Steps To Graduation — Checklist



Ph.D. Students 

All Graduate School paperwork is due to the Graduate Office 3 business days prior to the Graduate School's official deadlines and these deadlines could be earlier than listed below so be sure to check them*  

Preparing for your dissertation defense

  • Check Graduation Deadlines
  • Apply for Graduation through Testudo by the first week of the semester in which you plan to graduate. (If you do not graduate this rolls over)  
  • Submit the Nomination of Thesis or Dissertation Committee Form to the Graduate Office during the first month of the semester in which you plan to defend; if you need to nominate a Special Member to sit on your committee, please fill out this Google Form at least 3 weeks before the deadline for submitting the nomination form.


Scheduling Your Defense: Rules & Processes

Graduate Office suggests defending no later than 2 weeks before the deadline to submit your final dissertation.

Please fill out the linked form with the requested information and email Erin or if you have any questions or concerns (failing to do this could result in the cancellation of your defense).  


Dissertation Seminar and Defense  

  • Provide a copy of your completed dissertation to your committee at least 10 business days before the defense.
  • Your committee should fill out the Graduate Outcome Assessment form 

Graduate Outcome Assessment-Dissertation Defense Evaluation (CHEM) 

Graduate Outcome Assessment-Dissertation Defense Evaluation (BCHM)

  • Student files and paperwork (finished or not) should be returned at the end of the meeting. Your advisor should NOT keep the paperwork.

Report of Examining Committee Signatures

  • This should occur no less than 3 days prior to the final Graduate School deadline
  • Finish all revisions to the dissertation and get final approval from your advisor and/or Committee
  • Remind your advisor to sign off the REC form
  • Check with the Graduate Office to see if your REC form is complete

Submit Defended & Approved Dissertation  

  • Submit the Final Dissertation to the Graduate School using ProQuest ETD by the Graduate School deadline
  • Students may place an embargo of up to two years on electronic access to their document through ProQuest's Digital Dissertations and DRUM without approval from the Graduate School
  • You may submit a Dissertation Embargo Request if you’d like to place an embargo that’s more than 2 years.

After submitting your dissertation:

  • Complete the Graduate School Surveys
  • Pay any balance on your student account  – required before you can receive your diploma.
  • Confirm your address is accurate in the UMD system
  • You are technically a student until the conferral date. You cannot move to a non-student appointment on campus until after that date, nor should you register for OPT to begin before that.
  • Fill this form to provide Graduate Office with your permanent contact information and any placement information.
  • If necessary, request a Certification of Completion letter from the Registrar’s Office. This is primarily used during the job search if you defend early in a semester and need to prove you are finished.
  • Register for CMNS Commencement (Mid-Semester, Fall & Spring). Check the CMNS website for Commencement information