Dissertation and Thesis Submission

Some of the procedures below may have changed due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Please see our Pandemic Policy updates page for more information.

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PhD Dissertation and Master's Thesis Filing Checklist

The order below is meant to be a suggestion for best practice.  You may find that the order of completion differs in your own case, particularly steps 5-11.  Feel free to contact us if you have additional questions about any of the items listed.

  • 1. Advance to Candidacy and Apply to Graduate

    Master's students must file an Application for Candidacy for Master's Degree no later than the first day of the quarter in which they plan to graduate.  The Application for Candidacy for Master's Degree is accessed through R'Grad and must be in the Graduate Dean's queue by the posted deadline to be considered.

    It is expected that PhD students will have completed the oral qualifying exam and advanced to candidacy prior to filing the dissertation. 

    PhD and Master's students must also submit a separate graduation application through R'Web by Monday of week 4 of the quarter they plan to graduate. See the Graduation Procedures page for specific deadlines and instructions.

  • 2. Review the Format Guide

    Reviewing the format guide is the first step in preparing your manuscript for submission.  It explains all aspects of the submission and graduation requirements.  Please read it carefully and review the sample pages.  Ensure that your preliminary pages match the samples.  You may find the format guide on the Filing Resources page. Microsoft Word and LaTex templates are also available to assist you.    

    For additional formatting help and information, including templates and samples, visit Filing Resources.

    If your manuscript contains previously published information, you may need to acquire approval to reprint it. 

    For additional information about copyright and fair use in your dissertation, visit Copyright Resources.

  • 3. Attend a Format Workshop

    The Graduate Academic Affairs office holds workshops each quarter to help students understand the requirements. The workshops are typically held in week 5 but be sure to check your R'Mail for announcements. Attending a format workshop is highly recommended.

    The workshop video and slides can be found on the Filing Resources page. 

  • 4. Review the Deadlines

    The last day to file your manuscript is typically the last business day of the quarter.  Deadlines for the current year are posted in a chart on the Graduation Procedures page.  To meet the deadline, the final version of the dissertation/thesis and all additional paperwork, including the completed Signature Approval Page and Final Defense Form (both submitted via R'Grad), must be in the Graduate Dean queue by 12:00pm (noon) on the posted deadline.

    The Signature Approval Page and Final Defense form links can be found on the Petitions and Forms page of this web site for both Master's and PhD students. 

  • 5. Submit the Dissertation/Thesis for Format Review

    Every student planning to file and graduate must submit a dissertation/thesis for format review at least two weeks prior to the final filing deadline. The format review is uploaded via the ProQuest ETD website.  Please complete all the required screens and SUBMIT your document online.  For additional information visit the ProQuest ETD FAQ page.  Graduate Academic Affairs staff will review your submission to identify any formatting issues and will communicate with you via email regarding necessary changes to the document.  You may be asked to upload your document multiple times.  You will be notified once the formatting has been approved and no further changes are needed.  This is an important step to ensure your document is ready by the posted deadline.  

    Please do not be concerned that submitting this rough draft to ProQuest will result in it being published.  You will have the opportunity to submit a final version.  The Graduate Division Academic Affairs staff will submit the approved final version to ProQuest once you have completed all graduation procedures. 

    ProQuest offers students the opportunity to order bound copies of the dissertation at the time of the format review submission.  Please note that this is an optional service and that there are other ways to order printed copies of the dissertation such as UCR's Creative Services or your neighborhood print/copy shop.  If you do order copies through ProQuest, please be aware that it will take several months for the copies to be prepared and shipped to you.  ProQuest will not begin processing your order until the documents are uploaded from UCR which may take 6-8 weeks from the end of the quarter in which you graduate.

    Many of your questions may be answered by visiting the ProQuest ETD FAQ page.

