Step 1: Complete Formal Coursework
Complete all 24 hours of formal coursework, including core courses and electives.

Step 2: Thesis Committee Formation

Once you finish all your coursework except for thesis hours, you will want to form a thesis advisory committee. The semester before you intend to enroll in thesis hours, you should choose a dissertation committee chair, and work with them to choose members of your advisory committee. Thesis Committees must have one Chair, and two Department members.  Please refer to the Thesis Committee Formation page for more information and step-by-step instructions on this process. Your committee must be approved by the Department, the College of Sciences, and the College of Graduate Studies prior to enrolling in thesis hours.

Step 3: Enroll in Thesis Hours

Once your committee has been approved, you are eligible to enroll in thesis credit hours. You need a total of 6 thesis hours by the end of the program. Three hours is considered full-time. You can access the Restricted Registration Agreement and instructions online here. You will complete this form with your Thesis Chair each semester you enroll in thesis hours.

Step 4: Defend Proposal

Once you have, formed your committee and enroll in thesis hours, you are eligible to defend your proposal. You will work with your committee to schedule your proposal. At this time, all defenses are being conducted virtually via Zoom. Once you’ve scheduled the proposal, email to let them know the time, date, and Zoom information for the meeting. Once your proposal is done, your committee will notify the Graduate Admissions Coordinator and will send them the assessment forms from your proposal defense.

Step 5: Submit Research to IRB

As you learned in the IRB training webcourse you completed when forming your advisory committee, all students conducting research, including for dissertations and theses, are required to submit their study to IRB via Huron for approval. Your thesis chair may assist you with submitting to Huron, or you can reach out to for assistance with this process.

The IRB approval requirement applies even if you are using data that is already collected or available. The UCF IRB office will determine if your study is human research subject to regulation, research exempt from regulation, or not human research. Note: If you are using data associated with a Sociology faculty member’s study that has already been approved by IRB, email to find out any steps you might need to take (e.g. if they need to add you as a co-PI). 

Once you submit your study for approval, IRB will provide you a letter (downloadable from the Huron website) after your submission has been processed.

Once you receive the letter, please email it to so that we can update the checklist item on your Graduate Plan of Study (GPS) report. Note: If you are using data associated with a Sociology faculty member’s study, the faculty member may send me an email stating this, and they will need to include their IRB approval/exemption letter as well. 

The Graduate Admissions Coordinator MUST receive your letter of approval/exemption prior to your graduating semester. 

Step 6: Final Defense & Graduation

You are almost done! When you are enrolled in the last semester, you are eligible to apply for graduation and defend your final thesis. The final defense process includes submitting your thesis for format review, closing your IRB study, defending your thesis, and submitting the final thesis document for approval. Please refer to the Thesis & Dissertation Defense page for more information.


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.