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Dissertation Guidelines

Proposal and Defense Arrangements: Instructions to Students


Make sure to plan ahead, keeping in mind the minimum time requirements.


After receiving permission of your dissertation committee to defend your proposal, fill out the signature form with the names of your committee and obtain the signature of the graduate coordinator. You need to take the signature form with you to the proposal defense. Notify Karen Smith and ask her to reserve a room, and to send out an announcement to faculty and graduate students at least one week in advance. 

Dissertation Defense:

At least three months must pass between your proposal defense and the final oral defense of your dissertation. You must provide a draft copy of your completed dissertation to your committee at least five weeks before the date that of your dissertation defense. When you provide the draft to your committee you should begin the process of setting a firm defense date and time. Finding a date and time agreeable to all concerned is a process that normally requires considerable effort on your part. You must inform Karen of your firm defense date at least three weeks before that defense date so that she can notify the University Graduate Office and publicize the defense as required by University rules and regulations. (Neither the three week nor the five week deadline can be waived.) Ask Karen to reserve a room and to announce the defense to faculty and graduate students at least one week in advance. Get a departmental shuttle sheet and a copy of the format rules for the required electronic posting of the dissertation. Get other information on ETD submissions.

Defense Deadline:

The department must notify Admissions & Records, e.g. by about October 31/ March 15/ May 15 of who graduates in December/May/August. The informal defense deadline is the last day of classes (of either semester), or at least one week before the end of second summer session (but refer also to the library ETD deadline indicated above, which supersedes any departmental deadline).

Paperwork Procedures for Defense:

On the defense date you need to provide your committee with the shuttle sheet (dissertation approval form for the student's file), the ETD signature form for the library, and (optionally) the signature form for the hard-bound copy of the dissertation.