Doctoral Degree: Graduation

Please read the entire Dissertation Instruction Packet and the Graduate College Bulletin for details.

First Year of Doctoral Study

  • Within your first year, schedule an advisory conference. Consult with your graduate liaison to discuss department procedures on planning your program of study and forming a dissertation committee. Check the doctoral degree requirements for your academic unit and review the Graduate College Bulletin for enrollment standards.
  • Complete the Advisory Conference Report.  Fill out the form, obtain the appropriate signatures, and submit the form to the Graduate College for processing.

The General Examination (Written and Oral Examination)

  • When coursework is nearly completed and all tools of research have been completed with a grade of B or better, prepare for the General Examination.  Be sure that the Graduate College is aware of any modifications and updates made to your Advisory Conference Report (form is a fillable PDF).  Also, you must be enrolled in at least two graduate credit hours in the semester in which you complete the General Examination.
  • In the semester in which you intend to complete the General Examination, submit the Application for General Examination for the Doctoral Degree to the Graduate College at least two weeks before the exam date.  If approved, the Graduate College will contact you and your committee that you have been authorized to take the General Exam.  Your committee chair will also receive a Report of General Exam via email.  See the Graduate College Bulletin for detailed procedures and requirements.
  • With your committee, arrange the date(s), time(s), and location for your examination. 
  • After the General Examination is complete, the Report of General Exam must be completed, signed by all committee members, and submitted to the Graduate College within 72 hours of the oral portion of the exam.

The Dissertation

  • Maintain continuous enrollment of at least 2 hours of Dissertation Research Hours (6980) each semester (excluding summer sessions) until the doctoral degree is completed.   Enrollment in the Summer Session is required only if (1) the degree is conferred in the summer session, or (2) work is being done on the dissertation.
  • RESEARCH SUBJECTS:  For any research that includes human or vertebrate animal subject involvement of any kind, approval must be obtained from the appropriate office prior to beginning any research. This includes the administration of all surveys and the use of existing data collected on any human or animal subjects. For information about human subject involvement, the IRB web site can be accessed at For information about vertebrate animal subject involvement, the IACUC web site can be accessed at  A copy of the approval letter should be submitted to the Graduate College along with the Application for Approval of Master’s Thesis Topic and Committee Membership during the semester before you intend to graduate.
  • PATENTABLE MATERIAL: If the dissertation research contains inventions/discoveries owned by the University as defined by the University Patent Policy, a reading copy of the dissertation must be submitted to the Office of Technology Development (OTD) for review and evaluation. 

The Dissertation Defense and Graduation: Last Semester of Enrollment

  • File the Application for Graduation (blue card).  Deadlines: Spring--First Monday in March, Summer--First Monday in July, Fall--First Monday in October.
  • Complete the online Degree Check at least two weeks prior to the submission of the reading copy.  
  • Provide your dissertation committee with a Reading Copy of Dissertation at least 2 weeks before you submit the Request for Authority for Defense of Dissertation to the Graduate College.  Arrange the defense date, time, and location with your committee.
  • Submit Request for Authority for Defense of the Dissertation (enclosed) along with a reading copy to the Graduate College.  You need to schedule an appointment with your academic counselor to review your reading copy. This must be done 2 weeks prior to your defense date.
  • Defend your Dissertation and submit your results to the Graduate College within 72 hours.  The result of the dissertation defense is valid for 60 days or until the semester deadline as noted in the Academic Calendar (whichever comes first).  Therefore, students who plan to graduate in a particular semester must meet the deadlines for that semester and may not have 60 days available.
  • Make corrections in your dissertation as communicated by your committee.
  • Print two (2) final copies of your dissertation.  The copies must meet specific printing requirements (found within this packet).  There are NO EXCEPTIONS made for incorrectly formatted dissertation copies.
  • File your Dissertation.  Dissertation must first be reviewed at the Graduate College and then filed in the Bizzell Library Acquisitions Department.
  • Electronically submit one (1) copy of your dissertation via



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