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Thesis Preparation And Registration


Graduate Education Thesis Defense Website

Guidelines for the Content of a Basic Science Ph.D. Thesis

It is the responsibility of the student to ensure that style, format, margins, paper, binding, et cetera are in accordance with University regulations.  The student should be aware that the Dean of Graduate Studies has a deadline each year by which time a thesis must be registered in order to allow graduation at the next Commencement.  It will usually take at least three months to prepare the thesis after all experimental work is complete.  The most common mistake is in not allowing adequate time for the preparation of the document, including writing, illustrations, and formatting, which leaves insufficient time for proper review by the advisor.  This can lead to rejection of the dissertation by the thesis advisory committee and insufficient time to register the document with the Graduate Dean's Office. In short, plan ahead.

The student’s thesis advisory committee must approve the writing of the Ph.D. thesis at a formal committee meeting six months before the defense, at which time a Thesis Approval Form (see appendix) will be signed by all committee members to indicate their approval to begin writing the thesis.  The Chair Nomination form (see appendix) must be completed by the Program Director four months prior to the exam. 

Registration with the office of the Dean of Graduate Studies must take place at least 10 business days before the final exam.1   In preparation for registration, the student should begin the process by meeting with the Graduate Studies Coordinator when first discussing a defense date with the Ph.D. advisor and thesis advisory committee.  The approval/paperwork process starts at least 6 months before registration with the following steps:

  1. 6 months prior to the thesis defense, the student must obtain written approval from his/her committee members to start working on their thesis.  All members of the committee must sign the Thesis Approval form that can be obtained from the Graduate Studies Coordinator.
  2. At least 4 months in advance of scheduling the defense, the student must turn in the completed Chair Nomination form along with a thesis title page and abstract to the Graduate Studies Coordinator.  From there, the Senior Associate Dean of Graduate Education will select a Chair for the defense.  The chair, student, PI and Graduate Studies Coordinator will be notified via email when a chair has been selected.
  3. Once a chair has been selected and approved, the student can move forward with selecting the date and time for his/her defense.  Once a date/time is selected, they should immediately contact the Graduate Studies Coordinator so that room reservations can be secured and a detailed email will be sent to the student to convey pertinent information.  This must be at least 2 months prior to the defense to allow sufficient time to meet all deadlines as well as time to write and prepare for their defense. 2
  4. At least 2 months prior to the defense date, the student should poll the thesis committee and defense chair to determine their preference for thesis format (hard copy or pdf). 
  5. At least 25 full business days prior to the defense, the student must provide the thesis to his/her thesis committee and defense chair to review in their preferred format.  The version given at this time MUST be the same version given to the entire thesis committee and defense chair; no revisions can be made until after the thesis defense. 
  6. At least 17 business days prior to the defense, the student will need to meet with the Graduate Studies Coordinator to complete the online registration progress via Sharepoint.
  7. At least 15 full business days prior to the defense the thesis committee and Program Director must approve of the thesis submitted for defense via the SharePoint site (link provided in email sent from
  8. At least 10 full business days must elapse between the registration date and the actual date of defense.
  9. The school allows 30 calendar days after the defense date for submission of the final copy of the thesis via ProQuest.  However, defenses schedules later in the semester will be subject to a deadline date that may be shorter than 30 days.  Please consult the academic calendar for these deadline dates.   

1. Registration deadlines vary.  Please check in the Department Office for a schedule of dates for the academic year.  Final exams may not be scheduled during specific blackout periods

2. If the examination takes place during Fall or Spring semester, avoid scheduling the examination on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Friday afternoon.