Final Exams, Appeals, Policies and Resources


As a graduate student, there are a few things that you need to know to get you to graduation; if applicable to your program, the final comprehension exam, thesis, and oral defense are requirements that students have the most questions on. Graduate students also have different policies and rights of appeal.

Comprehensive Exams Right of Appeal View all Policies


Elements of a Final Comprehensive Examination

Final exams vary by program. Some programs require a thesis, some a project, and others may have a capstone course or written exams with an oral defense. It's important to establish what your requirements are with your advisor.

Steps to Schedule a Final Exam

Plan for your final term and understand the steps to your final examination.

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Exams Requiring an Oral Defense

Understand the planning steps and forms needed for your oral defense.

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Thesis Information

We've put together an entire page on the ins and outs of writing a thesis.

My Thesis Information

Steps for Scheduling Your Final Exam

It’s important to meet with your advisor to determine that your project is complete. Once they have given permission to proceed you can schedule your final oral examination (if applicable).

Since all three committee members must be present for you to graduate you must coordinate a day and time that works for ALL members of your committee.

Confirm the date, time, and location with all three committee members. All three members must sign off on the TRA form agreeing to the date, time, and location before this form can be submitted to Graduate Programs. Digital signatures are accepted.

At least two weeks prior to the confirmed exam date, submit the TRA (Terminal Research Approval) Form to the Graduate Programs office in Showalter Hall, Room 206 or email the form to

No later than two weeks prior to the confirmed exam date, provide each of your three committee members with a copy of your final document/project/thesis.

The Comprehensive Exam Report form is sent directly to your committee members from Graduate Programs once your TRA Form is submitted. Upon completion of your final examination, this Comprehensive Exam Report form needs to be sent back to Graduate Programs in Showalter Hall Room 206 or email the form to

Students presenting a thesis must submit the required electronic copy in a single PDF (Computer Science students may submit LaTex version) to within 10 days of successfully defending their thesis or by the last day of the term.

Follow these steps for arranging and scheduling your final exam during your final term.

Prior to scheduling your final exam, you should check your degree audit with Degree Works to ensure you are on track to complete all necessary courses. Have all substitutions marked. If you have any X, Y or XC grades, they will need to be changed before the end of your graduating term.

A comprehensive evaluation cannot be scheduled if you have an incomplete (X) grade in any course.

Make sure you have addressed any and all issues on your degree audit and that you have applied to graduate before moving forward. Failure to comply with deadlines could result in the rescheduling of the comprehensive examination or possible postponement of exams until a future term.


Exams Requiring an Final Defense

Final exams vary by program. Some programs require a thesis, some a project, others may have a capstone course or written exams with an oral defense.

Within the first few weeks of your final term, you will need to fill out the Third Member Request Form. You will receive an email from Graduate Programs stating who your third member will be and their contact information. Please note it is the student’s responsibility to contact their third member. In addition, your third member will be listed on your electronic transcript on EagleNET. Please note that during the spring quarter it may take several weeks before all third-member assignments are made.

You must have applied to graduate before a third member assignment is made.

You must apply to graduate online using EagleNET. The application is located under the “Student” tab, and under the “Student Records” tab click Apply to Graduate.

If you have missed the application deadline, you will have to apply to graduate by the following term’s graduate application deadline. Please refer to the Academic Calendar to review when your graduation application is due.

Graduate Transfer Credit Eligibility

Procedure for submitting transfer credit from other institutions towards Graduate level courses.

Considerations Related to the Graduate Transfer Credit Eligibility form

Current EWU graduate students hoping to bring in transfer credit from another institution must fill out the Graduate Transfer Credit Eligibility form.*

Considerations before you fill this form out:
-An official transcript from the institution you earned the credit from must be on file for you. If there is not an official transcript from the institution you originally earned the credit from your credits will not be eligible for transfer until an official transcript has been submitted.

-Are the credits you want to transfer from before or after you were awarded your last degree? If the credits are from before and counted towards your last degree, they cannot be transferred.

-Are the credits you want to transfer 6 years older?

If the credits are 6 years or older, you must fill out an Appeals Packet. For more information about filing an Appeal, see the Right of Appeals section below.
-Are you transferring in more than 12 quarter credits or 9 semester credits?

If you are transferring in more than the allowed credits, you must fill out an Appeals Packet for all potential transfer credits. For more information about filing an Appeal, see the Right of Appeals section below.
-Do you have enough credits to cover a course?

If the course you are transferring in does not have enough credits to cover the EWU equivalent course, you will have to work with your program to cover those missing credits. A course being approved for transfer does not mean the course requirement has been met.
-Do you have the Catalog Course Description and Syllabus?

Special Considerations for EdS Psychology students and MSW students.

If you do not have both of these you will need to work directly with your program to determine the eligibility of your transfer credits.
*If you are an EdS Psychology student please contact your program for the appropriate form to transfer credits at If you are a Masters of Social Work student please contact your program for more information about how to transfer credits at

Right of Appeal

Students may include in a graduate degree program, from any regionally accredited college or university, a maximum of 12 quarter or nine-semester department- or program-approved pre-admission credits not used toward an undergraduate degree.

Exceptions to this policy can be made by the Academic Appeals Board in rare and special circumstances. Request for exceptions must be made in writing by the student and the program advisor to the Academic Appeals Board. However, in no case may credit be granted for experiential learning which occurred before the student’s matriculation into the graduate degree program.

Time limit: All academic requirements, including coursework, thesis and final examinations, must be completed within a six-year time period. The six-year period is based on academic terms.

Route of Appeal:

All appeals must be initiated by the student and supported by the appropriate graduate programs advisor or director. Students are responsible for gathering all appropriate materials for their Appeals Packet. Appeals Packet must include:

  • Completed Graduate Appeals Form
  • Description of student’s appeal
  • Letter/Memo of support from student’s department
  • Copy of student’s transcripts (unofficial)

IMPORTANT: Incomplete Appeal Packets will not be brought before the Academic Appeals Board.

The completed Appeals Packet is due to the Graduate Programs Office in Showalter 206 no later than the 10th day of the quarter. The Academic Appeals Board meets only once a quarter. Appeals received past the 10th day will be submitted the following quarter.

Once a decision is made, both the student and their department will receive a notice from the Director of Graduate Programs.

Eastern Washington University Graduate students have the right to ask for an exception to two of the Graduate Student Policies.

Students have six years to complete their degree. A student’s start term begins with their first completed class. If the student completed the first course between EWU academic terms, the next term will be considered the start term (e.g. for a first course completed in late August, the start term would be fall). The student’s admission status at the time the first course was taken is irrelevant in determining the start term.

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