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Thesis and Dissertation Defense

The UW Graduate School has many specific policies and procedures surrounding the dissertation defense and thesis. Some particularly helpful resources:

Dissertation Defense

  • 1 or 2 months before your desired defense date, clear it with all your committee members (especially your GSR).
  • At least 3 weeks before your defense date, contact your department’s Graduate Program Coordinator to inquire about necessary forms and signatures, if any, and to ensure that your exam is announced to the BPSD community.
  • At least 4 weeks prior to your exam, submit the online exam request.
  • Send out reminders to your committee 1 week and 1 day before your defense.
  • The day of your defense, pick up your Final Exam Warrant from your department’s Graduate Program Coordinator and return it to him or her as soon as possible after the exam. The Warrant is a document used by your committee to officially record the exam outcome.


  • Secure your Reading Committee which is made up of three members of your thesis committee.
  • Submit preliminary drafts of each chapter to your Reading Committee, well before you defend.
  • Submit a final draft of your thesis to your Reading Committee for approval.
  • Once your Reading Committee approves your thesis, they must sign a Doctoral Dissertation Reading Committee Approval Form.
  • Submit the final, approved thesis on-line through the Graduate School (ETD website).
  • Order a hardbound copy for your department (optional).