A dissertation is required of every candidate for the Ph.D. degree. The form of the dissertation must conform to the procedures set forth in the booklet of Preparation and Submission Manual for Doctoral Dissertations and Master's Theses, available online.

It is a GEPA policy that a final draft of the dissertation must be submitted to each member of the committee at least one month prior to the final defense. A student must have completed 6 quarters of academic residency, of which 3 quarters must be between advancement and the final examination/defense of the dissertation, which shall be public. Residence is established by the satisfactory completion of twelve units per quarter, at least some of which must be at the graduate level.

Oral Defense

An oral defense of the dissertation is required. The oral defense will be public. Ph.D. candidates should provide sufficient advance notice to the department to allow for appropriate public notification (a minimum of two weeks notice is recommended). The Dissertation Committee must and other members of the department and the public may attend the defense. After the student has presented his or her work, the audience may ask questions. After general audience questions, the Committee will meet in private with the student. After this private meeting, the committee will confer to determine whether awarding the Ph.D. is appropriate given the defense.

Graduating Between Quarters 

(Winter break, Spring break, or Summer)

Students graduating in between quarters may need to pay a filing fee ($188) in order to submit their thesis to the Graduate Division. The Graduate Coordinator will prepare and route the DocuSign General Petition form for you.

If you will be on leave of absence the quarter you plan to graduate, remember:

  • Contact the Graduate Coordinator to file the needed paperwork before the first day of classes of the quarter of leave.
  • You are eligible to remain in graduate student housing, but contact their main office for details.
  • You will not be allowed to use any campus facilities and do not have Student ID card privileges (e.g. no working in the lab, bus passes, library privileges, rec facilities).
  • You will not have Graduate Student Health Insurance coverage. Contact Student Health Insurance for assistance with securing health insurance.