Completion of Degree

Each Ph.D. candidate is required to complete an in-depth, original, independent, research project with results that are acceptable for publication in high quality peer reviewed journals. The results are assembled into a Dissertation and the Dissertation research is also presented by the student at a public seminar, followed by an oral examination, i.e., the dissertation defense. The Thesis Committee must formally approve the written dissertation, certifying that it represents a significant original contribution to the scientific knowledge base and that the candidate has succeeded in the oral defense. Before you come close to a defense date, and ideally following the second year in the PhD Program, submit a Thesis Proposal to the Graduate School.  To see all the things that must be done during your PhD career, see the TIMELINE

How to complete your degree:

1. Schedule a Thesis Defense Seminar with the Program Director.
2. You must Apply to Graduate (no more than 3 months in advance)

1. Log in to MyAccess.
2. Click the Student tab
3. Click the Student Records link
4. Click Apply to Graduate

Note that this needs to be done before the 1st of April for a May graduation. Your application expires in 3 months or when a new semester starts, whichever comes first. If you don’t graduate in that time window, you must Apply to Graduate again.
3. View info on all the stuff you must do to graduate
3a. View info on even more stuff you must do to graduate.
   Note: Some of these files won’t download properly in Microsoft Internet Explorer. 
   This website has:

‘Guidlines for Thesis Writers’,
‘Dissertation Proposal’ (filed at least a semester before completion of your degree)
‘Thesis Template’
Give to your committee for signatures and file with the Graduate School (a week, or more, before the defense) the ‘Dissertation Reviewers Report
   Note, at the bottom of this form it tells you to email your abstract to and include your full name, title of your dissertation using the word DISSERTATION in the subject line.

4. Get Thesis Ballot (see Program Coordinator for forms) and Thesis Cover Sheet signed at defense
5. After completing the corrections, submit thesis electronically (new window)
6. Now you have to turn in the ETD Release form (new window) (Electronic Thesis & Defense)
7. Also the SED form  (new window)(Survey of Earned Doctorates)

Note: The Graduate School does not want YOU to turn in the Comprehensive Exam Ballot or the Thesis Ballot personally. Make a copy and then get an official person to do it.

Degrees are awarded in every month except June. For July through January, the application is due before the first business day of the month the student plans to graduate. For students who wish to graduate in February, March, April, or May, the Application for Graduate Degree is due by the last day of Add/Drop in Spring Semester.