Doctoral Degrees

During Degree Program

Step 1: Submit Plan of Study (deadline by completion of 18 credits)

Submit an approved Plan of Study to the Office of the Registrar no later than the completion of 18 credits.

Step 2: Submit General Exam

See Doctoral Degree Programs for more information about degree requirements and graduation information. Be sure to submit the required paperwork below by the published deadline on the Academic Calendar:

Step 3: Defend prospectus

Submit the following form to the Office of the Registrar after successfully defending your prospectus: Dissertation Proposal

Final Semester

Planning for Defense and Graduation

Important Reminders

  • Details concerning requirements are outlined in pages 18-20 in the Graduate School Catalog.
  • Students’ oral defense of the dissertation can be either virtual or in-person.
  • The oral defense of the dissertation must be announced publicly by means of the University’s online Events Calendar at least two weeks prior to the date of the defense (See Step 6).
  • Not fewer than 5 members of the faculty, including all members of the candidate’s advisory committee, must participate in the final examination (either virtually or in-person).

Step 4: Apply to Graduate (deadline by 4th week of final semester)

Students who are candidates for graduation must apply to graduate through the Student Administration System. Apply to graduate by the fourth week of your final semester for each degree you are completing (or the spring semester for summer graduates). You can apply to graduate once registration for your last semester opens up. The Degree Audit section of the Office of the Registrar will then determine whether all degree requirements will be satisfied by the end of your final semester.

For more information about using the system to apply for graduation, see Apply for Graduation.

Step 5: Check name and address

Please verify the spelling, capitalization, and punctuation of your name and the accuracy of the address where your diploma should be sent two months after conferral in the Student Administration System. For instructions, see Verify Diploma Name and Address on Graduation Status Page.

  • Your Degree Name will be printed on the diploma. Degree Name must share the same last name as your Primary Name. Changes to last name require official documentation submitted to the Office of the Registrar.
  • The mailing/billing address is where diplomas will be mailed unless a separate Diploma Address has been designated. Diplomas are mailed approximately two months after conferral, so the address should be appropriate for that timeframe.

Diplomas reprinted due to incorrect name or improper address will incur a cost for replacement. Please note there may be implications if the name on your diploma differs from the name in your record, such as an inability to verify your degree, or change in licensure or VISA status.

Step 6: Prepare for oral defense (Two weeks prior to oral defense)

Your advisory committee will need to review your dissertation prior to your defense. Be sure to format your dissertation (see Dissertation Information for detailed specifications).

You and your advisory committee determine the date when you are ready to defend your dissertation. As you prepare for the oral defense of your dissertation, please follow these instructions:

Announce oral defense

Announce your oral defense in the UConn Events Calendar at least two weeks before the date of your defense. Be sure to follow the posting guidelines below. Announcements submitted that do not follow the posting guidelines will be rejected.

If there are difficulties encountered, please email with details of the problem.

  1. Go to
  2. Fill in the following fields as indicated below:
    • Set Submit to Calendar: as Graduate School – Theses and Dissertation Defenses.
    • Enter your name and UConn email address.
    • Event Title: Enter Doctoral Dissertation Oral Defense of (Dissertator’s Name).
    • Date and Time: Set the appropriate date and time of your defense.
    • Brief Event Description: Enter the title of your dissertation here. Be sure to indicate your doctoral field of study. An additional 1-2 sentences about your thesis or dissertation are welcome.
    • Event Contact Information: Please include your name and contact information should someone want to contact you about the event.
    • URL: A pertinent link is welcome, but not required.
    • Campus: Please select the campus where your oral defense will be held.
    • Location: Select the building where your oral defense will be held from the dropdown menu.
    • Room Number or Location Detail: Please include the room name or number where your oral defense will take place.
    • Event Type: Do not check any of these boxes.
    • Audience(s): Select: Faculty, Graduate Students, Undergraduate Students
    • Attach an Image: Please do not submit an image.
  3. Click on the Submit Event button to submit your announcement.

Step 7: Submit final paperwork (deadline published on Academic Calendar)

See Doctoral Degree Programs for more information about degree requirements and graduation information. Be sure to submit the required paperwork below by the published deadline on the Academic Calendar:

Step 8: Submit dissertation

After you successfully complete your defense, your committee may require further revisions of your dissertation. Once you have completed all necessary revisions and have final approval, you are ready to prepare the final copy of your dissertation for submission (see Dissertation Information section below for details).

