1.  Schedule your dissertation defense date by emailing the graduate office at early in the semester to reserve the conference room and publicize your defense. All defenses are public and all are welcome to attend. You must be enrolled the semester you defend, no exceptions.
  2. When you know the date of your dissertation defense, please fill out the  Apply to Graduate form with the Registrar's Office. This form should be filled out regardless of the outcome of your defense.
  3. Review your GradPlan Progress and make sure you have taken all listed courses. Everything should be filled out except for the dissertation defense date (the Graduate Secretary will input that) and your official title for your dissertation. You are not able to fill in the dissertation title until the defense date has been put in.  This is the title that will appear on all records, so make sure it is correct and matches your dissertation!
  4. Once you pass your defense, you need to submit your dissertation to the Graduate School. Look at the Instructions for Electronic Submission (pay close attention to #2) and also look at the deadlines for submission. Those dates are for final approval, if you submit your paper that day it will not be approved and you will not graduate that semester. You must submit your paper at least 2 weeks prior to your given semester's deadline.
  5. Resolve any outstanding bills that might hold up your transcript or diploma.
  6. For more information about commencement, go to

Any questions about graduation or dissertation defenses can be directed to the Graduate Program Director Cathy Liu