Thesis Defense and Deposit

The oral thesis defense, at which the candidate presents the results of thesis research, is the last requirement for the Ph.D. degree. The examination is conducted by the student's thesis committee and is open to the public.

The Thesis Committee

The final examination committee is usually made up of the same faculty members as the student's prelim committee (if a change in committee is needed, approval must be secured from the Associate Head for Graduate Programs). It is the candidate's responsibility to contact each member of his or her doctoral committee and to schedule a date and two-hour time slot for the final defense that all of the committee members can attend. The Physics Department Graduate Office must be notified at least three weeks in advance of the date scheduled for the defense. Committee members must receive a final copy of the thesis at least two weeks before the exam.

Scheduling the Thesis Defense

To schedule your defense, you will need to use the Grad College Student Portal. You may want to watch the ~10 minute video you can find here to see how to submit this request (scroll down to the video on "Submitting a FER Form"). The Physics Grad Office will be asked to approve this process once the petition.

To process the petition, you'll need to provide the names and roles (Director of Research, Chair, and Member) of your committee members, and the time and date of your defense. Once you have this information, you can start the petition process via the link above. The Grad Office can reserve a room for you once we know the time and day of your defense. An email will be sent to the student and the committee members officially confirming the date, time and location.

Some of the rooms used for final defenses have overhead projectors in them. However, some do not. It is the student's responsibility to ensure that all necessary equipment is reserved ahead of time. If a projector or other A/V equipment is needed, arrange for its loan and return with Physics staff in Room 231/233 Loomis.

Depositing Your Thesis

After your defense and once you've made any final changes and additions to the thesis (e.g., typo corrections, etc.), you must first submit the thesis to the Grad Office for the departmental review. It should take no more than a day to do the departmental check.

Once the review is complete, the Grad Office will submit your Dissertation Approval Form to the Grad College and let you know that you can submit your thesis to the Grad College. Information about submitting your thesis to the Grad College can be found here. It generally takes the Grad College a few days to review a thesis and they often have some minor requests for changes that don't take too long to implement. Once you've submitted any changes the Grad College wants you to make to your thesis, the Grad College will give you a final approval of your deposit.

Requesting Degree Certification

After your thesis has been successfully deposited to the Grad College, you can request a degree certification letter from the Grad College. You can read about these details here. The Grad College will want you to complete a couple of doctoral exit surveys before confirming final deposit

Putting Yourself on the Degree List

Before you can graduate, you need to put yourself on the degree list using Student Self-Service, clicking on the Graduation link, clicking Apply to Graduate, selecting the appropriate graduation semester, then clicking Submit.

Graduate Admissions Contact

S Lance Cooper

Lance Cooper
Associate Head for Graduate Programs
227 Loomis Laboratory
(217) 333-3645

Have questions about the admission process?
Read through the Admissions pages or contact us.


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