  • Submit ONE electronic copy of your dissertation to Submittable. Follow the instructions found in the Submittable help file.
  • Effective May 9, 2016, a printed copy of the dissertation is no longer required to be submitted.
  • To ensure efficient degree auditing of student records at graduation time, please be sure you have already submitted a Doctoral Plan of Study, a Report on the General Examination for the Doctoral Degree, and a Dissertation Proposal for the Doctoral Degree to the Office of the Registrar. Review your transcript and make sure grades are posted for all courses listed on your plan of study including dissertation research credits. Any discrepancies cause delays in graduation.
  • Your electronically submitted dissertation will be reviewed by the Office of the Registrar administrator for format compliance and you will receive notification if any revisions need to be made. Once the dissertation is approved by the Office of the Registrar administrator, your dissertation will be posted to Submittable and will be publicly viewable on the web according to the embargo period you selected. You will receive notification via email of the posting. You will not be able to make changes or revisions to your dissertation submission after it has been approved and published in the Doctoral Dissertation Collection of UConn’s Submittable.

Step 9: Check email to confirm progress of steps to graduation (By end of final semester)

You should receive emails during and after your final semester:

  • indicating that your degree has been awarded, and
  • notifying you once diplomas are mailed out.

Changing graduation term

Students who have applied for graduation who later determines that they will not complete their requirements by the graduation deadlines due to incomplete grades, a change in their defense date for a dissertation, or a change in the final exam date can contact their degree auditor ( through the Degree Audit section in the Office of the Registrar to discuss future deadlines and to determine if enrollment is required for the next semester.

Close-out (3-4 weeks after conferral)

Three to four weeks after conferral, the graduating class will be closed out; all degrees will be posted by this date to qualify for graduation.

Dissertation Information

IMPORTANT NOTE: Your dissertation is a publication reflecting the results of your research and academic pursuits; it is a direct representation of you, your research, and your department. Once approved for publication in the time frame you selected, your dissertation is available for the access you have specified. It is the responsibility of the doctoral student and the student’s advisory committee to assure that the dissertation is of ready-to-publish appearance and quality.

Dissertation Specifications

Use this properly formatted dissertation sample for guidance.

  1. Abstract: An abstract is required. The body of the abstract may not exceed 350 words in length. Please see the sample in the required formatting link above.
  2. Minimum Margins: The minimum acceptable margins for all pages of the dissertation and the abstract are 1 inch on left and 1 inch on the top, bottom, and right.
  3. Font and Point Size: Recommended fonts include Arial, Times New Roman, and Helvetica with a point size of either 11 or 12.
  4. Print: Print should be clear, clean, and dark with no shadows or stray marks.  Remember to remove tracking changes.
  5. Spacing: The text of the dissertation should be double-spaced. Long quotations, footnotes, appendices, and references may be single-spaced.
  6. Photographs and Graphics: Photographs, graphics, and scanned images in the dissertation should be high quality. The use of color is acceptable.
  7. Use of materials copyrighted by others: Any material included that goes beyond “fair use” requires written permission of the copyright owner. See specifications on Submittable. It may be useful to include these in the dissertation as an appendix.
  8. Pagination: Preliminary pages (the title page, optional copyright page, acknowledgments, table of contents, and the like) are to be numbered consecutively using lower case Roman numerals.  The title page number may be suppressed. All pages of the text, appendices (if any), and references must be numbered consecutively using Arabic numerals. The abstract is not paginated. Page number locations should be consistent throughout the document.
  9. Landscape pages: The top of a landscape page should be at the left margin and the bottom at the right margin. The page number is to be in the same relative position as on the portrait pages.
  10. Sequence of the main components of the dissertation: The appropriate order of the major sections of the dissertation follows: the abstract, the title page, the copyright page (optional), the advisory committee page, acknowledgments, table of contents, the text, appendices (if any), and the references. The order of the appendices and the references may be reversed if the appendices are lengthy.
  11. Footnotes, Endnotes, and References: The format that is accepted in your discipline or that is prescribed by your advisory committee should be followed.
  12. Photocopied journal articles in the dissertation: When appropriate, photocopied articles already published in journals may be included in a dissertation. Photocopying must conform to the margins noted above. An original letter from each journal, granting permission for the inclusion of the photocopied article in the dissertation is necessary to assure that there are no permission issues or violations of copyright. In requesting a letter of permission, it is important to tell the journal that Submittable will be posting the dissertation to third party search engines. The journal usually will require that the journal be the first publisher of the article. Please retain a copy of all permissions granted for your personal file.

Final Review

The dissertation title must be consistent on all pages. Double check your dissertation prior to submission for grammatical errors, punctuation, capitalization, and spelling. Look for appropriate conversion of symbols and fonts and verify that graphs and charts meet expectations.

The Office of the Registrar does not edit for content, spelling, or grammar. Please consult your advisor and committee for specific content requirements in your field of study. Proofreading is the responsibility of the student and his or her advisor. Committee members attest to acceptability when they sign your Approval Pages.

