Dissertation Defense Requirements and Guidelines

  Here is what you need to know to plan your dissertation defense and navigate your degree completion with the department, the Graduate School, and the Registrar's Office:

  • If you plan to defend during the Fall Semester, you must complete all required paperwork with the Graduate School before the first day of the Spring Semester in order to avoid being charged for Semester II. The Graduate School may grant a 30-day courtesy extension for you to complete all paperwork.  If you think you might require this extra time, please contact Mary Ellen Woycik.
  • To graduate in May, you must defend and complete all required paperwork with the Graduate School by May 1.  The Graduate School may grant a 2-week courtesy extension until May 15 for you to complete all paperwork.  Again, bear in mind that this must be arranged ahead of time so please contact Mary Ellen Woycik by April 15 if you anticipate that an extension may be necessary.
Before your defense (at least two weeks prior):
The day of your defense:
  • Bring at least two copies of the required Thesis Signature Page to your defense in order to get the requisite signatures while your committee is gathered together.  This will ultimately make your completion easier by eliminating the need to gather individual signatures later.  Candidates who want an original signature page signed by the Dean of the Graduate School must include a third signature page.
  • Pick up the Graduate School generated paperwork from Mary Ellen Woycik in BH408, there is a second necessary form for your committee to sign called the “Aye/Nay”.  Have your committee sign this form and the Thesis Signature Page and return to Mary Ellen Woycik at the completion of your defense.  These forms need to be signed and added to your file, before being sent to the Graduate School.
  • See 4S front desk if you would like to borrow a laser pointer for your presentation.
Following your defense — six very important things to do (before start of Semester II for Fall completion OR  May 1 for Spring completion):
  1. Complete all checklist items referenced on the Graduate School’s website (#1-5 under Submission of the Final Copy).  Contact Barbara Bennett at the Graduate School to determine if all steps have been completed so that she can clear you for completion.
  2. Submit a completed Physics Exit Survey.  This form includes information such as preferred email and forwarding address as well as your post-completion employment, etc.  The information you provide will enable us to stay in touch with you and assist us in statistical research. 
  3. Return all departmental keys to 4S front desk.
  4. Change your address with all senders of mail (personal, banks, insurance providers, periodicals, etc), and then, arrange to have someone forward any mail that is still delivered here for you.
  5. Register and keep in touch with us at our online Alumni Connection.   
  6. Your Brown electronic services will continue until August.  Check out the email forwarding and other services available to you through the Brown Alumni Association. 

Anyone planning to receive a degree in May must, by May 1: 

  • Complete the Application to Graduate (available in mid-January) found in Banner Web.
  • Register with the Graduate School for Commencement (even if not planning to attend).
  • Order regalia through the Brown Bookstore (if planning to attend).

To find links to the above tasks as well as all of the information you need about Commencement, please visit both the Graduate School's Commencement page and the University's Commencement page, paying particular attention to the For Graduate Students section. 

Other Resources:

Thesis Binding Service offered through the Brown University Library.