Dissertation & Defense

The process is not as complicated as it seems from the description here but there are many important interconnected deadlines.

Steps to Complete

  1. Prepare Dissertation utilizing Duke Graduate School Thesis and Dissertations formatting requirements.
  2. Apply for graduation.
  3. Submit your committee approval form. Even if your committee has not changed, you must again submit the committee approval form and do this 30 days before the dissertation defense.
  4. Select a date for the dissertation defense. It is strongly recommended that you schedule this with your committee at least two months in advance.
  5. Inform the DGS Assistant.
  6. Submit your dissertation for format checking. Again visit the Graduate School website for the exact deadline dates. The initial submission must take place at least two weeks before your defense and no later than 5:00 p.m. on the deadline date. The Graduate School website says that "Initial submission of the dissertation or thesis means that the document is complete.'' Your advisor must send a brief email to the Graduate School which states "I have read the [thesis/dissertation] of (student's name) and it is complete and ready to defend." Small changes in the content can (and probably will) be made after submission but all of the pieces must be there.
  7. Copies of the most up-to-date version of the dissertation must be given to all committee members for them to read. This must be done at least seven days before the defense. Some committee members may request more time, so consult with them early to learn their requirements.
  8. A public copy of dissertation is put in the department lounge.
  9. If someone is going to participate remotely, then contact the DGSA who will notify the Graduate School. The remote person will be sent a form on which they can record their vote.
  10. Submit the final version of your dissertation to the Graduate School. This must be done within 30 days of the final defense or by the submission deadline date.