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The PhD Checklist Heading link

One year before completion

  • One year must elapse between passing doctoral candidacy requirements and the defense of the dissertation.
  • If you intend to apply to academic positions, contact three (3) or more faculty to write a letter of recommendation on your behalf, and be ready to use Math Jobs.

One semester before you plan to defend

  • Send Associate Director of Graduate Studies your final degree checklist to confirm that all degree requirements have been met.
  • Confirm deadlines for filing the Intent to Graduate and for submitting the approved and defended thesis in the Graduate Aacademic Calendar for your desired graduation term.

At the start of the semester in which you plan to defend

  • File an Intent to Graduate at your account.
  • Review the Defense Committee Composition Guidelines.
  • Contact your thesis advisor to identify defense committee members and finalize the date of the thesis defense. A committee member can Skype into the defense if travel is not feasible. If you use this option please make sure to test your connection before the day of your defense.
  • Register for Commencement.

Thirty days prior to your thesis defense

  • Submit a completed Committee Recommendation form to the Graduate Studies Office at least 30 days PRIOR to the defense date. You must include the title of your paper, and this title CANNOT be changed once the Committee Recommendation form is submitted. Print the form, obtain your advisor’s signature, attach a copy of the outside member’s curriculum vitae, and submit to the MSCS Graduate Studies office. The Committee Recommendation Form MUST be typed, or it will be returned by the Graduate College.
  • Process your thesis through iThenticate, the university’s anti-plagiarism engine. Be sure to complete and submit the iThenticate report form as laid out in the iThenticate review instructions.
  • Contact the Main Office to reserve a room (two hours) for your thesis defense.
  • Plan to send a copy of your thesis to your committee members 2-3 weeks in advance.

A few days prior to your defense

  • Once your advisor receives your official paperwork for the defense from the MSCS Graduate Studies office, you or your advisor should email all committee members to remind them of the date, time, and location of the exam.

Immediately following your defense

  • Your advisor and all defense committee members should sign the Graduate College Exam Report Form in person or electronically. Then your advisor can send the signed form to, cc

Submitting your defended/approved thesis

  • Refer to the Graduate College website for instructions on the Electronic Submission of the Thesis.
  • As part of online submission, you will need to provide the email address of the MSCS Director of Graduate Studies who serves as the “program thesis format reviewer”. This email address is

Before graduation

After graduation