The student, in consultation with his or her advisor, will decide when the dissertation is ready for defense.
Students may defend in the fall, spring, or summer, for a January, May, or September degree, respectively. Please see below for the steps that must be taken during the semester in which the student plans to defend.
• At the beginning of the semester, the student must inform the Director of Graduate Studies, the Department Administrator, and his or her "core" dissertation readers that he or she plans to defend. The three "core" readers include the student's advisor and two other faculty members. Most often, the readers are the same individuals who served on the student's dissertation proposal committee.
• The advisor and student, in consultation with the DGS, must then select two additional committee members, for a total of five. * Please see guidelines pertaining to the makeup of dissertation committees at the bottom of this page.
• Once a committee of five is formed, the student should work with committee members, as early as possible (even before the beginning of the semester is preferable), to decide on a dissertation defense date. * It is important that this happen as early as possible, particularly if you have committee members who cannot be present at the defense. There are various forms that require original signatures from your committee members, so the earlier we know, the earlier we can be in touch with these people to start the signature process in time for various deadlines. At this time, the department strongly encourages that there be no more than 2 committee members Skyping in, so please consider this when selecting your 4th and 5th readers.
Ideally, the defense date should be at least several weeks prior to the GSASFinal Dissertation Deadline (available on the GSAS Academic Calendar). This gives the student an opportunity to incorporate any revisions suggested by the committee (during the defense) before the final deadline.
• The student must apply for the Ph.D. degree on Albert. Each semester, there is a deadline by which the student must do this. The deadlines can be found on the GSAS Academic Calendar, and are usually within a month of the beginning of a given semester.
• The student must prepare the preliminary dissertation copy in accordance with GSAS dissertation guidelines. Each semester (including summer), there is a GSASPreliminary Dissertation Deadline by which the student must submit his or her preliminary dissertation (or excerpts) to the GSAS Office of Academic and Student Life. These deadlines are also available on the GSAS Academic Calendar. It is highly recommended that you review the GSAS guidelines at the beginning of the semester. You will find that a) the dissertation must be formatted in a certain manner, which can be quite time consuming, and b) they require documents with original signatures as well, so you will want to prepare these in advance of the Preliminary and Final deadlines. The department is not aware of the details of the GSAS guidelines, so we will not be sending you reminders related to these. It is the student's responsibility to review and meet their requirements and deadlines. The department will, however, send reminders about department paperwork, guidelines, and due dates.
* The Department Administrator (cc'd to the Director of Graduate Studies) is your contact for questions and all matters regarding your defense, department guidelines and requirements (registration deadlines, the required "Reader Sheets" and "Oral Defense" forms (outlined below), forming your committee, setting the date for your defense, communicating with your committee, and anything else that happens within the department). Your contact at GSAS for questions pertaining to their deadlines and procedures is Cherone Slater (firstname.lastname@example.org). While you are responsible to reaching our to your committee to select a defense date, once you have narrowed it down, please begin cc'ing me on these communications so that I can make sure that there is space available and that the defense will not conflict with some other department event.
• Upon request (of faculty or students), the student must submit one copy of the dissertation to the department one month prior to the defense. The student must also make one complete copy of the dissertation available (electronic or hard copy) to all five committee members no later than one month prior to the defense. Your advisor, and ideally your core committee members, should be seeing your work regularly leading up to the semester in which you defend and the date of the defense.
Also on this date (one month prior to the defense), the student must submit three "Doctoral Thesis Reader" sheets to the Departmental Administrator, signed by his or her core readers. This sheet indicates that the committee member has read a dissertation draft and approved the dissertation for defense, which is why it is crucial that your core members have access to your writing as it progresses in the months/semesters before your defense. This form is available in the office of the Department Administrator or online, under GSAS Forms.
*For committee members who are not on campus to provide original signatures on this document (not applicable to the "Doctoral Thesis Oral Defense Form"), they may e-mail the Director of Graduate Studies and Department Administrator to verify that the dissertation is ready for defense and then sign the form at a later date or at the actual defense.
• On the date of the defense, the five committee members must sign the "Doctoral Thesis Oral Defense Form," indicating that the student has passed the oral dissertation defense. This form is also available in the office of the Department Administrator or online, under GSAS Forms. If a committee member cannot be present at the defense, the student and Administrator must communicate with this person so that he or she can mail a signed form to the department well before the final dissertation deadline. The three "Doctoral Thesis Reader Sheets" and the "Doctoral Thesis Oral Defense Form" are kept on file in the department, and the Department Administrator is responsible for submitting these to the registrar following the dissertation defense (by the Final Dissertation Deadline). All other paperwork is handled between the student and GSAS; GSAS is then responsible for submitting that paperwork to the registrar.
