Grad Policies: Ph.D. Dissertation

Filing your doctoral dissertation at the Graduate Division is one of the final steps leading to the award of your graduate degree. It is imperative that you carefully follow Graduate Division's Instructions for Dissertation Writing & Filing. Graduate Division strictly enforces rules about margin widths, page numbering, etc., and the Graduate Degrees Office in 318 Sproul Hall is the official source of all answers regarding any aspect of preparing your manuscript. In addition to electronically submitting your dissertation to Graduate Division, a copy should also be uploaded to the EECS Department Website through the online submission form. The Department no longer accepts a hard copy of your dissertation. The documents you must submit to the EECS Grad Office are:

  • a copy of the signed signature page
  • a copy/printout of the title page
  • a copy/printout of the abstract

As you are working your way through the final steps of your degree, it     would be  a very good idea for you to drop by your staff graduate advisor’s office to check and make sure that you have completed every requirement for the Ph.D. except for the dissertation, the dissertation talk, and the exit survey.  You definitely don’t want any last minute surprises.

If you want a Certificate of Completion of the Ph.D., be sure to file a Request for Certificate of Completion after you file your dissertation.Your diploma will not be ready for a number of months. You may arrange to have it mailed to you when it is ready by completing the Diploma Request Form, found on the Registrar's website.

Dissertation Committee

The dissertation committee must consist of 3 members of the Academic Senate, voting or non-voting, one of whom must be from outside the department. The chair of the dissertation committee is usually the student's advisor, but the Qualifying Exam Chair cannot also be a Dissertation Chair. Graduate Division must approve any additional committee member not a part of the Academic Senate. A written memo of justification, signed by your Faculty Advisor, plus the curriculum vitae of the proposed non-Senate member, must be submitted to and approved by the Vice Chair and Graduate Division. See your Staff Graduate Advisor for more details.

Thesis Seminar (Dissertation Talk)

Students filing a Ph.D. dissertation must give a one-hour talk on the principal results of their research as part of their graduate requirement. This must be done in the last semester in residence or in the semester in which the dissertation is filed. Summer graduates must plan to give the talk in the spring semester before graduation or opt to graduate in the fall semester in order to give the talk in the fall semester. Summer dissertation talks are not allowed. The talk will be advertised in the departmental calendar.

One preferable, but not necessary, venue for the dissertation talk is one of the group seminars. For CS students, the Computer Science Colloquium or any one of the following regular seminars is acceptable for this requirement: Computer Systems, Theoretical Computer Science, Graphics, Numerical and Scientific Computing, Database Systems, AI/Vision/Robotics. The Associate Chair for CS, in consultation with the research advisor, may designate another seminar, if appropriate. If this option is selected, it is advisable to contact the professor in charge of the seminar at least 2 weeks before the semester in which the dissertation will be completed.

The talk should cover all the major components of the dissertation work in a substantial manner–in particular, the dissertation talk should not omit topics that will appear in the dissertation but are incomplete at the time of the talk.The dissertation talk is to be attended by the whole dissertation committee, or, if this is not possible, by at least a majority of the members. Attendance at this talk is part of the committee's responsibility. It is, however, the responsibility of the student to schedule a time for the talk that is convenient for members of the committee. Students should

  1. Complete the Thesis Seminar Form before they give the talk
  2. Submit the details of their talk to the Department Calendar.
  3. Advertise their talk by sending an announcement to eecs-announce@eecs

By signing the thesis seminar form, thesis committee members indicate that they have been informed of the scheduled time for the talk and whether they plan to attend.