"Dissertation" here means the final project, whether that consists of a dissertation, a monograph, a lecture/performance, a series of recitals or performances, specially selected coursework in lieu of a written document, or any other final project defined by the department.
"Milestone Examination" refers to any examination that is required for continuation in the doctoral program. Common examples include the qualifying or pre-general examination (typically given early in the student's doctoral career) and the general examination (typically given when all coursework has been completed, prior to the start of the final project), and the dissertation examination itself. The Dean's Representative participates in two of these milestones: the General Examination and the Final Examination, commonly referred to as the "dissertation defense."
"General Examination" refers to a rigorous examination taken before the student proceeds to the dissertation/final project. In most cases, this is the term used by departments. In some cases, departments have additional requirements, such as a qualifying or pre-general examination, or a separate dissertation proposal meeting. In a few instances, departments use the term "qualifying examination" to refer to what is more commonly known as the general examination. Please see the Graduate Catalog for a more thorough explanation of the General Examination.
"Final Examination" refers to the oral examination that assesses and evaluates the final project or dissertation. The votes of the committee are forwarded to the Graduate School and determine whether or not a student is awarded the doctoral degree.
Both the general examination committee and the final examination committee must include a Dean’s Representative (DR). The DR is a member of the graduate faculty of the university who is neither a member of the faculty of the student’s home department, nor of the home department of any of the members of the dissertation committee. The DR is appointed by the Dean of the Graduate School.