• Finally, the student must submit the final dissertation copy and other required paperwork, in accordance with GSAS dissertation guidelines, to the GSAS Office of Academic and Student Life. GSAS Final Dissertation Deadlines are available on the GSAS Academic Calendar.
According to University Policy, at least three of the dissertation defense committee members must be GSAS faculty members. Former GSAS faculty members (who have been gone for fewer than five years) are regarded as NYU faculty for the purpose of a dissertation defense. The Director of Graduate Studies must approve a committee with fewer than three department faculty members. The committee may have "outside" committee members (not on the NYU faculty at all), with the permission of the Director of Graduate Studies.
In order to be eligible for the degree, you must complete the Application for Degree (myUK / Student Services / myRecords / Application for Degree). This must be submitted by the deadline for the semester in which you intend to graduate. For the exact due date, see the University Calendar or the Graduate School Bulletin.
After consulting with your advisor, submit the Notification of Intent to Schedule a Final Doctoral Examination form a minimum of 8 weeks prior to the anticipated date of your final examination date. Upon receipt, the Graduate School will audit your file to make sure that all requirements to this point have been met, and will begin the process of identifying an outside examiner for your defense. Do not finalize a defense date with your committee before the outside examiner has been identified and has been consulted for their availability. You will be notified by email when your Outside Examiner has been assigned.
The final examination must take place no later than eight days prior to the last day of classes of the semester in which the student expects to graduate. Final examinations may not be scheduled during the period between semesters or between the end of the eight-week summer session and the beginning of the fall semester. Consult the University Calendar for deadlines on the scheduling of final examinations.
A Request for Final Doctoral Examination form should be submitted a minimum of two weeks prior to the specific date of the defense. At this time you should deliver a copy of the dissertation to your outside examiner (note that your committee and the outside examiner will probably want a paper copy of the dissertation for purposes of the final examination, but it can be in pdf format if all involved are in agreement). Dissertations must be received by your committee two weeks prior to your exam.
After your Final Examination, you have 60 days to submit the final copy of your dissertation to the Graduate School in pdf format (or less than 60 days if you want to graduate that semester and the semester deadline is sooner) and a completed ETD Approval Form [PDF] , signed by your advisor and Director of Graduate Studies. Off-campus students can scan the ETD Approval Form after signing it and forward electronically to the advisor for signature who in turn can pass it to the DGS for signature, and lastly upload to UKnowledge (Additional Files) as part of your ETD. The ETD Approval Form may be uploaded when you first submit the ETD to UKnowledge, or at a later time, and can be viewed in the Supplemental Content area. The ETD Approval Form will not be accessible to the public when the ETD is approved.
You are required to submit your thesis for a format check to UKnowledge (click here for ETD Submission Guide). Your thesis will be checked to ensure that it meets format requirements of the Graduate School. It is your responsibility to ensure that the ETD will display clearly and properly on a monitor when accessed, including working links so the ETD can be readily navigated (whether it is composed of a single or multiple files), that the printed pdf version will be clear and legible (including any figures or images), and that fonts have been properly embedded. We also require copies of any reprint permission letters and any required third party software licenses.
Final Submission checklist:
- Final submission of electronic dissertation via UKnowledge (see ETD Submission Guide for instructions)
- Confirmation page of the Survey of Earned Doctorates (link to survey will be sent to you in an email following your first submission to UKnowledge)
- ProQuest/UMI Dissertation Agreement form (sent to you in email noted in item above), pages 4-5 (page 6 is optional)
- ETD Approval Form [PDF] completed and signed
- Reprint permission letters and/or third party software licenses, if required
- All of the above items must be uploaded as Additional Files (Supplemental Content) to your ETD (see the ETD Submission Guide for instructions)
- Embargoes are now handled as part of the ETD Approval form
Checklist of common errors [PDF]
If you have any questions about this process, contact the Degree Certification Officer for your program.
The base dissertation fee is $74. Applicable fees will be determined by the Degree Certification Officer after the final dissertation is accepted by The Graduate School. The charge must be paid at Student Account Services, 18 Funkhouser Building or via myUK website. No diplomas will be released without payment of the applicable dissertation fees.
In order to register the dissertation copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office, the candidate must (1) sign and complete the Copyright Authorization statement page included with the ProQuest/UMI Dissertation Agreement Form; (2) pay the copyright fee of $65 (this copyright charge is in addition to the $74 dissertation fee); and (3) include a copyright notice in the dissertation.
Publishing the Dissertation
In addition to publishing your electronic dissertation on UKnowledge website, The Graduate School publishes dissertations through ProQuest/UMI, Ann Arbor, MI.
Survey of Earned Doctorates
The University of Kentucky Graduate School participates in the Survey of Earned Doctorates (SED), which is conducted each year by the National Opinion Research Center. It is required that doctoral candidates complete this survey as part of the final submission process.
Direct questions to the Degree Certification Officer for your program.