  • 6. Participate in a Final Defense and Get Signatures of Approval

    If your program requires a final defense, you must submit proof of its completion via R'Grad. To meet the deadline the Final Defense Form (submitted via R'Grad) must be in the Graduate Dean queue by 12:00pm (noon) on the posted deadline.

    If your final defense has been waived, the Final Defense petition is still required. Your committee will simply select "Waived" as their final defense decision.

    The approval of your Final Defense is separate from the Signature Approval Page (see step 7) in your dissertation. Both must be submitted via R'Grad and must be in the Graduate Dean queue by 12:00pm (noon) on the posted deadline

  • 7. Submit the Signature Approval Page (Dissertation or Thesis)

    The Signature Approval Page is a critical part of your final document.  On this page, your committee gives their final approval of the written dissertation/thesis document.  Please make sure to allow enough time to obtain all the signatures prior to 12:00pm (noon) on the final filing deadline. All committee members must digitally sign on the R'Grad signature approval page.Signature approval pages will not be accepted by any other method.  Be aware of your committee members' schedules and make plans to accommodate this requirement! 

    To meet the deadline, the Signature Approval Page must be in the Graduate Dean queue in R'Grad by 12:00pm (noon) on the posted deadline.   

    The Signature Approval Page that you include in your digital dissertation in ProQuest will not include signatures.

    A Signature Page template for inclusion in your document may be found on the Filing Resources page.

  • 8. Complete any Additional Paperwork

    In addition to the Final Defense form and Signature Approval Page, PhD students are expected to submit two exit surveys.  Both surveys are completed online. You do not have to submit anything extra to us to show completion.

    Master's students will submit the Final Defense form (if a defense is required) and the Signature Approval Page. To meet the deadline, the Final Defense Form and Signature approval page must be in the Graduate Dean queue (via R'Grad) by 12:00pm (noon) on the posted deadline.

    A complete list and links to the paperwork can be found on our Filing Resources page.

  • 9. Submit the Final Version of your Document on or before the Deadline

    After uploading your dissertation/thesis for a format review to the ProQuest ETD website, you will receive an email from the Graduate Academic Affairs office. The email will include a review of the requirements for graduation and final submission. You should receive the email within 24 hours of submitting your document.  If you do not receive this email, please check your junk email folder or contact Graduate Academic Affairs.  

    Complete any changes requested in the format review and by your committee.  When the document is complete, return to the ProQuest ETD website to submit the final version of your dissertation/thesis.  When logging back in, choose the "revise" option. Once you submit the final version, you will not be permitted to make additional changes to the document, so take all precautions! 

    Please be aware of all filing deadlines to be sure that you file your dissertation/thesis document, the Signature Approval Page, and the Final Defense Form in plenty of time to meet the deadline for the quarter in which you expect to receive your degree.  Deadlines are strictly enforced. 

    To meet the deadline, the final version of the dissertation/thesis and all additional paperwork, including the completed Signature Approval Page and Final Defense Form (both submitted via R'Grad), must be in the Graduate Dean queue by 12:00pm (noon) on the posted deadline.

    For information about what happens to your document after submission, visit our  ProQuest ETD FAQ page.

  • 10. Update Your Permanent Address in R'Web

    Your diploma will be mailed to your permanent address in R'Web approximately 2 months after your degree conferral date.  Any questions about the diploma should be directed to reghelpdesk@ucr.edu.  You may also visit the Registrar's web site for more information.

    Transcripts - both official and unofficial - with your degree conferral noted - will be ready approximately 4 weeks after your degree conferral date.  Official transcripts may be ordered through R'Web.  Unofficial transcripts may be accessed from your Student Profile in R'Web.

  • 11. Participate in the Commencement Ceremony (optional)

    If you wish to participate in the commencement ceremony (offered in June each year), you must verify your eligibility and submit your intent to participate.  Information for graduate students regarding Commencement and the requirements for participation can be found on the Commencement Information page. The main UCR Commencement page has information about the schedule of ceremonies, tickets, and much more.