Schedule the GBO

The chair of the department or program committee sponsoring a candidate for the Ph.D. degree is responsible for scheduling the exam and submitting the form entitled Oral Examination for Degree of Doctor of Philosophy to the Graduate Board Office. This form must be completed, signed by the chair, and submitted to the Graduate Board three weeks before to the proposed examination date. Only the original, signed form needs to be submitted to the Board. Exams may be conducted at anytime throughout the year.

Oral Examination Committee Eligibility

To be eligible to serve on a Graduate Board Oral Examination Committee, a faculty member must hold:

  1. A faculty appointment as a Professor, Associate Professor, or Assistant Professor in a University department/program. Such appointments may be regular or visiting, full-time or part-time.
  2. One member of a committee may be from the public health scientist faculty track. Lecturers and visiting scholars may not serve.
    Exceptions. The Chair of the Graduate Board and one other member of the Board must approve anyone not meeting these criteria. To be considered for approval, the chair of the department/program petitioning for authorization of an examiner outside of the University must submit:

    • The full curriculum vita of the outside examiner, including recent peer-reviewed publications and evidence of scholarly work
    • A one-page summary of the research of the Ph.D. student
    • A one-page letter explaining how the expertise of the examiner meshes with the student’s research and why the department must go outside of the University to have this expertise represented on the committee.


The above request and documentation should accompany the examination form and must be received by the Graduate Board for review a minimum of four weeks before the scheduled Graduate Board Oral Examination.

Faculty members who leave the University may continue to mentor their former students for a period of five years with the approval of the chair of the department/program.

Composition of the Oral Examination Committee

Members of the GBO examination committee are selected by the candidate’s department chair or graduate program director and approved by the Graduate Board Chair. The chair of the committee is selected by the Graduate Board Chair. Only JHU full-time tenure track faculty, holding the rank of Professor, Associate Professor, or Emeritus Professor, from outside the candidate’s department are eligible to serve as Chair of the GBO committee.

Although consultation with candidates and their faculty advisors regarding possible exam committee members is appropriate, selection of the committee is the department/program chair’s responsibility and is not the candidate’s responsibility or prerogative.

Inside and Outside Examiners

Two examination committee members must be inside the department or program sponsoring the candidate, and two committee members must be from outside the department or program sponsoring the candidate. The fifth examination committee member will serve either as inside or outside the department, as determined by your department, program or division. Ordinarily, the primary appointment of faculty members determines whether they are considered inside or outside the department. When determining a faculty member’s primary appointment, the Graduate Board generally disregards appointments in non-Ph.D. degree granting departments. Advisors, however, are considered inside examiners even if their appointment is outside of the department sponsoring the candidate. Generally, the two primary readers/advisors serve as the two inside members of the examination if the final examination is considered as the Graduate Board examination. A department chair may request the Graduate Board to designate certain divisions within very large departments as outside programs.

Notification of Committee Members

After the Chair of the Graduate Board approves the examination request, the original will be sent to the appointed chair of the committee, a copy will be sent to the department, and the Graduate Board will maintain one copy. After this point, no substitution of examiners other than those named as alternates can be made without the approval of the Graduate Board Office. The chair of the department/program sponsoring the candidate is responsible for notifying the student and examiners of the time and place of the examination. For a final examination, examiners should have copies of the candidate’s dissertation and the readers’ letter at least two weeks before to the examination.