Completing the Degree

Time Limit for Completion of the Degree

The candidate for the doctorate who holds a master’s degree on entering the doctoral program is expected to complete all requirements for the degree no later than seven years after beginning the program, as measured by matriculation into the degree program. Candidates who hold only a bachelor’s degree on entering the doctoral program are expected to meet all degree requirements no later than eight years after doctoral studies begin. Failure to complete the degree within the established time limits will result in termination unless the student successfully petitions for an extension to the Senior Vice Provost for Research and Graduate Education. The college, school, or department chair and advisor must recommend this extension in writing. If it is not approved, the student will be dismissed from the program. Students may petition for an extension of time for a minimum of one quarter up to a maximum of one year per request. For more information, see Exceptions regarding extensions of time.

Final Procedures for Earning the Doctoral Degree

The student must assume full responsibility for meeting all basic requirements for the degree as well as the specific requirements outlined by the college, school or department. 

Before becoming a candidate for graduation, the student must complete the following: 

  • The candidate must apply for graduation by the deadline. The deadline to apply for graduation is the eighth day of the quarter prior to the quarter that the student plans to graduate.  For example, students planning to graduate in the spring quarter should apply to graduate by the eighth day of the winter quarter.  Students apply to graduate on MyDU (instructions found on the Office of the Registrar's webpage).  Failure to do so will automatically delay graduation to a subsequent quarter. Failure to complete the degree during the expected quarter will require a new application and payment of a fee for additional evaluation and services.
  • Satisfactorily complete all coursework and non-coursework requirements for the degree. 
  • All doctoral students must be advanced to final degree candidacy by their academic unit. 
  • If the graduate program requires a dissertation, arrange for an oral defense of the dissertation.  
    • The Office of Graduate Education should review the oral defense committee as soon as the dissertation proposal has been approved or defended but no later than the first day of the quarter in which the student expects to complete their degree. Formal notification of the oral defense should be filed in the Office of Graduate Education no later than four weeks before the defense date and in accordance with the University schedule of deadlines when graduation candidacy is in the same quarter as the defense.
    • Submit the dissertation to the oral defense committee at least two weeks before the date of the defense.
    • Satisfactorily complete the oral defense at least three weeks before the end of the quarter in which the degree is to be awarded.
    • Submit an electronic copy of the dissertation to ETD/ProQuest and the dissertation director or advisor must submit the final approval of the dissertation to the Office of Graduate Education two weeks prior to the end of the quarter. The student should contact the Office of Graduate Education for the schedule of deadlines and obtain specific instructions for the preparation of the dissertation format.
    • If revisions are such that the dissertation in its final form cannot be filed at least two weeks before the end of the quarter, the awarding of degrees will be postponed.
  • Students completing a major doctoral research paper or dissertation in practice should consult with their academic units regarding requirements. 
  • All Incomplete grades must be removed. 
  • All in-progress courses must have grades entered.