Steps to Graduation

As students prepare to defend their PhD thesis, it is important to note that there are many deadlines to meet. Here we give a list of steps the students and/or their advisors must complete for a smooth process.

Specific Deadlines Each Semester

Every semester there are specific dates which are considered as deadlines before which specific things must happen for the student to be able to defend during that semester. Here is a complete list.

  1. Prior to a specified date every semester/term, students need to log into ACES and Apply to Graduate.
  2. Prior to a specified date every semester/term, students must submit their completed PhD thesis for a format check to the Graduate School.
  3. Prior to a specified date every semester/term, students must defend their PhD thesis.
  4. Prior to a specified date every semester/term, students must submit the final corrected version of the thesis.

These dates are listed on the graduate school website which is located here. Please contact the Assistant to the DGS if you are unsure or require more information.

IMPORTANT: If students fail to meet the above deadlines, they cannot graduate that term/semester and will have to pay the tuition remission for the following term/semester, complete the above process in the following semester and then graduate. It may be almost impossible for the Director of Graduate Studies to help since these rules are rather strict at the graduate school.

IMPORTANT: All members of the examination committee must be present at the defense. One member of the committee may participate remotely through a video conferencing. However, prior approval from the Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs at the Graduate School must be obtained. Inform the DGS/DGSA in a timely manner.

Two Weeks Before the Final Defense

There are many things that must occur two weeks before the defense

  1. The PhD thesis should be completed and ready to defend.
  2. Completed thesis must be submitted to the PhD thesis committee.
  3. If the preliminary exam committee will be the same as the PhD defense committee, the student should send an email to gradacademics@duke.edu stating that the their preliminary committee will also be the dissertation committee. If the committee will be changed, the DGS/DGSA should be informed of the change with clear reasons for the change.
  4. The advisor must send an email to gradacademics@duke.edu stating that he/she has read the thesis and that it is ready to defend.
  5. The student must submit the completed PhD thesis for format check to the Graduate School.
  6. Students must provide the Assistant to the Director of Graduate Studies the following information:
  • One page official Title and Abstract of the thesis in electronic form
  • Date of the defense
  • Time of the defense
  • Location of the defense
  • Members of the committee who will attend the exam
  • Member of committee (if any) who will connect in via Skype
  • The Assistant to the DGS must send an email to gradacademics@duke.edu announcing the defense which includes the information given above.
  • One day before the Defense

    1. The student must pick up the defense card from the Graduate School.
    2. The student must pick the assessment forms from the Assistant to the DGS.
    3. The student must print 2 copies of the required signature pages for thesis.

    The student should bring all the above materials to the defense.

    You can download a pdf file that is prepared by the Assistant to the DGS every semester from here.