Defense & Dissertation

Note: Often, in fact nearly always, the student pursues defense and approval of the dissertation during the same term as s/he intends to graduate. However, this is not required; the student may complete the requirements outlined below and then apply to graduate in the following term. An Application to Graduate is not a prerequisite for the Application for Final Examination, but the results of the Report on Final Examination and Report on Final Document must be received by the Graduate School for a student's Application to Graduate to be honored with the conferral of a doctoral degree.

Application for Final Examination

The student must submit an Application for Final Examination by means of the Graduate School's on-line system, GradForms.osu.edu. To submit this form, the student must 1) determine the Final Examination Committee and 2) establish a Final Examination date with your committee members. If you wish to attend Commencement in the term for which you applied to graduate, this exam date may be no later than the third Friday before Commencement (all such date references below include the Friday of Finals Week).

Committee membership

The Final Examination Committee is to be made up of

  • the student's MSE faculty advisor,
  • at least two other MSE faculty of category "P"
  • (optionally) other OSU faculty of category "P"
  • (optionally) people from outside the MSE / WE dept. may also be included on this committee. If they are to be voting members, the student must submit a Committee and Examination Petition through GradForms.osu.edu. Please include the prospective committee member's resume/CV with your request. Please submit this petition at least three weeks in advance of the exam to permit time for approval/denial.
  • If there is any change in the committee's membership after submission of the Application for Final Examination, the student must submit a Committee and Examination Petition through GradForms.osu.edu before the committee meets.

Final Examination date

The Application for Final Examination must be submitted via GradForms.osu.edu at least three weeks prior to your Final Examination date and no later than the sixth Friday prior to Commencement.

  • Please set a date with your committee and then reserve a room and time with the staff in 143 FL. Available rooms include 184 WA, 145 FL, and 177 WA.
  • The exam must take place during normal university business hours and may start no later than 3:30 p.m. (so that the exam may end within business hours).

Dissertation draft

A complete, hard-copy draft of your dissertation is to be reviewed by a Graduate School staff member for compliance with established Graduate School formatting rules. This formatting review will be done while you wait.

  • Important: the draft of the dissertation must be provided to your MSE committee roughly a week before the form is due, i.e., the sixth Friday prior to Commencement. This allows the committee members to review the document and, by posting their approval of the student's Application for Final Examination via GradForms.osu.edu, confirm that the draft is worthy of proceeding to final defense.

Once the Application for Final Examination is approved by all committee members, two on-line "tasks" are assigned to your committee members via GradForms.osu.edu:

  • the Report on Final Examination and
  • the Report on Final Document

Both become available to your committee members in GradForms.osu.edu following Graduate School approval of your Application for Final Examination.

Also at this time the Grad School will find a Graduate Faculty Representative to take part in your Final Examination. The Graduate School will e-mail you directly with the faculty member's name and department. You must provide to this person a copy of your dissertation draft as soon as you receive this name (so s/he has time to review the document).

---ITEMS BELOW ARE PART OF THE OLD SYSTEM AND NEED TO BE UPDATED--

The Final Oral Exam

The Final Oral Examination tests originality, independence of thought, the ability to synthesize and interpret, and the quality of research presented. The Exam concerns principles and historic perspective as well as data and includes but is not limited to discussion of the dissertation. The examiners often pursue lines of thought and argument from the data and concepts that have contributed to the research and to its critical evaluation by the student.

The Exam lasts approximately two hours. A presentation of the dissertation research by the student is allowable. At least one hour of the two-hour examination period, however, must be allotted to discussion of the research and to questions of and answers by the student. [ref. Graduate School Handbook]

The Exam is to take place during normal university business hours and may start no later than 3:30 p.m. Public announcement of the Exam is to be posted by the student roughly one week before the Exam. This may be accomplished by posting fliers by the elevators in both Watts and MacQuigg. The flier may be very simple, listing the student's name, dissertation title, advisor, date, time, and location of the Exam.

Final Oral Exam Report form

The Final Oral Exam Report form is taken into the defense by your advisor and is signed by the committee members upon completion of the defense. This form must be submitted to the Graduate School by no later than 4:30 p.m. on the fourth Friday prior to Commencement. At this point, the Final Oral Exam Committee may suggest changes to be made to your dissertation before their final approval is given by signing-off on the Final Approval form. You then have at least one week before the final version of your dissertation must be submitted to OhioLINK.

Electronic submission of dissertation

All Ph.D. dissertations are required to be submitted electronically--i.e., in PDF format--through the state's library network, OhioLINK (etdadmin.ohiolink.edu). Hard-copy final approved dissertations are no longer submitted (though a hard-copy draft is to be submitted for formatting review to the Graduate School prior to any electronic submission).

