Defense and Submission

Sign on door that says "Dissertation in Progress"

Below is an overview of the main steps in preparing, defending, and submitting your thesis or dissertation. For detailed instructions on each step, see The Graduate School's Guide for Electronic Submission of Thesis and Dissertation (PDF), in addition to this video recording from a workshop given on the subject. 

  1. Schedule your defense and apply for graduation in DukeHub (defense and graduation deadlines).
  2. At least 30 days before your defense: Confirm or update your defense committee.
  3. Give your thesis/dissertation to your advisor for inspection, and prompt your advisor to send a letter to stating that it is complete and ready to defend. Note: For students in School of Medicine Ph.D. programs, their advisor letters are generated through T3.
  4. Request your DGSA to send a departmental defense announcement to Note: For students in School of Medicine Ph.D. programs, their departmental defense announcements are generated through T3.
  5. At least 2 weeks before your defense: Submit your complete, correctly formatted dissertation/thesis to ProQuest (initial submission). Also provide it to each member of your committee.
  6. Optional: After you receive an email through ProQuest from the Graduate School administrator who reviewed your thesis/dissertation format, you may make an appointment for a brief, virtual meeting with the administrator to discuss any questions you have about the defense process or the recommended formatting revisions.
  7. A few days before your defense, The Graduate School will generate your final examination certificate and email it to the chair/co-chair(s) of your examination committee and the DGSA of your department. Note: For students in School of Medicine Ph.D. programs, their final examination certificates are generated and released through T3.
  8. Defend your dissertation. After your final examination, your committee members will vote on whether you passed or failed. Your chair and DGS will record the votes on your final examination certificate, sign it, and submit it to The Graduate School. Your committee may vote that you passed but still require minor edits or corrections before final submission.
  9. As soon as possible after your defense, submit to the Non-Exclusive Distribution License and Thesis/Dissertation Availability Agreement (“embargo agreement”) signed by yourself and your thesis/dissertation advisor.
  10. Within 30 days after your successful defense, or by the established final submission deadline (whichever is first): Submit the final version of your dissertation/thesis to ProQuest.

We provide the following templates for your convenience and to help you eliminate common formatting errors. However, all submitted theses and dissertations must meet the specifications listed in the ETD guide. The manuscript must be a completed document, formatted correctly, with no sections left blank.

Notes about the LaTeX Template

  • This LaTeX template is for both master's and Ph.D. students. Master's theses must also have an abstract title page.
  • Neither The Graduate School nor OIT supports LaTeX beyond providing this template.

Ph.D. and master’s students are required to apply for graduation in DukeHub by the established application deadline for the semester in which they plan to graduate.

Review the full graduation guidelines on the Graduation Information and Deadlines page. 

When you submit your thesis or dissertation electronically, you will also permit Duke University to make it available online through DukeSpace at Duke Libraries. See the pages below for more information about ETDs:

Check out the writing support offered by The Graduate School, such as writing spaces, consultations, and access to online writing workshops, communities, and resources.