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Dissertation Defense

The following steps are meant to help you begin thinking about your defense, dissertation, and eventually graduation.  Please contact the Student Services Office if you have any questions about the process or requirements.

Planning Your Dissertation Defense

  1. Meet with your committee and determine a date and time.

  2. Contact the Student Services Office and let them know of your defense date and time. They will help in booking rooms for both the public and closed door sessions.

  3. Select a University Chair. This has to be someone outside of the department who is an Academic Council member. Your Oral Examination Committee must have a total 5 members including the University Chair. If you need help finding a University Chair, your advisor and other committee members should be able to help. University policy regarding chairs and your committee can be found in the Stanford Bulletin.

  4. Deliver a draft of your dissertation to each of your committee members 30 days prior to your defense. Some committee members may prefer just an emailed draft, however others may prefer a paper copy so be sure to check on preferences of each of your committee members.

  5. Turn in the University Oral Examination Form at least 2 weeks before your defense. The Student Services Office will bring this back to you (or your advisor) at your defense.

  6. If you’d like the Student Services Office to create and post flyers for your defense, please send them a picture to use and your title 2 weeks before your defense.

  7. Following your defense, please turn in the University Oral Examination Form to the Student Services Office as soon as possible.

Submitting Your Dissertation

Registrar’s Office site for all dissertation information

The following needs to be done, in order, to complete the dissertation submission process:

  1. Go to the e-dissertation/thesis center in Axess (instructions for getting there are on the Registrar’s website)

  2. Select your final reader (often your advisor, but can be any Academic Council member on your committee).  They will need to log in to Axess and approve your dissertation before the deadline once you’ve uploaded your dissertation.

  3. Turn in your signed signature page and title page to the Student Services Center at Tresidder (see the guidelines PDF for formatting instructions).  Signatures must be actual ink signatures on acid-free paper.
    **Only your reading committee should be included on your signature page. Do NOT include your defense chair or any commitee members only present for the defense.

  4. Upload/Submit dissertation

This video that will walk you through the upload process.

Guidelines for formatting, etc.


The entire process must be complete and dissertation approved by the Registrar’s Office by the following deadlines:

Autumn Quarter 20-21 - Friday, December 7th at 12:00pm
Winter Quarter 20-21 – Friday, March 19th at 12:00pm
Spring Quarter 20-21 – Wednesday, June 4th at 12:00pm
Summer Quarter 20-21 - Friday, August 27th at 12:00pm

Also, be sure that you’ve applied to graduate in the quarter you’re submitting.  To file your application through Axess: Select "Apply to Graduate" from the drop down menu on the Student Center Academics tab and complete the entire application to graduate process.