Quick links

Final Public Oral Examination Checklist

Revised June 2023

Preparing for the Final Public Oral Examination (FPO)

Final paperwork must be submitted a maximum of two weeks after the FPO date or on the degree deadline, whichever comes first.  Please review the degree deadlines when planning for your final defense. 

More Than Two Months Before FPO

  • Review the Mudd Library Dissertation Format Requirements;
  • Submit final chapters to your adviser(s) for review;
  • If you wish to chnage your FPO committee composition from the pre-FPO committee composition, request the change to gradinfo@cs.princeton.edu to confirm that your committee meets Graduate School and departmental requirements;
  • Confirm FPO date and location. Note: If you are serving as an Assistant-in-Instruction (AI) in the semester that you are defending the dissertation, consult with your department about the FPO date to ensure that you may remain enrolled and eligible to serve as an AI through the end of the term. Enrollment continues only through the end of the month in which a student's FPO is held. Any exceptions must be discussed with Academic Affairs in the Graduate School.
  • Complete name, advisor, and other bibliographic fields in each Reader’s Report form and distribute them to Readers.
  • Confirm with your readers that they will be able to return Reader's Report form within three weeks before the FPO (assuming you have provided them the full thesis within 6 weeks before the FPO).
  • Inform your committee that examiners (non-readers) are required to attend in-person, but Readers are not absolutely required to attend in-person, or at all.
  • Try to avoid overlapping your FPO date/time with other student's FPO's 

At Least Six Weeks Before FPO

  • Distribute a final draft of your dissertation to readers and copy the Graduate Coordinators (gradinfo@cs.princeton.edu);
    • Please inform your readers that their reader's reports must contain substantive feedback (at least a few sentences) on your dissertation. The Graduate School will not accept blank reader's reports, even if they're signed.
    • Please ensure your readers sign & date their reader's reports. The Grad School will not accept the forms if they are not signed AND dated.
  • Incorporate suggested edits into your dissertation.

Four Weeks Before FPO

  • Submit a final copy of your dissertation to your department (gradinfo@cs.princeton.edu);
  • Complete the advanced degree application through TigerHub.  
  • If applicable, discuss the need to embargo the dissertation with your adviser(s).

For an application to be considered complete, the following materials (as PDFs) must be included:

  • Materials Submitted by the Student Approximately Five Weeks Before FPO
    • A copy of the title page, correctly formatted (sample title page);
    • A copy of the abstract (350 words or less)
  • Materials Submitted by the Department to the Graduate School No Less Than Two Weeks Before FPO
    • Request to Hold Final Public Oral form;
    • Reader Reports completed by principal readers of the dissertation;
    • A CV of any external examiner or reader. Committee membership from someone outside the University must be approved by the Graduate School prior to completion of the advanced degree application.

Three Weeks Before FPO

  • Student (and gradinfo@cs.princeton.edu) should recieve Readers' reports back from Readers.

At Least Three Days Before FPO

  • Confirm that your FPO has been approved and the announcement has been posted.

Day of FPO

  • Defend!

Following the FPO

Before submitting final paperwork to the Graduate School, graduate students must take the following steps:   

  • Submit dissertation PDF to Princeton’s ProQuest ETD site, paying any applicable publishing and copyright fees (the Graduate School requires traditional or open access publication and does not allow publication restrictions);
  • Submit link to an Open Access version of the dissertation to gradinfo@cs.princeton.edu (opt-out permitted)
  • Complete the Survey of Earned Doctorates (hard copy of the "Certificate of Completion" page of the SED);
  • Complete the Exit Survey(link is external) (hard copy of the "Confirmation of Completion" page must be submitted);
  • Complete the checkout process for students departing the University in TigerHub.

Once all actions are complete, graduate students must log in to TigerHub to complete the submission of the final paperwork process.  All final paperwork is normally submitted immediately following the successful completion of the FPO examination, but in no case later than two weeks after the defense or by the degree deadline, whichever comes first.

Beginning with the April 2022 degree list and moving forward, the vast majority of Ph.D. students will not be required to submit a printed bound copy of the dissertation to the Mudd Manuscript Library. Students who have removed content from the PDF version of the dissertation to avoid copyright infringement are still required to submit a bound copy to the library with all content included. This unredacted, bound version of the dissertation must be formatted according to the Dissertation Formatting Guidelines, and delivered by hand, mail, or delivery service to the Mudd Manuscript Library by the degree date deadline in order to be placed on the degree list. Address the bound copy to: Attn: Dissertations, Mudd Manuscript Library, 65 Olden Street, Princeton, NJ 08540.

All documents must be received by the degree deadline.

Enrollment and Benefits following the FPO

Enrollment and benefits typically end the first of the month following the successful defense.  Students may wish to consult benefits and status after the FPO for information about benefits you may receive between FPO and degree conferral. Additional information can be found here: Status Changes and End of Student Benefits.


  1. Email gradinfo@cs.princeton.edu as soon as you have a target FPO date in mind. 
  2. Date on title page is month/year of graduation, not FPO date.
  3. Remember to acknowledge your funding in your thesis. See adviser for official grant numbers.
  4. Read the formatting and binding guidelines carefully. See this page for formal requirements.
Follow us: Facebook Twitter Linkedin