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Graduate School

Graduate Students: Memo from the Dean

March 26, 2020 | Dean Cheryl L. Addy

Graduate Student Progression:


To facilitate completion of degree requirements for graduate students anticipating May graduation, the Graduate School has approved several accommodations, primarily related to thesis/dissertation defenses and submissions.


Various deadlines related to defenses and submissions are extended for the spring semester:

  • April 17: Format Check Deadline for Thesis/Dissertation
  • April 24: Defense Deadline
  • May 8: Final Submission Deadline for Thesis/Dissertation

Because of the campus closure, any thesis/dissertation defense must be completed in a virtual format.  The student and committee can plan public and private components to the defense but the public seminar is not required for the duration of the campus closure. 


An oral examination outside of a defense can also be completed in virtual format, but since these are less likely to be critical to May graduation, we encourage deferral if possible.


Because of the virtual format, we recognize the challenge of obtaining original signatures. Please use these signature guidelines in preparing and submitting documentation for any student progression benchmark:


  1. If it is possible to get signatures and PDF a single form, that would be a top choice.
  2. Second place would be separate forms with signatures, again PDFs assembled and submitted.
  3. Third best, will need to be separate email confirmations from committee members that include all identifying information:  e.g., 
  • Name of Student
  • Department/program of student
  • Title of document (e.g., thesis or dissertation title)
  • Date of defense
  • Statement affirming that the committee member supports a "Pass" for the student
  • Identifying information fo the committee member's name, title, and role (e.g., rank, department, inside/outside member)

The chair of the committee will need to submit a copy of the cover sheet with all of the ‘official’ information for Graduate School records. All materials should be submitted electronically to the Graduate School Coordinator contact for your program.  Do not send materials in US mail or campus mail.

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