Electronic Dissertation Defense

Step 1:  

In order to be eligible for the degree, you must complete the Application for Degree (myUK / Student Services / myRecords / Application for Degree). This must be submitted by the deadline for the semester in which you intend to graduate. For the exact due date, see the Graduate School Calendar, the  Graduate School Key Dates page or the Graduate School Bulletin.

Step 2:

After consulting with your advisor, submit the Notification of Intent to Schedule a Final Doctoral Examination form a minimum of 8 weeks prior to the anticipated date of your final examination date. Upon receipt, the Graduate School will audit your file to make sure that all requirements to this point have been met, and will begin the process of identifying an outside examiner for your defense. Do not finalize a defense date with your committee before the outside examiner has been identified and has been consulted for their availability. You will be notified by email when your Outside Examiner has been assigned.

The final examination must take place no later than eight days prior to the last day of classes of the semester in which the student expects to graduate. Final examinations may not be scheduled during the period between semesters or between the end of the eight-week summer session and the beginning of the fall semester. Consult the Graduate School Key Dates page or the Graduate School Calendar for deadlines on the scheduling of final examinations.

Step 3:  

Request for Final Doctoral Examination form should be submitted a minimum of two weeks prior to the specific date of the defense. At this time you should deliver a copy of the dissertation to your outside examiner (note that your committee and the outside examiner will probably want a paper copy of the dissertation for purposes of the final examination, but it can be in pdf format if all involved are in agreement). Dissertations must be received by your committee two weeks prior to your exam.

Step 4:  

After your Final Examination, you have 60 days to submit the final copy of your dissertation to the Graduate School in pdf format (or less than 60 days if you want to graduate that semester and the Dissertation acceptance deadline is sooner) and a completed ETD Approval Form, signed by your advisor and Director of Graduate Studies. Scan the ETD Approval Form after signing it and forward electronically to the advisor for signature who in turn can pass it to the DGS for signature, and lastly the student uploads to UKnowledge (Additional Files) as part of the ETD submission. The ETD Approval Form may be uploaded when you first submit the ETD to UKnowledge, or at a later time, and can be viewed in the Supplemental Content area. The ETD Approval Form will not be accessible to the public when the ETD is approved.

You are required to submit your dissertation for a format check to UKnowledge (click here for Dissertation Preparation and Formatting Guidelines and here for ETD Submission Guide). Your dissertation will be checked to ensure that it meets format requirements of the Graduate School. It is your responsibility to ensure that the ETD will display clearly and properly on a monitor when accessed, including working links so the ETD can be readily navigated (whether it is composed of a single or multiple files), that the printed pdf version will be clear and legible (including any figures or images), and that fonts have been properly embedded. We also require copies of any reprint permission letters and any required third party software licenses.

Final Submission checklist:

  • Final submission of electronic dissertation via UKnowledge (see ETD Submission Guide for instructions)
  • Confirmation page of the Survey of Earned Doctorates (link to survey will be sent to you in an email following your first submission to UKnowledge)
  • ETD Approval Form completed and signed
  • Reprint permission letters and/or third party software licenses, if required
  • All of the above items must be uploaded as Additional Files (Supplemental Content) to your ETD (see the ETD Submission Guide for instructions)
  • Embargoes are now handled as part of the ETD Approval form

Checklist of common errors [PDF]


If you have any questions about this process, contact the Academic Affairs Officer for your program.

Dissertation Fees

The base dissertation fee is $74. Applicable fees will be determined by the Academic Affairs Officer after the final dissertation is accepted by The Graduate School. The charge must be paid at Student Account Services, 18 Funkhouser Building or via myUK website. No diplomas will be released without payment of the applicable dissertation fees.

Publishing the Dissertation

In addition to publishing your electronic dissertation on UKnowledge website, The Graduate School publishes dissertations through ProQuest/UMI, Ann Arbor, MI.

Survey of Earned Doctorates

The University of Kentucky Graduate School participates in the Survey of Earned Doctorates (SED), which is conducted each year by the National Opinion Research Center. It is required that doctoral candidates complete this survey as part of the final submission process.

Direct questions to the Academic Affairs Officer for your program.