Steps to Your Ph.D. Degree

IT'S ONLY A FEW FORMS, YOU CAN DO THIS!

Getting your Ph.D. Degree

For those of you who completed your Master’s degree at CSU, welcome back! It will be a breeze for you, as you will have already gone through the process once before. For those of you new to CSU, welcome! Following is a short guide to help you through the process.

Advisors, departments, and programs may have additions or modifications to the list. These steps are provided to give you a general guidelines of what to expect and discuss with your department.

STEP 1 – Register for Classes

Students must be registered every fall and spring semester in a credit-bearing course or enrolled in continuous registration (CR). If graduating in summer, registration in a course or CR is required. Please review our registration policy pages for more information and resources.

STEP 2 – Select your Advisor & Committee

Pick your advisor and your committee members in consultation with your department prior to filling out the GS6 Program of Study. Advisor & committee members must meet Graduate School requirements.

STEP 3 – Fill out your GS6 PROGRAM OF STUDY Form

The GS6 Program of Study Form lists

  • your intended coursework,
  • the members of your committee, and
  • any other requirements to complete your degree.

The form must be submitted to the Graduate School prior to your fourth regular semester. Visit our GS6 Program of Study page and forms page for more details.

STEP 4 – Take your PRELIMINARY EXAM

An exam determines whether a Ph.D. student is qualified to continue toward the doctorate degree. Exam must be completed at least two semesters prior to the Ph.D. student’s final examination/defense.

GS16 Preliminary Exam Form is signed by members of a Ph.D. student’s committee after the student has completed his/her preliminary examination. Must be submitted to the Graduate School within two working days after the results of the examination are known.

STEP 5 – REVIEW dissertation FORMATTING GUIDELINES

Prior to starting your dissertation, please review the formatting guidelines for resources and requirements.

STEP 6 – Apply to Graduate

The GS25 Application For Graduation Form lists

  • the term that you plan on completing your graduation requirements,
  • the name that you want printed on your diploma,
  • any course changes that may need to be made to your GS6 Program of Study,
  • any discrepancy grades that need to be addressed,
  • and any departmental requirements that need to be satisfied.

You must submit the form to the Graduate School by the deadline date of the semester that you intend to complete your degree requirements. Visit our GS25 Application for Graduation page and forms page for more details.

STEP 7 – PETITION FOR COMMITTEE MEMBER CHANGES (if necessary)

The GS9A Petition for Committee Member Changes Form lists any changes that have been made to your committee since your GS6 Form, Program of Study was approved by the Graduate School.

You may change your advisor or committee member(s) after your GS6 Program of Study has been approved by the Graduate School, and prior to your preliminary (Ph.D. students) or final examinations.

STEP 8 – Take your FINAL EXAMINATION/DEFENSE

An final exam is required for all Ph.D. students and must be completed by the deadline date of the semester that you intend to complete your degree requirements.

The GS24 Final Exam Results Form is signed by members of a student’s committee after the student has completed the final examination/defense.

The form must be submitted to the Graduate School within two working days after the results of the examination are known, and by the deadline date of the semester that you intend to complete your degree requirements

STEP 9 – Complete your THESIS/DISSERTATION SUBMISSION FORM

GS30 Thesis/Dissertation Submission Form is signed by the members of your committee when your dissertation is approved and ready for electronic submission. Ph.D. students must also submit a Survey of Earned Doctorates (SED) Certificate. Forms must be submitted to the Graduate School by the deadline date of the semester that you intend to complete your degree requirements.

Optional ETD Requests

  • GS31 ETD Embargo Restriction Request Form is for students requesting to delay public release of their dissertation in the event that the document contains material to be protected by patent or copyright. Form is submitted with the GS30 to the Graduate School by the deadline date of the semester that you intend to complete your degree requirements

STEP 10 – SUBMIT your Thesis Electronically through PROQUEST/UMI

As you finish your dissertation, visit the Thesis/Dissertation pages for formatting requirements. Submit your thesis electronically to ProQuest/UMI. Your document must be approved for formatting prior to the deadline date of the semester that you intend to complete your degree requirements. You may have required formatting corrections in your document, it is recommended that you submit your dissertation in advance of the deadline date.

STEP 11 – Attend the Commencement Ceremony

Graduate School celebrates your achievements! Graduate students who are completing their degree requirements are welcome to attend the ceremony at the end of the semester (fall and spring only). Visit our commencement pages for more information about commencement event details.

STEP 12 – Receive your Diploma

The Registrar’s Office processes official transcript requests and handles diplomas. Diplomas are mailed to students approximately six – eight weeks after the last day of classes of the semester which all degree requirements were completed. Please refer to Registrar’s Office for details about transcript ordering or diplomas.