  • Preparing your dissertation
    Graduate School "Dissertation and Theses" instructions Instructions regarding margins and formatting as well as procedures for electronic submission, including a tutorial on how to convert a document to PDF and add multimedia to the document. The Graduate School also provides information on workshops, FAQs, thesis templates, sample pages, and more.

The Electronic Thesis / Dissertation (ETD) is different from its paper predecessor in a few important aspects. First, it provides a technologically advanced medium for expressing your ideas. You may prepare an ETD by using nearly any word processor or document preparation system and by incorporating relevant multimedia objects. Second, it is less expensive for you to prepare. By creating an ETD, you avoid the requirement of submitting multiple copies on special paper. Third, ETDs promote greater access to your research. ETDs are made available to anyone that browses the web. They consume virtually no library shelf space, and never collect dust. Overall, ETDs contribute to worldwide graduate education and unlock the underutilized results of graduate research for the scholarly community.

Your dissertation should be uploaded by at least two full business days prior to the third Friday before Commencement. This allows a minimum amount of time for Graduation Services to be notified by OhioLINK that your dissertation has been uploaded, perform a formatting review, and contact you to confirm receipt.

Final Approval form and other final requirements

Once your Dissertation Committee is satisfied with the state of your dissertation, you are to convert your document into PDF format and upload it to OhioLINK.

OhioLINK then informs Graduation Services (in the Graduate School) that your final dissertation is ready for format review. After this review you will be e-mailed by Graduation Services to provide the following no later than the third Friday before Commencement:

  • the Final Approval form, signed by dissertation committee members,
  • a Commencement Absence form, if not attending Commencement,
  • fees (check with the Graduate School for exact costs):
    • for microfilming the dissertation
    • for the Ph.D. hood
    • Ph.D. robe (if attending Commencement)--this may be obtained at the OSU Book Store (Central Classrooms Building) or Barnes & Noble (Gateway Plaza) and may be rented or purchased. Please contact the Graduate School for pricing (292-6031).
  • completion page from Survey of Earned Doctorates. Complete on-line survey at: http://survey.norc.uchicago.edu/doctorate

Important timing note: Since the above list is to be submitted by the third Friday before Commencement, you should upload your dissertation two full business days before this Friday deadline). This allows at least a minimum amount of time for Graduation Services to be notified by OhioLINK, review for formatting, and contact you to supply the items above.

And you're done! Review the MSE / WE dept. exit procedures below

Summary of Commencement deadlines

The following deadlines apply if the student wishes to attend Commencement in the semester requested. Commencement occurs on the Sunday following Finals Week; all dates below include the Friday of Finals Week.

If you do not wish to go through Commencement you must provide a "Commencement Absence Form" (PDF, 92K) to the Graduate School.

  • Application to Graduate form: to be submitted to the Graduate School by the third Friday of the semester.
  • A nearly-final draft of the dissertation is to be submitted to your committee members on or around the seventh Friday before Commencement so that the members have time to review the document in order to sign the Doctoral Draft Approval / Notification of Final Oral Examination form.
  • Doctoral Draft Approval / Notification of Final Oral Examination form: to be submitted to the Graduate School no later than the sixth Friday before Commencement.
  • Dissertation formatting review: to be done at the Graduate School when the Doctoral Draft Approval / Notification of Final Oral Examination form is submitted (review is done while you wait).
  • Final draft of dissertation to Final Oral Exam committee: no later than the fifth Friday prior to Commencement (i.e., at least one week prior to the Final Oral Exam). This is to include the Graduate School Faculty Representative.
  • Final Oral Exam: no later than the fourth Friday before Commencement. The exam must occur during normal university business hours and may start no later than 3:30 p.m. However, keep in mind that a Final Oral Exam may last roughly two hours. The Final Oral Exam Report form is to be submitted no later than 4:30 p.m., unless prior arrangements have been made with the Graduate School's Graduation Services Office (292-6031).
  • Final Oral Examination Report form: to be submitted to the Graduate School no later than the fourth Friday before Commencement by 4:30 p.m.
  • Finished & approved Electronic Thesis / Dissertation (ETD) submission: submit to OhioLINK no later than the third Monday prior to Commencement.
  • Final Approval form: to be submitted to the Graduate School no later than the third Friday before Commencement by 4:30 p.m. Keep in mind, though, that students often find the need to edit/re-write portions of the dissertation in light of discussions during the Final Oral Exam. Time to make such revisions, and re-submit the final document to OhioLINK, should be taken into account. It is not until these changes have been made that the Final Approval form may be signed by the Final Oral Exam committee.
  • Other final requirements: other miscellaneous items--such as abstracts, survey, and fees listed above--are to be submitted to the Graduate School no later than the third Friday before Commencement by 4:30 p.m.

Download Graduate School deadlines for submission (PDF, 36K) Dates assume that you wish to attend Commencement in that semester.