Step 1: Take the ETD Webcourse

Students who have prepared their Thesis or Dissertation proposal and are ready to begin the process should visit the Thesis and Dissertation Services Site and register for the Webcourse. This course provides vital information regarding the entire defense process.

Step 2: Complete the Institutional Review Board (IRB) and Human Research Protection Program (HRPP) webcourse training. 

You must complete the IRB training before you can form your committee. You can enroll in the course here:
Once the training is complete, download the completion certificate to be attached to the committee request form in step 3.

Step 3: Committee Formation

No later than the semester before the student wishes to defend their dissertation proposal, they need to confer with their advisor to help them form an advisory committee and get approval from the chosen members to serve on the committee. Dissertation Committees must have one Chair, two Department members, and one member outside of the Department. Students should communicate with the potential members to confirm that they will serve on their committee.

Please note that amorous/married couples or other family members are not allowed to serve together on dissertation committees unless one is a non-voting member.

The student should complete the online Graduate Committee Request Form with their committee information.

Note: All members of a dissertation committee must hold a terminal Ph.D. degree in order to serve on a dissertation committee. 

If the outside committee member is not a graduate faculty member at UCF, the student will need to attach a copy of the outside member’s CV to the committee request form (and complete the justification section on the form) so that they can be added to the approved list. If you have more than one outside member, you will upload copies of all outside members’ CVs.

The Graduate Admissions Coordinator will process paperwork to add the external member to the Graduate Faculty Scholar’s list. Once that is approved, they will submit the committee form for approval. The student will be notified by Graduate Studies via email once all the approvals have been received.


Please note that this entire process can take several weeks (or more depending on if it is a busy time of the semester for COS and Graduate Studies), so students should make sure they allow enough time prior to their proposal in order to make sure they meet all deadlines. Refer to the Academic Calendar for more information about the deadlines. Make sure you select the correct term on the calendar, e.g. Summer deadlines will be on the Summer calendar, etc. 

These deadlines change each semester. Note that it is the student’s responsibility to be aware of all deadlines and requirements. Missing a deadline can result in a delay in graduation, as CGS will not grant an extension to posted deadlines.