Remote Participation in Graduate Examinations

Remote Participation in Advanced Degree Committee Examinations

The graduate community has returned to in-person academic engagement in Fall 2021, including in-person participation of advanced degree committees.  All graduate examinations are expected to be conducted in person.  Exceptions may be requested on a case-by-case basis.

Graduate examinations with advanced degree committees: 
  • Doctoral Qualifying Exams
  • Plan A & Plan C Doctoral Candidacy Final Exams (Dissertation Defense)
  • Master’s Comprehensive Exams
In-person Mask Requirement

All in-person exam participants must wear a face covering regardless of their vaccination status.  Social distancing and UC Davis COVID-19 testing/screening requirements apply.  More information about the requirements is available on the Campus Ready website.

Doctoral Final Exams & Master's Comprehensive Exams

Doctoral Final exams and Master's Comprehensive Exams are expected to align with campus policy and be conducted in person.   

  • Graduate programs are responsible for reviewing requests for exception and making decisions whether to allow remote participation. 
  • Remote requests do NOT need to be reviewed or approved by Graduate Studies, and Graduate Studies does not need to be notified of the examination format. 
  • Programs are expected to review requests and make exceptions equitably.   

Remote Participation on Doctoral Qualifying Exams

The Policy on Service on Advanced Degree Committees permits students to request one committee member (other than the chair) participate remotely in the Qualifying Exam, with approval from the student, the QE committee chair, a Graduate Program Advisor, and Graduate Studies.   

Graduate Studies will review requests for multiple remote QE participants due to exceptional circumstances.  Requests must be made using the Remote Participation Request Form.  All proposed remote QE participants must be identified on the form, and an explanation of the exceptional circumstances is required.

Case-by-Case Exception Review

Graduate Studies recognizes students and their QE committee members may have exceptional circumstances that require careful consideration to determine whether in-person or remote participation is appropriate.  This information is communicated to Graduate Studies through the Remote Participation Request Form.  The Graduate Studies Associate Dean for Students is reviewing each request and situation on a case-by-case basis.  The Associate Dean may also consult a committee established to assist with reaching equitable outcomes.

  • Exceptional circumstances must be COVID-related where either the participant is immunocompromised or lives with an individual who is immunocompromised.  

Requesting QE Remote Participation

Qualifying Exam Applications must be submitted to Graduate Studies, by the student’s Graduate Coordinator, at least 30 days prior to the anticipated exam date.  Remote Participation Requests for the QE should be submitted with the QE Application, but will be accepted and reviewed separately if submitted no less than two weeks prior to the exam. 

Have Questions?

Graduate Studies Senior Academic Advisors (SAA's) ( are available to respond to questions or concerns about remote and in-person participation in exams. 

Requirements for QE Remote Participation

The information below comes from the criteria for remote participation included in the Policy on Service on Advanced Degree Committees.  

All committee members must make every reasonable effort to be physically present during the examination; however, it is permissible for one member, other than the chair, to participate remotely if the member cannot be present and is not within commuting distance.  With Graduate Studies approval, an exception may be granted to include multiple remote participants.  

  • The student, the committee chair, the Graduate Advisor, and Graduate Studies must all review and approve the Remote Participation Request.
  • Any remote participant must not be within commuting distance, and must have made all reasonable efforts to be present.
  • Any remote participant must be able to interact with the student and the other committee members in real time throughout the exam.
  • Any remote participant must have access to all the same examination materials as other committee members.
  • A student may negate their approval for remote participation at any time prior to the examination, leading to the rescheduling of the exam or reconstitution of the committee.  In order to negate their approval of remote participation, the student must submit a statement in writing to the chair of the committee and to Graduate Studies ( 

The chair of the committee and any member participating remotely must ensure that:

  1. The technology used for remote participation is available at the time of, and in the space reserved for the examination.
  2. The technology is tested prior to the examination.
  3. It is possible for the examination to meet the standards required by Graduate Council (see Policy on Doctoral Qualifying Examinations, i.e., the exam should be interactive and a group activity).
  4. The student is comfortable with the technology and understands how to successfully interact with a remote participant; and any costs associated with using the technology must not be absorbed by the student. Funding for remote participation is not available from Graduate Studies.
  5. A plan is made and shared among the committee for troubleshooting and adjustments in case of technical issues.