Final Public Oral Examination (FPO)
The final public oral examination is a final examination in the student's field of study as well as a defense of the dissertation.
The department holds the final public oral examination after the Graduate School reviews and accepts the readers' reports and is satisfied that all other requirements have been met. The department is required to post prominently the date, time and place of the examination for a minimum of three days (including Saturday) between the dean's authorization and the date of the examination, in order to assure the open, public character of the oral. There are at least three principal examiners, all of them normally members of the Princeton faculty at the rank of assistant professor or higher, at least two of whom have not been principal readers of the dissertation. The department determines whether or not the candidate has passed the examination.
In case the examination is not sustained, the candidate may stand for it a second time after at least one year has passed. If unsuccessful a second time, the candidate is not permitted another opportunity to retake the examination, and Ph.D. candidacy is terminated. In cases where an appearance for the final public oral examination would constitute a substantial financial hardship for the candidate, the director of graduate studies may recommend to the dean of the Graduate School that the examination be waived.