Dissertation Checklist Sample Schedule

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.

Checklist for Doctoral Students

  • Obtain copy of a departmental handbook or other documents outlining specific program requirements from the graduate program director and review these documents.
  • Complete the prerequisite/deficiency requirements early in the program. If applicable, request the advisor to submit a letter to the Graduate School stating prerequisite/deficiency requirements noted in the admission letter have been completed.
  • Select a major professor.
  • Select topic for the dissertation research in consultation with the major professor.
  • Select a supervisory committee. A minimum of four graduate faculty (including the major professor) who are approved members of the KSU Graduate Faculty, one of whom must be from outside the program, serve as the supervisory committee. Check with the major professor or department to determine if there are departmental or program requirements regarding composition of the supervisory committee. If a faculty member from another university is selected, a vita is required.
  • Prepare a program of study in consultation with the major professor and supervisory committee. Review Information for Doctoral Candidates. Note the program of study form can be downloaded from the Graduate School website. The program of study should be submitted after completing 9 hours of graduate credit.
  • Schedule a meeting with the supervisory committee to discuss the following: language requirements (if any), program of study, preliminary examination, residency requirement (if any), courses, and dissertation topic. Obtain supervisory committee's signature on the approved program of study. It is suggested to provide a copy of the proposed program of study to the supervisory committee prior to the meeting.
  • Submit to the Graduate School the original and 1 copy of the approved Program of Study signed by all members of the supervisory committee, the major professor, the department head or the graduate program director, and the student.
  • If changes need to be made to the Program of Study at a later date, submit the Program/Committee Change form to the KSU Graduate School. This form can be downloaded from the Graduate School website.
  • Preliminary Examinations and/or Qualifying Examination-Written & Oral Preliminary Examinations should be scheduled a minimum of 7 months prior to date of graduation. The majority of your coursework should be completed. Check with the department or major professor to determine when to schedule the Preliminary/Qualifying Examinations and for further information.
  • Submit Request for Preliminary Examination Ballot to the Graduate School at least one month prior to the date of the examination(s). Note: Required form is available on the Graduate School website.
  • Submit the signed ballot to the Graduate School within one week following the completion and determination of the results of the examination. Retain a copy for personal file and give one copy to the major professor.
  • Enroll continuously for the Fall and Spring semesters after passing the preliminary examination. If living more than 30 miles from Manhattan, you should contact the Graduate School for enrollment information. NOTE: Check the date of completion of the preliminary examination.
  • Approval of Proposal. Follow specific departmental guidelines for preparation and presentation, if applicable for the proposal. Follow departmental timelines for submission of proposal to the supervisory committee.
  • Obtain approval form from Institutional Review for Use of Human Subjects and/or Animals, or other compliance requirements, if applicable, prior to collecting data. Please Note: If using human subjects or animals you will have to go through the Training and Educational Modules for Researchers. This is mandatory for IRB approval. Please see the University Research Compliance Office for more information and to complete the training modules.
  • Collect and analyze data.
  • Write dissertation following departmental guidelines and formatting specified by the Graduate School. 
  • Contact the outside chairperson who was selected by the Graduate School to serve as the chair for your final examination (defense) to determine available dates to schedule the defense. This contact should be made at least a month before the possible defense date.
  • Provide members of the supervisory committee a copy of the dissertation a minimum of 10 working days prior to the scheduled defense.
  • Submit the Approval to Schedule Final Examination form signed by the major professor, department head or graduate program director, all committee members, and the outside chair to the Graduate School 10 working days prior to the examination. Note: You must be enrolled the semester you defend your dissertation. The number of hours needed for enrollment will depend upon your employment status with the University. A copy of the abstract and abstract title page should also be submitted at this time. The Graduate School will send an email message to you whether or not the degree requirements have been satisfied. Note: Deadlines to graduate each semester are on the Graduate School website. If you do not graduate the same semester in which you defend, you must still maintain continuous enrollment in the fall and spring semesters and in the semester you graduate.
  • Complete KSIS Graduation Application.
  • Submit the final examination ballot to the Graduate School after signatures of the Supervisory Committee and outside chair have been obtained. Retain one copy for personal file and give one copy to the major professor.
  • Make revisions to the dissertation based on feedback obtained from the committee. Work closely with the major professor in preparing the final copy of the electronic dissertation.
  • Submit ETDR (electronic theses/dissertations/reports) final electronic submission ballot to the Graduate School after major professor's signature has been obtained.
  • Complete the online questionnaires, surveys, and K-State Alumni Association information. Complete the Survey of Earned Doctorates.
  • Pay appropriate fees to the Cashier's Office in Anderson Hall.
  • If attending commencement, deadlines and information about the event are available on the Graduate School website.

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