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 thesis committee. You can enroll in the course here: 
Once completed, download the completion certificate to attach to the committee request form in step 3.

Step 3: Committee Formation
The semester before the student wishes to defend their thesis 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. Thesis Committees must have one Chair, and two Department members.

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

The student should complete the online Graduate Committee Request Form with their committee information, attaching the IRB completion certificate.

If the student is adding an additional member (beyond the required three) who is outside the department, the student should check to see if the individual is on the approved Graduate Faculty Scholar list. If they are not, the 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, they will need to upload copies of all outside members’ CVs.

Once the Admissions Coordinator receives the submission, she will submit the committee for approval. Students are notified by email when all approvals are complete. Your committee must be reviewed and approved by the posted deadlines in order to enroll in thesis hours for the first time.


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 the posted deadlines in order to make sure they meet all requirements. 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.