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Steps to Graduation

[Request Defense of M.S. Thesis/Dissertation]  [Defend M.S. Thesis/Ph.D. Dissertation]  [Submit M.S. Thesis/Ph.D. Dissertation]  [Submit Exit Forms]

2 SUBMIT THE Request for Defense of the M.S. Thesis or Request for Defense of the Ph.D. Dissertation FORM TO THE OFFICE OF ACADEMIC AFFAIRS (GSBS, BSRB 3.8451)
  • turned in at least 10 working days before defense
  • submit electronic version of the abstract of your dissertation/thesis
  • submit the electronic version of your dissertation/thesis for anti-plagiarism (Turnitin) check.  This version should contain the text of your dissertation/thesis (and not the figures, figure legends or references.
  • submit a hard copy of your final draft of the dissertation/thesis for a formatting check.  This should include the signature page, title page, acknowledgement page, tables of content, figures and tables, all figures, figure legends, references and vita.
3 DEFEND YOUR THESIS/DISSERTATION; submit signed Results of Defense. Defenses must occur no later than two weeks prior to the end of a term.
  • original Thesis/Dissertation, approved by your Supervisory Committee
  • only one unbound Thesis/Dissertation is required
  • on good quality white paper such as copier paper
  • black specks from copier machines should not be evident!
5 SUBMIT EXIT FORMS (Exit Forms can be picked up at GSBS, BSRB 3.8451.)


  • Alumni Form; Application for Degree; Digital Commons upload instructions; Exit Clearance Form


  • Alumni Form; Survey of Earned Doctorates; Digital Commons upload instructions; Application for Degree; Exit Clearance Form



The Request for Defense of the M.S. Thesis / Ph.D. Dissertation form is to be submitted to the Office of Academic Affairs (OAA; GSBS, BSRB 3.8451) no less than ten (10) working days prior to the date of your defense. We need time to include your seminar announcement in GSBS Essential.  

In addition to the completed Request for Defense form, you must submit a one-page abstract of your research project.

You are encouraged to submit the abstract electronically, either as an e-mail attachment or as a file on a diskette. Most PC-compatible word processing formats are acceptable.  


The following excerpt from the Policies and Procedures Manual describes the defense:

"The purpose of the defense is to provide a consistent and complete evaluation of the thesis/dissertation and the student's understanding of the research, as well as the student's ability to report information to the scientific community in a well-organized and interesting form."

"Guidelines for the defense are as follows:

  1. The student will deliver a 45 to 60 minute public presentation, including a detailed description of the back-ground, rationale, material and methods, results and conclusions appropriate to the research. Following the presentation the student will respond to questions from the audience.
  2. Immediately thereafter, and at a location announced at the end of the seminar, the Supervisory Committee will examine the student on the thesis/dissertation. Any member of the GSBS Faculty who attends the public presentation may participate in the examination to the extent described below. Others wishing to attend must be approved by the Supervisory Committee.
  3. The student's Advisor will serve as moderator of the examination. The student will be expected to respond to questions from those attending on any aspect of the written thesis/dissertation or material presented at the seminar.

After the defense, the student will meet privately with the Supervisory Committee to discuss the results. Finally, the Supervisory Committee (in executive session, if desired) will determine what recommendation to make to the Dean and the Academic Standards Committee. The Committee may conclude that the student has passed, or it may require additional research, modifications to the thesis/dissertation, and/or another defense. Within one week after the defense, the results of this meeting will be communicated through the Office of Academic Affairs to the Dean and the Academic Standards Committee for their information and approval.

Within one week of the defense, any GSBS faculty member who has read the student's thesis/dissertation and has attended the defense may write directly to the Dean to provide an evaluation of the student's performance. In reaching a final decision on whether to award the M.S./Ph.D. or require further work and/or another defense, the Dean will take into consideration the recommendation of the Supervisory Committee and other comments received from GSBS Faculty. In particular cases, the Dean may solicit additional evaluations of the thesis/dissertation from experts in the field either within or outside the GSBS Faculty.

The decision of the Dean will be communicated to the student and the Supervisory Committee within one month of the defense."


After you successfully complete your defense, the next step is to submit your original, unbound thesis/dissertation to the Office of Academic Affairs for approval by the Dean. Specific instructions for writing the thesis are described in Instructions for Preparation of the M.S. Thesis/Ph.D. Dissertation

The Graduate School requires only one original version of your thesis/dissertation. We will bind the original and keep it in the GSBS library.

You are not required to provide copies of the thesis/dissertation to your Committee. It's a courteous thing to do, but the manner in which it is done often depends upon a student's financial resources. Some students go to Kinko's to have copies made and put into inexpensive binders, others go all out and get the leather-bound, gold-lettered variety. It's really up to you. The GSBS can bind additional copies for $8.20 each.


Once you've finished the final version of your thesis/dissertation, you must complete exit forms which must be picked up at GSBS, BSRB 3.8451; here's a list of them: