Dissertation Review Checklist

1. Advance to Candidacy and Apply to Graduate

Master's students must file an application for advancement to candidacy no later than the first day of the quarter in which they plan to graduate.  Candidacy forms can be found on our Petitions & Forms page. 

It is expected that PhD students will have completed their oral qualifying exam and advanced to candidacy prior to filing the dissertation.

PhD and Master's students must also submit a separate graduation application through R'Web by Monday of week 4 of the quarter they plan to graduate. See our Graduation Procedures page for specific deadlines and instructions.

2. Review the Format Guide

Reviewing the format guide is the first step in preparing your manuscript for submission.  It explains all aspects of the submission and graduation requirements.  Please read it carefully and review the sample pages.  Your preliminary pages must match the samples.  Microsoft Word and La Tex templates are also available to assist you.  

For additional formatting help and information, including templates and samples, visit Filing Resources.

For additional information about copyright and fair use in your dissertation, visit Copyright Resources.

3. Attend a Format Workshop

The Graduate Academic Affairs office holds workshops each quarter, typically in week 5, to help students understand the requirements.  Check your R'Mail for announcements. Past workshop presentations can be found on our Filing Resources page (right hand column at the bottom).  Attending a format workshop is not required for graduation, but it is highly recommended.

4. Review the Deadlines

The last day to file is typically the last business day of the quarter.  Deadlines for the current year are posted on our Graduation Procedures page. The final version of the dissertation/thesis and all additional paperwork, including the original completed Signature Approval page and Final Defense form, must be submitted by 12:00pm on the deadline date.

5. Submit the Dissertation/Thesis for Format Review

Every student planning to file and graduate must submit a dissertation/thesis for format review at least two weeks prior to the final filing deadline.  The format review is uploaded via the ProQuest ETD website.  Please complete all the required screens and SUBMIT your document online.  For additional information visit our ProQuest ETD FAQ page.  Graduate Division staff will review your submission and identify any formatting issues.  We will communicate with you via email regarding necessary changes to the document.  If a second upload is required, you will be notified once the formatting has been approved and no further changes are needed.  This is an important step to ensure your document is ready by the final filing deadline.

Please do not be concerned that submitting this rough draft to ProQuest will result in it being published.  You will have the opportunity to submit a final version.  The Graduate Division staff will submit the approved and final version to ProQuest once all graduation procedures are complete.

Many of your questions may be answered by visiting our ProQuest ETD FAQ page.

6. Participate in a Final Defense and Get Signatures of Approval (Form 5)

If your program requires a final defense, you must submit proof of its completion to the Graduate Academic Affairs office in the Graduate Division by the final filing deadline.  If your final defense has been waived, you must submit proof of that as well.  The graduate program coordinator in your academic department can assist you with the Form 5 (Report of Final Examination) for PhD students or the Report of Final Defense for master's students.  The approval of your final defense is separate from the signature approval page in your dissertation.

7. Get the ENTIRE Committee to sign the Signature Approval Page

The signature approval page is a critical part of your final document.  On this page, your committee gives their final approval of the written dissertation/thesis.  Please make sure to allow enough time to obtain all the signatures prior to 12:00pm (noon) on the final filing deadline. All committee members must sign on the same signature page.  Graduate Division will NOT accept signature pages that do not have all members' "wet" signatures on the same page.  Be aware of your committee member's schedules and plans to accommodate this requirement!  This form will be submitted on paper directly to the Graduate Academic Affairs office in the Graduate Division, University Office Building 140.  The signature approval page in your digital dissertation/thesis will be blank without signatures.

8. Complete any Additional Paperwork

In addition to the Final Defense form and Signature Approval page, PhD students are expected to submit two exit surveys and the Acknowledgment of Previously Published Material (if applicable). Both surveys can be completed online. Master's students will submit the Final Defense form, Signature Approval page and the Acknowledgment of Previously Published Material (if applicable). All additional paperwork is due by 12:00pm on the submission deadline.

A complete list and links to the paperwork can be found on our Filing Resources page.

9. Submit the Final Version of your Document on or before the Deadline

After uploading your dissertation/thesis for a format review to the ProQuest ETD website, you will receive an email from the Graduate Academic Affairs office. The email will include a review of the requirements for graduation and final submission. You should receive the email within 24 hours.  If you do not receive this email, please check your junk email folder or contact Graduate Academic Affairs.

Complete any changes requested in the format review and by your committee.  When the document is complete, return to the ProQuest ETD website to submit the final version of your dissertation/thesis.  When logging back in, choose the "revise" option. Once you submit the final version, you will not be permitted to make additional changes to the document.

Please be aware of all filing deadlines to be sure that you file your dissertation/thesis document, the signature page, and the final defense form in plenty of time to meet the deadline for the quarter in which you expect to receive your degree.  Deadlines are strictly enforced.

For information about what happens to your document after submission, visit our ProQuest ETD FAQ page.

10. Submit the Post Graduation Dissertation/Thesis Submission Survey

About one month after you have completed the requirements for your degree, you will be sent an electronic survey asking your opinion of UCR’s dissertation/thesis resources and submission process. Please consider participating in this survey in order to help the Graduate Division improve the system for future students.

11. Participate in the Commencement Ceremony

Students wishing to walk in the commencement ceremony must be eligible and verify an intent to participate.  Information for graduate students regarding Commencement and the requirements for participation can be found on our Commencement Information page. The main UCR Commencement page has information about the schedule of ceremonies, tickets, and much more.

Need Help?

Any questions you may have regarding the filing and graduation process can be directed to the Graduate Academic Affairs office.  You may call 951-827-3315, email amanda.wong@ucr.edu (A-L) or trina.elerts@ucr.edu (M-Z), or drop by our office in Room 140 of the University Office Building.


Important Links

ProQuest ETD Website - http://www.etdadmin.com/ucr

ProQuest and Submission FAQs - http://graduate.ucr.edu/ETD.html

Additional Paperwork, Samples, Formatting Assistance and Workshops - http://graduate.ucr.edu/filingresources.html

Copyright and Fair Use Information - http://graduate.ucr.edu/copyrightresources.html

Graduation Procedures and Deadlines - http://graduate.ucr.edu/graduation.html

Petitions, Forms and Handbooks - http://graduate.ucr.edu/pub_forms.html

UCR Commencement - http://commencement.ucr.edu

Graduate Division Commencement Information - http://graduate.ucr.edu/commencement.html


Follow this checklist as you progress through each step of your dissertation process!

Getting Started

  • Complete a sample schedule to include with your prospectus
  • Review the Graduate School's Degree Completion Deadlines for the term you intend to defend
  • Review, bookmark, and print the dissertation section of your EDLD doctoral manual and the Graduate School's Dissertation Overview

Committee, Prospectus, Proposal, Human Subjects

Establish a Committee

  • Within 30 days after advancement to candidacy, email the names and positions of your committee to the department Student Services Coordinator
    NOTE: Students cannot defend their dissertations any earlier than six months from the time the committee is approved by the Graduate School.
  • Check the Graduate School's Degree Completion Deadlines and count six months back in order to determine your final committee deadline. Build in ample flex time for unexpected delays.

There is no comprehensive list of all faculty members who are eligible to serve as outside members. However, students can log in to GradWeb and look up faculty members by name or department to see if they are eligible.

  • It is possible for EMPL faculty to nominate a non-UO employee to serve on a committee. Please talk to your advisor or the Student Services Coordinator about this procedure. Note that this process can take several weeks.

After your dissertation committee has been received, your committee information will be entered into Grad Web for Graduate School review. If your committee members change, you will need to notify the Student Services Coordinator as soon as the member changes have been approved by your chair. Changes to the committee must be made in writing. If the chairperson is changed and approved by the Grad School, the six-month waiting period before defending starts over from the new date of approval.


Completing the prospectus is a multiple draft process. See the prospectus section in the DISSERTATION DETAIL for important instructions.

Prospectus Example

Your final prospectus needs to be reviewed by your chair. Your chair will need to approve your prospectus before other committee members receive a copy of it.


  • Print and review the Significant Steps and Strategies for Organizing a Dissertation Proposal Meeting
  • Complete the proposal approval form. Print out this form and bring it to your proposal meeting, then return the signed form to the Student Services Coordinator. Be sure to include ALL your committee members in the proposal approval process, even fifth members. Your chair will need to approve your proposal approval before other committee members receive a copy of it. You should send your proposal to your committee members at least one week prior to the proposal meeting.

Proposal examples: 1|2 |3 |4|5

  • Schedule the proposal meeting

Room Options:

EMPL Conference Rooms (Lokey 102G or 102K)
Contact Denise McKenney at 541-346-5011 or mckenney@uoregon.edu

Hedco 230T
Contact Merdeces Rathswohl at 541-346-7695 or mercedr@uoregon.edu 

Human Subjects

  1. Human Subjects packet
  2. Original proposal approval form (signed by committee)

If you have any questions about the IRB forms or process, contactResearchCompliance@uoregon.edu.

Preparing to Defend

The beginning of the term before you intend to defend:
  • Confirm with your Committee Chair that you will be ready to defend the following term.
  • Check your GradWeb “Advancement Report” (link provided to you by the Grad School when they notified you of your official Advancement to Candidacy) to be sure that you have now (or will have, by the time you finish) MET both the residency and post-bac requirements. If your records do not agree with this report, please contact the Graduate School directly.
  • Discuss and confirm a date and time with all of your committee members.
    **In addition to the chair and the student, at least one core member must physically attend the defense. With the approval of the department and committee chair, others may waive physical attendance at the defense. See Waiver of Attendance instructions and Oral Defense Procedures.
  • Reserve a room for your defense (See room options and reservation contact information under Proposal instructions, above).
  • Update your Planned Program to exactly match your transcript, showing successful completion of all requirements. DO include the credits that you will be taking in your final term, with the grades field left blank. Meet with your Chair/Advisor to be sure that all requirements are met and that there are no “Incompletes” (other than EDLD 603 Dissertation credits*) remaining on your transcript. 
    *Dissertation credits will remain listed with grades of “Incomplete” until successful defense, at which time, they will automatically be changed to “Pass” by the Graduate School. Other “Incompletes” cannot be cleared after you have graduated.
    --Be sure that the final Planned Program is signed by both you and your Advisor
    --Email a copy of this document to the Student Services Coordinator, along with an announcement of your intention to defend the following term
  • Submit a Course Preauthorization Form to your Academic Advisor / Chair to register for your final term for at least 3 credits of EDLD 603 Dissertation (A minimum total of 18 dissertation credits are required).
  • Submit final copies of your dissertation to all committee members AT LEAST 5 weeks before your defense.
As soon as those dates, times, and locations are set, or at the latest by the deadlines set by the Graduate School:
  • Apply for Advanced Degree with the Graduate School.
  • Apply For Final Oral Defense.
  • Track the status of your committee members’ having logged in and confirmed their attendance at your defense, to ensure that everyone does so in time to meet the Grad School’s deadline listed above.
  • Need special equipment?  Check with the Hedco Learning Commons or Media Center staff.
  • Use this waiting time to prepare for the College of Education’s Commencement in mid-June, order regalia, etc.
  • Your Chair will be sent a Certificate of Completion from the Grad School a week before your defense, via campus mail. 
Day of your defense:
  • Arrive 30-60 minutes before your defense, to allow yourself to set up the room and equipment to your requirements, and to settle in.
  • Many people bring some kind of snacks and/or beverages for their guests.
After your defense:
  • After a successful defense, the committee signs off on the Certificate of Completion, and Chair forwards this to the Student Services Coordinator for the Department Head’s signature, copies for the student file, and delivery to the Graduate School. You do not need to do anything with this form.
  • You will likely be given some revisions to make by your committee. Please allow ample time for your Chair to carefully review the final draft and sign off on the Thesis/Dissertation Submission Form and Document Approval forms in time for you to upload your completed and approved dissertation BEFORE the Graduate School’s stated deadline.
  • Take a wonderful, well-earned vacation as you wait for your degree certificate to be mailed to you (approximately eight weeks after the end of the term of completion).

NOTE: Students are responsible for staying informed about, and complying with, departmental regulations as well as Graduate School regulations.

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