Final Defense Information

  • Review the School of Graduate Studies Publication Guide and attend a thesis/dissertation review information session
  • Review the School of Graduation Degree Completion page
  • Meet with your GPC
    • Review your official degree and plan type ensure they are correct in Banner
    • Review your official committee to make sure that it is correct (NO committee changes can be made within 6 weeks of the final defense)
    • Review your file: are your SCAF, POS, and TPA or ACDD forms approved and accurate?
    • Discuss how many credits you need for the semester of defense
    • Discuss departmental thesis/dissertation review procedures and timeframe
  • Determine when you need to have your degree in hand
    • Work with your Major Professor and committee to determine a timeline for thesis/dissertation completion
  • Review the Format & Style form and Authorship & Copyright form
    • Discuss the ownership of data and authorship rights with your committee
  • Register for correct number of credits
  • Meet with your GPC
    • Conduct a final review of your official forms to make sure they are correct
    • Discuss any departmental requirements
    • Discuss how the defense room is reserved
  • Work with your committee to determine the date and time of your defense
  • Submit your thesis, Plan B paper, or dissertation to each committee member at least one month prior to your defense date
  • Reserve a room
  • Submit your Appointment for Examination at least 10 BUSINESS days prior to your defense
    • Check on the progress of approvals on your AFE, follow up with GPC and/or committee members to make sure it is approved in a timely manner
    • If the Appointment for Examination is not fully approved before the date of defense, the defense is not official, and will need to be rescheduled
  • Breathe
  • Any final defense held without following the proper procedures is invalid
  • All defenses are public
  • You must be registered for at least 3 credits the semester of defense (to be considered full time at 3 credits, a Full-Time at 3 credits form must be approved).
    • If all credit requirements on an approved Program of Study are met, you may qualify to register for 1 credit in the semester of defense. Registering for 1 credit will not qualify you for full-time (i.e. you cannot be on an assistantship and will NOT be considered “full-time” or eligible to defer repayment of some student loans.).
    • International students should check in with the Office of Global Engagement when making decisions on the number of credits needed.
  • Your Supervisory committee cannot be changed in the 6 weeks prior to defense.
  • All committee members must attend the defense at the date and time registered with the School of Graduate Studies
    • Up to 1 member of a Master’s committee or up to 2 members of a doctoral committee may participate remotely (i.e. via Zoom or Skype).
  • No committee member should agree to proceed with a defense until they have carefully read and approved the thesis, dissertation, or Plan B paper
    • If the paper is not ready to be defended, notify the Major Professor and student, then reschedule the defense
  • The student should be informed of the defense results at the conclusion of the defense
    • The Major Professor or designated committee member should inform the GPC of the results of the defense as soon as possible
    • The GPC will then submit the Record of Examination in ServiceNow, and the committee will verify the results of the defense
  • Plan A and Doctoral students should review the Thesis/Dissertation requirements, Plan B students should review the Plan B Report/Creative Project Submission requirements
  • Once an Appointment for Exam has been approved by the committee and Graduate School, any changes to the date, time, and/or location require the submission and approval of a new Appointment for Exam.
  • If it is not possible to schedule a time when the student and all committee members can be physically present for the final defense, it is allowed for up to 1 member of a Master’s committee or up to 2 members of a Doctoral committee to participate remotely.
    • Please note: the student and all committee members must be participating at the time of the defense.
  • If the defense is not successful, the student will need to schedule a redefense and will need to be registered for the semester of redefense.
  • If there are any questions about the requirements for defense, please contact your GPC.

Defense Deadlines


 Fall 2019Spring 2020Summer 2019
Defense (Doctoral, Master's Plan A, B)December 13April 29August 9
Degree Completion (Doctoral, Master's Plan A, B)December 13April 29August 9
Mater's Plan C notification to SGS from GPCOctober 21March 1July 1
Degrees awarded byJanuary 27, 2020June 14September 23