Graduate Timelines for Thesis and Dissertation

Advising M.A. and Ph.D. students is among the most important responsibilities of faculty; reading multiple drafts of theses and dissertations can be extremely time consuming. Different advisors and committee members will have different preferences and work styles in terms of how many drafts they prefer to read and how much time they need to read and comment on each one.

It is the student’s responsibility to

    1) have appropriate and timely communication with advisors to make sure that the student is on track

The guidelines below represent the minimum amount of time students should give their advisor and committee to read and respond to drafts. If a number of students plan to defend during any given term, the advisor/committee members may ask the student to turn in work to them at an even earlier date. Those students who cannot honor these deadlines may be asked to defer graduation one term.

A “clean copy” means a draft needing only minor technical and editorial corrections, not one needing substantive revisions.

M.A. Thesis or Project

    1) Two terms before graduation, meet/correspond with advisor during first week of term to set up a committee and a schedule for submitting thesis or project drafts (i.e. first week of winter term if planning to graduate spring term).
    2) At least six weeks before the date of the thesis or project defense, submit a draft to main advisor for approval. The advisor is expected to return comments within two weeks. There will then be a continuing dialogue between the student and advisor until the manuscript is considered complete.

    If approval is not obtained at this point, there is no guarantee that the student will be able to graduate that term.
    3) Submit a clean copy of thesis or project to advisor and committee members either two weeks before defense or four weeks before filing date for approved thesis as published by Graduate School.

Doctoral Dissertation

    1) Two terms before graduation, meet/correspond with advisor and committee members during first week of term to coordinate student and faculty schedules (i.e. winter term if planning to graduate spring term).
    2) At least six weeks before the date of the final oral defense, submit a complete draft to main advisor for approval. The advisor is expected to return comments within two weeks. There will then be a continuing dialogue between the student and advisor until the manuscript is considered defendable.

    If approval is not obtained at this point, there is no guarantee that the student will be able to graduate that term.
    3) Submit clean copy of dissertation to primary advisor and committee members two weeks before confirming defense date with Graduate School.