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Stage 2 of the Thesis Process: Departmental Approval

Obtaining approval of your thesis from your adviser, committee members, as well as your departmental thesis reviewier is a critical step in the process. As you prepare to defend and complete your thesis, familiarize yourself with the steps needed to obtain departmental approval of your thesis and ways to help make the next stage of the thesis process go smoothly.

Apply for graduation

All graduate students must apply for graduation by the deadline for their intended graduation period (May, August, or December). To apply for graduation, register your intent to graduate via Self-Service by clicking on the "Graduation" tab and following the on-screen instructions. If you are unable to apply for graduation using Self-Service, contact your department.

Note: There is no penalty for applying for a particular graduation period and then not depositing by the deadline. However, your name will not be automatically rolled over to the next graduation list. You will need to reapply for graduation.

File your title page with the Thesis Office

Before proceeding further, be sure to take a moment to email your title page to the Thesis Office. This is not required, but it is a quick and easy step that helps the Graduate College to prepare for your eventual thesis submission and will allow us to streamline our review of your departmentally approved thesis.

Submit Your Title Page

Note: At this point, the Graduate College does not record your thesis title, which may change as needed until your Thesis/Dissertation Approval form has been signed. It is unnecessary to notify the Graduate College of a change in thesis title after the title page has been filed.

Review thesis release options

The Release Options page details the options for making your thesis available. Review these options carefully early to allow time to make your decision, consider the visibility of your research and impact of disseminating your work, and consult with your adviser or research best practices in your discipline.

Get ready to defend your thesis

Master's students

For the master's thesis, the Graduate College does not require a defense. Master's students should check with their departments to find out what the program requirements are for a master's defense and committee.

Doctoral students

Doctoral students should submit their committee appointment request through the Graduate College Student Portal at least 3 weeks before the scheduled date of the final examination (defense) to initiate the process of committee appointment. All doctoral examination committees must be appointed by the dean of the Graduate College. Each committee must meet the minimum requirements for doctoral committees established by the Graduate College. Departments may have additional requirements.

Doctoral students are required to be registered during the entire term in which the final examination is held. Further information about this registration requirement may be found in the Graduate College Handbook.

For each graduation period, there is a final examination deadline by which the doctoral defense must be held.

Obtain departmental approval

Departmental approval of the thesis or dissertation consists of two parts:

  • Adviser/Committee
  • Thesis Reviewer

Adviser/committee approval

Adviser/committee approval is indicated by the signed Thesis/Dissertation Approval (TDA) form. Because revisions requested by your adviser or committee may cause a change in pagination or format, you should only submit your thesis to the departmental thesis reviewer after all revisions have been approved. Work with your department on completion and submission of the TDA form.

Departmental thesis reviewer approval

After you have obtained adviser/committee approval, you will need to submit your thesis to your department's thesis reviewer, who will ensure that the format of your thesis meets any departmental requirements. All departments have an assigned thesis reviewer. If you are unsure who the thesis reviewer for your program is, you should check with your department or the Thesis Office.

Upon completion of the departmental format review, the thesis reviewer will notify the Graduate College that your thesis has been approved. The Thesis Office will not begin its review of your thesis until we have received notification of approval from your departmental thesis reviewer.

Note: Only after you have completed all revisions and corrections requested by your adviser/committee and your departmental thesis reviewer are you ready to proceed to Stage 3 of the Thesis Process: Graduate College Approval.