Thesis Submission Procedure

ONLINE SUBMISSION: Please use the new OnBase system to submit manuscripts and forms.


The following is a general outline for preparing a thesis or dissertation for approval by the student’s department and The Graduate School.

Before Defense

  1. Plan a schedule for the research and writing of the thesis or dissertation with the chair of the supervisory committee.
  2. Consult the Thesis Handbook and your supervisor with questions about style guide selection, the use of figures, the use of copyrighted materials, and other aspects of manuscript preparation.
  3. Begin formatting your manuscript according to the handbook. When you have a chapter or more completed, you may opt to submit what you have done to the Thesis Office for a “preliminary review” at any time before the defense. The manuscript will not be processed at this time for graduation, but it will be examined for obvious errors in University format. After the defense, manuscripts cannot be submitted for a preliminary review.
  4. Submit the thesis or dissertation to members of the supervisory committee. The chair must receive a copy at least 3 weeks before the final oral examination. The other members of the committee must receive a copy at least 2 weeks before the oral examination. Some departments require more than 3 weeks; check with your chair. 
  5. Defend the thesis or dissertation at a public oral examination scheduled and announced by the committee. The defense should be scheduled early enough for the student to make any changes requested by the committee and to still submit the departmentally-approved manuscript to the Thesis Office for approval at least 2 weeks prior to the closing date of the semester (see the Calendar on The Graduate School website for specific dates). All graduate students must be registered for at least one course from the time of formal admission through completion of all requirements for the degree they are seeking including the defense, unless granted an official leave of absence.
  6. Make any changes to the manuscript that the committee may require after the oral defense. 

After Defense

  1. Within 2 weeks of the successful defense date, submit a PDF copy of the approved manuscript through OnBase following the directions on this page. Refer to the Thesis Office calendar for target dates. Students should submit their manuscripts for review as early as possible to ensure graduation in the semester during which they submit.
  2. Signatures from the supervisory committee and the department chair are gathered electronically through the OnBase system. Students will enter their committee members’ UNIDS and emails with links to the approval forms will be sent automatically for the committee members and department chair to sign. The signature of the dean of The Graduate School is given later in the process, after the final manuscript is approved by the Thesis Office editor.
  1.  It is the responsibility of the student to ensure that signatures come in from their committee members and department chair in a timely manner. Students will receive confirmation emails as signatures are submitted. Students should track these emails and follow up on any missing signatures directly with their committee.
  2. Manuscripts remain in a holding queue until the department chair and the majority of the committee members have signed the electronic forms.
  3. Once these signatures are received, the manuscript will move into the working queue. Approved manuscripts are reviewed by editors within 2 business days. They  are processed in the order in which they are received. 
  4. Based on this review, students will either
    1. be approved to upload the manuscript to ProQuest for publication
    2. be given written guidance regarding changes required to address minor compliance issues with format specifications or required documentation (e.g., table of contents errors, missing permissions documents,  etc.). The student will be required to resubmit the manuscript for another review once the minor formatting changes have been implemented
    3. be informed of major compliance issues (e.g., margin or spacing errors, incorrect table or figure placement, or extensive grammar and punctuation deficiencies). A more comprehensive review with specific recommendations will be returned to the student, the committee chair, and the department chair within 5 business days of the original receipt.  This occurs only when the manuscript is dramatically out of compliance with formatting requirements and best practices. When a revised manuscript is re-submitted following this in-depth review, the process will begin again, and the submission will enter the queue again as a first submission. 
  1. Students will correspond with their Thesis Office editor regarding any necessary changes to the manuscript. 
  2. When all formatting and documentation requirements have been met, the student will receive Format Approval. 
  3. After receiving Format Approval, the student will be given instructions for uploading a PDF file to ProQuest/UMI. The final manuscript should be uploaded as soon as possible, but no later than 2 days before the end of finals week. Refer to the Calendar on The Graduate School for specific dates.
  4. If the final manuscript is satisfactory, the dean of The Graduate School signs the Final Reading Approval form and a Thesis Release is issued. All processing of the manuscript must be completed by the last day of the semester for graduation in the semester.
    1. If a Thesis Release cannot be issued by the closing date of the semester, the student will need to reapply for graduation for the next semester. The diploma is also dated at the end of the graduation semester but the student may obtain an earlier Statement of Degree Completion from the Office of the Registrar.

Statement of Degree Completion

A Statement of Degree Completion may be obtained from the Office of the Registrar after the Thesis Release is issued if the student’s file is complete in the Graduate Records Office and all grades have been recorded for the Application for Admission to Candidacy (for master’s candidates) or the Program of Study (for doctoral candidates). The Statement, which may be used in place of the diploma, shows the month of graduation and the date all the requirements for the degree were completed. Diplomas are mailed to students by the Office of the Registrar approximately 3 months after the closing date of the semester of graduation.