Dissertation & Defense

What follows is a summary of the many interconnected tasks and deadlines necessary to graduate with a PhD.  More information may be found in the Bulletin, the official policy document of the Graduate School. Also see the Graduate School's information on theses and dissertations.

Student To Do List

  1. Familiarize yourself with the various deadlines and required paper work.
  2. Ensure that you have satisfied the Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) requirement of 4 forums beyond the entering orientation.
  3. Your advisor must must email The Graduate School a letter confirming that the thesis is complete and ready to defend (gradacademics@duke.edu).  This letter must be in the form of PDF attachment (email text is no longer accepted).  Contact the DGSA for an easy-to-fill-in template.  The letter must be received 30 days before the scheduled defense.  Please cc the DGS and DGSA (phd-program@math.duke.edu).
  4. Prepare Dissertation utilizing Duke Graduate School Thesis and Dissertations formatting requirements.  (Link to templates including LaTex)
  5. Confirm your committee with the DGSA at least 30 days prior to the dissertation defense. If your committee has not changed, you must send an email to gradacademics@duke.edu notifying them that your thesis committee remains unchanged. If your committee will change, notify the DGSA at least 30 days before the dissertation defense.
  6. Select a date for the dissertation defense. It is strongly recommended that you schedule this with your committee at least two months in advance.  Zoom defenses and remote participation is allowed but please confirm with DGSA. Inform the DGSA of date, time, and location of defense
  7. Submit your dissertation for format checking. Again visit the Graduate School website for the exact deadline for initial submission of electronic doctoral dissertation. 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.''
  8. 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 two weeks before the defense. Some committee members may request more time, so consult with them early to learn their requirements.
  9. A public copy of dissertation should be available. Please send DGSA a pdf copy to post on the Departmental Intranet. 
  10. Defend your thesis. Make revisions to your dissertation in response to issues raised in the defense by the deadline for the final submission of your dissertation.
  11. Confirm with your committee that all exam forms have been received and filled. All forms are due before the deadline for final submission.
  12. Complete departure checklist and send in thesis poster materials. 
  13. Electronically 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 (which ever comes first).
  14. Please do all the above steps before leaving campus.