Use your full legal name on the abstract, the title page, the copyright page (if appropriate), and on the approval page. These pages must be formatted according to the samples in the required formatting link above. Please make certain that your name and title appear exactly the same way in all places.

Please take a moment to check that all pages in your dissertation are accounted for and are in the proper order when submitting the electronic copy to Submittable. The Graduate School will not accept dissertations that do not comply with the specifications.

Prior to entering into the publishing agreement with Submittable, discuss embargo periods with your major advisor. Each department may have specific suggestions for the author designated embargo periods and agreement with your major advisor should be made in advance. Available options for the embargo period are: 0 or no embargo requested, six months, one year up to 10 years.

Some graduate programs may have additional requirements regarding the format of dissertations. Students should check with their major advisor and/or graduate program director concerning any such program requirements.

Why does my defense date not appear on my transcript?

Your defense date is significant, but it does not indicate that you have completed all the requirements. You may still have revisions and final approvals to obtain. The date you submit the completed dissertation and approvals to the Office of the Registrar is your completion date. Refer to Academic Calendar for specific submission deadlines for each conferral period.

How can I have personal copies of my dissertation bound?

For personal copies of your dissertation, contact the following services:

Graduation FAQs

How do I submit my paperwork?

Completed signed forms for Doctoral programs should be emailed as a PDF file to or  Original, scanned, or electronic signatures are accepted.  It is recommended students complete the forms and email their advisory committee as a whole and request they reply all their approval with copied in.  Doctoral forms required for submission can be found using the Forms section of the Registrar’s Office webpage.

Please refer to the Submitting your Dissertation section for information about that process.  The Dissertation Approval Page is a webform that routes to your committee for approvals. Once the final committee member has approved the page it will be routed to the Degree Audit office.  You do not need to submit an additional approval page document.

The Dissertation Tentative Approval Page and working copy of the dissertation are no longer required to be submitted to the Office of the Registrar.  If your advisory committee requires a copy of the dissertation before your defense, please email it to them directly. 

Keep copies of all documents for your records. All members of a student’s advisory committee must provide an original signature in one of in the above ways however, signatures may be on different pages or come from multiple faculty emails. 

Does the Registrar’s office need a copy of my Dissertation?

Other than the electronic copy you upload, no additional copy needs to be submitted.

What’s my Completion Date?

The completion date signifies the point at which a student has been separated from active status at the University. For Spring and Fall semester graduates, the University conferral date will also represent the completion date, provided all degree requirements are completed by necessary deadlines. Graduates completing during the summer will have a completion date determined by the submission of their final approved paperwork and/or completion of their enrollment. As students are no longer eligible to work as graduate assistants after their completion date, students should coordinate the end date of any summer employment with the submission of their final paperwork.

For students completing prior to the end of the Fall or Spring semester an alternate completion date can be requested upon submission of all final paperwork and completion of your academic engagement. Students should typically only request an alternate completion date if enrolled solely in research credits or independent study credits for the semester. Please note, if enrolled in a class that will not have completed and had a grade posted prior to the requested completion date, then an alternate completion date may not be possible. An Alternate Completion Date Request form must be submitted to the Graduate School for approval for International students or those with Graduate Assistantships.

Final paperwork approved and submitted past the posted deadline, but prior to 10th day of the Fall or Spring semester, requires no additional enrollment by a student. Students who choose to self-enroll but submit final documents for graduation prior to the 10th day are still responsible for any tuition/fees incurred.  Submission after the 10th day of Fall or Spring semester will require enrollment for that semester.

What fees am I required to pay?

There are no additional fees. It is an added benefit to submitting your dissertation electronically to Submittable.

Is there anything else I need to do?

Yes, please be certain to apply online through your Student Administration System account for graduation early in the semester or summer in which you expect to complete all degree requirements. Verify that all required documents including the dissertation proposal have been submitted and approved at least two months prior to your defense date. The courses and requirements listed on your plan of study should be accounted for in your transcript and all grades should be posted. Contact your major advisor or instructor regarding grade discrepancies, incomplete or missing grades including dissertation research credits. Other changes or adjustments to your plan of study should be submitted on a Request for Changes to Plan of Study form prior to submission of your dissertation

When will I see my degree posted to my transcript?

Once the dissertation is submitted, each student’s individual record must be audited for compliance to degree requirements and fulfillment. Errors or discrepancies not previously addressed must be resolved by the major advisor and student through documentation. It is a detailed process where errors delay completion. Once the audit is satisfactorily completed, your degree will be conferred, and you will receive a degree completion letter from the Dean of the Office of the Registrar. At this point, conferral of your degree will appear on your official transcript.