Thesis and Dissertation Information
All graduate students who are doing a formal thesis or dissertation must follow PSU policies regarding committee appointments, defense procedures, formatting requirements, and submission procedures.
These pages are intended to guide students through these various processes. Please review them carefully and feel free to contact us with questions at firstname.lastname@example.org or 503-725-8410, Option 2. You can also contact the processor in the Graduate School who is working with a specific file:
Brenda Fugate, email@example.com or (503) 725-5230 - master's students with PSU ID numbers ending 00-49
Andrea Haack, firstname.lastname@example.org or (503) 725-8460 - master's students with PSU ID numbers ending 50-99
Dissertation Format Editor, email@example.com - all doctoral students
The timing for the appointment of master’s and doctoral committees is quite different. Doctoral committees are appointed early in the process, shortly before the proposal defense. Master’s committees are appointed much later, approximately one term before the final defense.
For doctoral students, the GO-16D should be submitted to the Graduate School a minimum of six weeks before the anticipated date of the proposal defense. For master’s students, the GO-16M submission deadlines are based on the intended term of graduation (view the deadlines).
If an already appointed committee needs to be revised, contact the Graduate School for assistance.
Defense Procedures and Deadlines
PSU policies regarding thesis and dissertation defenses apply to:
- A master’s student’s final defense
- A doctoral student’s proposal defense (sometimes called a prospectus or colloquium) and final defense
Students must deliver a final draft of their document to their entire committee no fewer than 14 days before the defense date.
A defense may only be scheduled during the regular academic terms; for summer, this is the eight-week Summer Session. View final defense deadlines for the current academic year. A final defense after these deadlines will result in graduation in a subsequent term.
A thesis or dissertation defense must take place in a meeting with the student and the entire, appointed committee. While it is expected that all members should be physically present, remote participation is permitted under specific conditions. It is incumbent on students and faculty to know that the committee has actually been approved by the Graduate School and who the appointed members are before any proposal or final defense is held. If there are questions about whether a committee has been approved or who the appointed members are, contact the Graduate School.
All theses and dissertations must meet Graduate School formatting requirements. We encourage students to review the formatting requirements early in the thesis or dissertation process; it is much easier to properly format the document to these specifications from the beginning as opposed to changing all the formatting when preparing for submission.
Submission Procedures and Deadlines
All theses and dissertations are submitted electronically to the Graduate School. For electronic thesis and dissertation (ETD) submissions, PSU uses the ProQuest ETD Administrator. Students will need to create an account through this system to submit their ETDs. We have created submission instructions for using the ProQuest ETD Administrator that guide you through the steps of creating an account and submitting your ETD.
ETD submission deadlines for the current academic year are available here. A submission after these deadlines will result in graduation in a subsequent term.
There are two paper forms that students are required to submit to accompany their ETDs. Neither of these forms have specific due dates, but you should aim to submit them to the Graduate School at approximately the same time you submit your ETD through the ProQuest ETD Administrator. You cannot be certified for graduation without submitting these completed forms to the Graduate School:
- The Thesis Signature Page (for master's students) and Dissertation Signature Page (for doctoral students) are used for your committee to formally approve the final, post-defense copy of your ETD.
- The ETD Access Form is used to grant the PSU Library the non-exclusive right to make your ETD available through the Digital Repository.
PhD students must also complete the online Survey of Earned Doctorates (SED). (EdD students do not complete the Survey.) Please register and complete the survey via the survey page on the SED website. The registration process will ensure that you fill out the correct survey based on the graduation month and year you provide during the registration process. When you register for the survey, an email will be sent to you that will allow you to access the survey. Once you have completed the survey, a confirmation email will be sent to the Graduate School. View the student brochure, or explore the SED website for more detailed information.
The Graduate School will contact you after we have performed a formal audit of your ETD. Any required formatting revisions must be completed (and resubmitted through the ProQuest ETD Administrator) before you can be certified for graduation.
Once you have graduated, no further changes can be made to your ETD. You were graduated in part because this document was approved by your committee and the Graduate School. Your ETD therefore becomes part of your academic record and cannot be changed after graduation, even to correct typos.
Doctoral students only: Please note that you cannot participate in the Spring PSU Commencement ceremony unless you have been certified for graduation by the Graduate School. Again, we will be in touch.