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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

Steps for Planning Your Defense

Get it on the schedule

Meet with your committee and determine a date and time. Some faculty travel extensively, so it is a good idea to start this process early.

Once you have a confirmed time, contact the Student Services Office. They will help in booking rooms for both the public and closed door sessions.

Tip: Some faculty travel extensively, so it's a good idea to start this process early. Room reservations can also be tricky depending on the time selected. The more notice you can provide, the more likely one of your top choices for rooms will be available.

Select a University Chair

Your chair must 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 one, 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.

Provide a Draft to Committee

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!

Submit your Oral Exam Form

Bring your University Oral Examination Form to the Student Services office (Gilbert 118 or via email) at least 2 weeks before your defense. The Student Services Office will bring this back to you or your advisor at your defense.

Optional: Advertise

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.

Return your Oral Exam Form

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

Dissertation Submission

Submit Your Dissertation

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

Log Into Axess
Select Your Final Reader

This is 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.

Submit Signature Page

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 committee members only present for the defense.

Upload and Submit

Upload and submit your dissertation.

This video that will walk you through the upload process.


Submission Deadlines

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

Autumn Quarter 2021 – Friday, December 7, 2021 at 12:00pm
Winter Quarter 2022 – Friday, March 19, 2022 at 12:00pm
Spring Quarter 2022 – Wednesday, June 4, 2022 at 12:00pm
Summer Quarter 2022 – Friday, August 27, 2022 at 12:00pm

Be sure that you also apply 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.