This guideline presents the major steps involved in a typical student's dissertation process. While this document includes all Rackham required steps, there may be additional departmental requirements. For example, the steps for Music Performance and Music Conducting may vary in the order presented and requirements differ slightly. Rackham recommends that students check with their departmental advisor.
Completion of these steps does not guarantee conferral of your degree. The final conferral decision is the responsibility of the Rackham Graduate School.
Responsible roles are listed in the legend and are indicated to the left of each step. Some steps have prerequisites which are noted with reference number(s) for the steps that must first be completed. Many steps provide links to supporting documentation, PDF forms*, and/or other websites that are useful in the dissertation process.
- Steps for Candidacy and Forming a Dissertation Committee
- Steps for Research and Writing of Dissertation
- Steps for Defense and Evaluation
- Steps for Degree Conferral
|2.||Review the resource titled, "5.1 Candidacy Requirements"|
|3.||Complete coursework as agreed upon with advisor||1|
|4.||Complete departmental requirements (e.g. qualifiers, proposals, work experience)|
|5.||Pass preliminary exams by deadline|
|6.||Complete Advance to Candidacy request for Rackham to review||3, 4, 5|
|7.||Approve Advance to Candidacy||6|
|8.||Form dissertation committee after reviewing guidelines (PDF)*|
|9.||Complete Dissertation Committee Form and submit to Rackham for review|
|10.||Approve dissertation committee||9|
|23.||Register online for Rackham group pre-defense meeting and submit date, time, and location of oral defense|
|24.||Attend scheduled group pre-defense meeting and bring one complete copy of dissertation to note any formatting corrections||10, 20|
|25.||Get evaluation forms (instructions) from Rackham and deliver to committee members with a copy of the dissertation and abstract at least ten business days before defense||24|
|26.||Submit completed evaluation forms (instructions) to Rackham three business days before defense||25|
|27.||View your committee on Wolverine Access to verify that evaluations have been returned to Rackham||26|
|28.||Pick up packet from Rackham and deliver packet of completed evaluation forms, Final Oral Examination Report, and Certificate of Dissertation Committee Approval Form to the dissertation committee chair at the defense||27|
|29.||Do oral defense of dissertation||28|
|30.||Return Final Oral Examination Report to Rackham||29|
|31.||Submit final dissertation/abstract revisions as necessary to committee chair||30|
|32.||Return the Certificate of Dissertation Committee Approval Form (instructions) to Rackham||31|
|33.||Prepare for post-defense meeting with Rackham and bring all paperwork requirements|
|34.||Complete post-defense meeting with Rackham and complete all requirements||24, 31|
|35.||Check Student Accounts Office for financial status|
|36.||Approve degree for conferral if all degree requirements are met|
|37.||Receive diploma at commencement (April/May & December only) or the Office of the Registrar will mail it approximately two weeks after conferral date||36|
* Because of a bug in some internet browsers, it is recommended that you download any web-based PDF document to your hard disk before viewing instead of opening the document in the browser window. PC Instructions: Right mouse-click on the link and select "Save Link/Target As." MAC Instructions: Hold Option and mouse-click on the link and select "Save Link/Target As."