the pertinent requirements listed above:

  • The student must arrange to participate by conference at an academic institution.
  • A proctor (faculty or administrative personnel) must be present throughout the entire examination.
  • The proctor must submit a letter to the GPC of the student’s department that verifies their responsibility during the examination.
  • While a student may videoconference without any members of the committee physically present with the student, it is not permissible for the student to videoconference if another committee member or chair is present with the student.
  • The exception to the above is if the GSR is also physically present with the student during the exam.

If the above stated requirements are not met, the examination may be invalid and the Graduate School may require another examination.


For information on videoconferencing services, contact Learning & Scholarly Technologies and Classroom Support Services

Revised: April 2020