Final defense preparation

The steps leading up to your final oral defense and graduation are many. The rules are inflexible (for the most part). You need to understand the timelines in planning out your future!

Graduation review

If all credits on your plan of work have been registered for, then the next step is to take care of all Y grades on your transcript.

  • For CHM 8700 your advisor must email Erin asking that all grades be changed from Y to S
  • Check to make sure your seminar credits all have grades of S. If any still have Y grades, only the instructor of the seminar in the term you registered can change your grade. Contact them directly to ask them to change your grade from Y to S
  • For all CHM 999x courses, you don't have to do anything. The graduate school will change these grades when they certify your degree

Estimate your timeline for your final defense

You need to remember to build in time for your advisor to read and suggest changes before allowing your committee to read it. Your committee must also be done reading the document at least two weeks before your final defense. Important: So even if you only give them one week to read it, you must still be done writing and revising at least THREE WEEKS before your defense.


The Graduate School policy is that you must be registered for candidate credits (either CHM 9994 or CHM 9995) the semester that you defend. So once you have an estimate of your final defense date, make sure you are registered for that term.

Email with your name and id number and which course and term you wish to register for to get permission.

Apply to graduate

You do this in Academica: Resources > Student Resources > Student Record > Apply for Degree or Certificate

Choose the appropriate semester. Please note that there are final defense deadline dates posted on the Graduate School website. If you are not going to make the deadline for that term, you should select the next available term to apply for graduation.

Your first and best resource is The Ph.D. student area has three sections you want to review:

Visit Ph.D. forms for a complete list of Graduate School forms.

Deadlines leading up to your final defense

One to two months before your final defense

  • Your committee members are aware of your timeline and that they are available to schedule your final defense

Three weeks before defense – you have a dissertation that has been read and approved by your advisor.

  • Submit an electronic version of your dissertation to Melissa Rochon ( Students usually use PDF format
  • Distribute your dissertation to your committee to be read
  • Conferred with your committee to determine the final defense date and time
  • Make sure you have reserved a room. Email to reserve a room in the chemistry building

Two weeks before your defense

  • Obtain your committee members' signatures on final report form stating that they have read and approved your dissertation for final defense
  • Obtain all committee signatures on the Conflict of Interest Form
  • Submit forms with all signatures (Final Report and Conflict of Interest forms) to Melissa. She will obtain Dr. Kodanko's signature on the Final Report Form
  • Submit forms with all signatures will be submitted to the Ph.D. office of the Graduate School by Melissa
  • Submit your electronic dissertation to the Graduate School for a format check. Do not do this until you have received Melissa's email stating that Dr. Kodanko's signature is on the Final Report form. This indicates you have "passed" the departmental check
  • Create an announcement (sample) but it can look any way you choose as long as the same basic information is on the page
  • Email, and with the announcement as a PDF attachment
  • Email with the announcement information included in the text of an email
  • Mail the announcement through campus mail to the university offices that are required for public defense. See the labels you receive from Melissa. Give completed announcements with labels on them to the front desk (room 169) to be put in campus mail

The week leading up to your defense

  • Post announcement by elevators on all floors in the chemistry building
  • The Final Report Form and Examiners Report Form will be sent by email from the Graduate School in the week leading up to your defense

It is usually sent to your advisor and Melissa. Melissa will forward it to you in case you need a backup copy. If you haven't received it at least two days before your defense, please notify Melissa so she can get the forms from the Graduate School.

The day of your defense

  • Before: Bring about five copies of your title page to the defense with you for signature by your committee (if allowable). Confirm your advisor has printed and brought the Final Report and Examiners Report Form to the room to record the results
  • After: Ensure both forms are completed and will be returned to Graduate School within 48 hours (you may return to Melissa to complete this task)

Two weeks after your defense

  • Sign the Electronic Thesis and Dissertation (ETD) Permissions Form
  • All changes to your dissertation must be completed and the electronic version submitted to the Graduate School online in the same manner as the format check
  • All Graduate school surveys must be completed (three online) from the Graduate School Final Defense page:
    • Under the section, Procedures before final defense > Dissertation Title and Previous Degrees Form
    • Under the section, Procedures after final defense you will find the other two surveys: Survey of Earned Doctorates and Doctoral Student Exit Survey
  • Original signed title page delivered to Graduate School
  • Final dissertation (hard copy not bound) and original signed title page delivered to Melissa Rochon for departmental binding
  • The remaining title pages are for you to use in the case that you decide to get your dissertation bound for your advisor, yourself and/or family and friends
  • Chemistry Check-Out Sheet (PDF) completed and returned to Melissa Rochon

Announcement flyer

Criteria to include:

  • Title, e.g. Final Public Oral Defense for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy
  • Candidate's name
  • Advisor's name
  • Title of research
  • Date, room, location, and time

Sample flyer

Final public defense sample announcement. Title: Final Public Oral Defense for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy