Thesis, Final Defense, and Graduation
Thesis, Final defense, and Graduation
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Until this gets fixed, visit
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The Duke Graduate School has rigid rules regarding
the thesis, final defense and graduation.
These are best understood
described in reverse chronological order,
starting from the successful conclusion of graduate school:
YOU are responsible for planning ahead (with appropriate timing) for
all of these steps.
- The Ph.D. degree is officially conferred at one of only
three official graduation dates:
- May (after the spring semester)
- September (after the summer semester)
- December (after the fall semester)
- The final version of the dissertation (approved by the defense
committee, with all corrected completed within thirty days of the
final defense or by the submission deadline date [whichever comes first])
must be turned in by the
Graduate Degree deadline dates for the desired degree conferral
dates. The final defense should be scheduled at least one week before
the deadline date.
- Some revisions of the thesis are often requested at the defense.
- Upon completion of the defense and approval of the thesis,
some paperwork must be completed:
The DGS must also sign the exam card, before doing that the DGS will want:
- Committee members must sign thesis title and abstract pages
- Committee members must sign an exam card
Please bring these to the DGS-Assistant to have a Dept copy made, and
afterward take these to the Graduate School building (on Campus Drive).
DO NOT put these in the campus mail!; they can get lost and will
need to be re-done, walk them over yourself!
- AT LEAST SEVEN DAYS before the defense, the following
must be completed:
- Copies of the most up-to-date version of the
dissertation MUST BE given to all committee members for
them to read. (AT LEAST 7 days ahead of the defense ...
some committee members might request more time)
- A public copy of thesis is put in the department lounge.
- AT LEAST TWO WEEKS before the defense (earlier if close
the degree deadlines), the most up-to-date version of
thesis must be submitted for the
dissertation submission" (format check).
This must be done before scheduling
an appointment to pick up the final examination paperwork!
- See the Grad School webpage on
Electronic submit of theses and
Guide for electronic submission (PDF)
- Your advisor must send a brief email to the Graduate School indicating
their approval of the readiness of the thesis for defense. The message
should state that:
"I have read the [thesis/dissertation] of ________________________________
and it is complete and ready to defend."
Send to Krista Moyle, firstname.lastname@example.org
- The initial submission for the format check is NOT the finalized
version; it is understood that some changes/additions may still be
happening, but this version at least
has the overall structure and most of the contents to be
put in the thesis.
- DGS signs approval on the
public announcement of the final defense (date/time/room, committee
members, thesis title)
and the Graduate School approves the defense.
- Select a date for the thesis defense with the professors on your
committee. At most one committee member (not the chair) may be
tele-conferenced, everyone else must be physically present.
See the DGS-Assistant to reserve a room for the exam and have an official
public announcement of the exam posted and sent to the Graduate School.
- Students must file an
Apply for Graduation Form for the graduate school in the
If the defense is delayed, this form must be re-submitted!
- no later than January 25 for a May degree,
- no later than July 1 for a September degree,
- no later than November 1 for a December degree,
- no later than one month prior to defense,
- no earlier than the beginning of the
semester in which they will defend their thesis.
- The default committee for the thesis defense is the committee
from the preliminary exam.
Any requests for changes to the
committee MUST BE APPROVED by the Graduate School
based on a committee approval form to be filed by the DGS
AT LEAST 60 DAYS BEFORE THE DEFENSE
- Students must be registered for the semester during which their
defense will take place: fall, spring, or summer-full.
- Students must have completed all of the Graduate School's
Ph.D. Requirements before the Ph.D. degree can be awarded.
Most major among these are:
- The process connected with the final thesis defense.
- Passing the Prelim exam
- RCR: 12 credit hours on Responsible Conduct of Research
- EIS: English for International Students (as appropriate)
For further information or other questions,
contact the DGS!