Graduating from Graduate School

Graduation & Leaving the University


Preparing Doctoral Dissertation


Doctoral Dissertation Oral Defense

The examination will consist of a written dissertation and an oral defense.

  • Information for the 4-person defense committee is here. NOTE: Because the chemistry department is so large and has 7 paths that vary in the type of chemistry performed, the Graduate School allows faculty from different paths to satisfy the “members from at least two University of Wisconsin—Madison graduate program” requirement (section I.2).
  • At least 3 weeks before oral defense, request the Ph.D. final degree warrant here
  • At least 3 weeks before the oral defense, create a flyer for the defense and email it to the Graduate Program Office. The template for the defense poster is here.
  • At least 1 week, preferably 2 weeks, before the final oral defense, email your dissertation to your Ph.D. committee.
  • If the oral defense is done virtually, some suggestions are here.

Submitting Your Doctoral Dissertation

  • Pay the Dissertation Deposit Fee: Go to Grad Portal to pay the required $90 dissertation deposit fee, which covers the cost of processing the dissertation and publishing the abstract by ProQuest. The fee must be paid before submitting your dissertation electronically. The fee payment site provides an email confirmation with your fee payment receipt. Save this payment receipt as a PDF for the electronic dissertation deposit process. The receipt will be uploaded in the administrative documents section of the ProQuest/UMI ETD Administrator website.
  • Complete the Doctoral Exit Surveys: You must complete the following doctoral exit surveys before submitting your dissertation. Each survey will provide a certificate of completion once you have submitted the survey. Save the certificates of completion as PDF documents to upload in the administrative documents section of the ProQuest/UMI ETD Administrator website.
    • Survey of Earned Doctorates (SED): To complete the online Survey of Earned Doctorates you will first provide basic information including your email address. You will then receive an e-mail with a unique PIN and password. Access the SED survey site using the URL, PIN, and password sent to you in this email, and complete the survey. You must advance past the certificate of completion screen in order to submit the survey.
    • Graduate School’s Doctoral Exit Survey (DES)The DES obtains information on your academic experience (e.g., program quality, support, advising) in your doctoral program and information about your postdoctoral plans. To complete the Doctoral Exit Survey online, enter your name as it appears in university records and your student ID number (10 digits). At the end of the survey, there is a survey completion screen.
  • Electronic Deposit of Your Dissertation: After you complete the steps above, you can submit your dissertation electronically to the ProQuest/UMI Administrator website.

Department Checkout Process

  • Fill out the Checkout Form
  • If you are completing your M.S. or Ph.D. before the end of the semester, you will need to have a “Non-Roster Grade Change” submitted for each course you have enrolled in for the term. The Non-Roster Grade Change must be completed by the instructor through Faculty Center. You can remind the instructor that step-by-step instructions to submit a Non-Roster Grade Changes are available here.

Degree Completion Letter

You can either receive a degree completion letter from the Department of Chemistry or from the University.

From the Department of Chemistry

To receive a completion letter from the Department, please email the Chemistry Graduate Program Office (GPO) and provide the date of your defense and the date that you submitted your thesis to the Graduate School.  The letter will be signed by Matt Sanders.

From the University

To receive a completion letter from the University, please submit the Degree Completion Form available from the Registrar in the Graduate Students section.  It will first go to the Graduate School for verification.  Once all information is verified, the Office of the Registrar will provide your PDF letter. This process usually takes 7-10 days.

If you are in more immediate need of a completion letter, you are able to walk to the graduate school to have them process the information right away before getting approved by the registrar. This process can be done within 2-3 hours.