Dissertation & Thesis Information

Preparing For Your Defense

Oral Defense Policies

While the content of a dissertation or thesis is the prerogative of the student and their dissertation/thesis committee, the oral defense committee requirements, deadlines and format is established by university policy and managed by the Office of Graduate Education.

Dissertation & Thesis Process

Step-by-Step Process

Dissertation Guidelines


  1. Please be sure you are referring to the Schedule of Deadlines for important deadlines regarding to your dissertation/thesis completion. The link to the Schedule of Deadlines is below.  
  2. Proposal programs reserve the right to determine the composition of the dissertation/thesis proposal committee. Check your department's student handbook to determine any unique proposal policies and guidelines. 
  3. The Oral Defense Committee is determined by university policy.

Oral Defense


  1. Submit the Oral Defense Committee Recommendation form to the Office of Graduate Education following your proposal and/or IRB approval but no later than the first day of the quarter you plan to graduate. Find form below.
  2. Submit the Schedule of Oral Defense form to the Office of Graduate Education no later then four weeks before your defense. Find form below. 
  3. Students must satisfactorily complete the oral defense at least three weeks before the end of the term in which the degree is to be awarded. View resources for a Virtual Oral Defense. 

Document Submission


  1. Submit the final approved copy of the dissertation/thesis to the University through ETD/ProQuest two weeks prior to the end of the term (please note that any revisions identified by your oral defense committee must be completed by this date). The final dissertation/thesis must comply with the formatting guidelines. Find the formatting guidelines, template, and submission instructions below.
  2. Following the submission of the dissertation or thesis to ETD/ProQuest, students will work with the Office of Graduate Education for formatting approval. Formatting must be approved by the last day of the term. 
  3. A dissertation/thesis may be considered "previously published" by some publishers if it is put into a searchable digital/electronic repository like ETD/ProQuest. Students have the option to restrict access to their dissertation or thesis. 
  4. Congratulations! You have finished your dissertation/thesis!  

Relevant Forms and Policies


Resources for a Virtual Oral Defense

The defense is expected to be held with the student and committee members being present in person.  However, if circumstances make it impossible for the student and/or committee members to be physically present, a defense with the student and/or faculty participating by conference call, webcast or other medium is allowed if agreed upon by the student, the dissertation director and committee members. 

View Resources
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2023 - 2024 Dissertation/Thesis Deadlines

View the Schedule of Deadlines for the 2023-2024 academic year.

View Deadlines
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Oral Defense Committee Recommendation Form

This form should be submitted to the Office of Graduate Education as soon as your proposal has been approved.

Download Form
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Schedule of Oral Defense

Four weeks prior to your oral defense, you must submit a copy of this form to the Office of Graduate Education and your department to schedule your oral defense.

Download Form
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Thesis and Dissertation Formatting Requirements

Review this comprehensive document for insight into formatting and arrangement requirements.

    View Requirements
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    Thesis and Dissertation Submission Instructions

    Follow these instructions to electronically submit your thesis/dissertation to ProQuest.

    View Instructions
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    Formatting Template

    The Formatting Template is a resource to help format your dissertation/thesis per the University's formatting requirements. 

    View Template

    2023-2024 Schedule of Deadlines

    View Now



    Writing Center

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    Need help writing your thesis/dissertation? Get the support you need at the Writing Center. Our skilled staff helps writers at all stages of the writing process in individual and group settings. 

    Writing Center


    Research Centers

    students working in research center

    Receive support from faculty and other on-staff research experts about best practices and executing a research strategy. 

    Research Centers