Timeline Checklist

Timeline for Graduation: Deadlines and Guidelines

Keep track of your deadlines and graduation requirements as you progress toward your degree.

Requirements (milestones) and deadlines:

  • all coursework completed with a minimum GPA of 3.0.
    • completed by end of Spring term of year 2.
  • a minimum of two laboratory rotations (link)
    • successful completion of lab rotations is demonstrated by acceptance into a laboratory by a faculty member for completing your dissertation research. You must be accepted into a laboratory by summer term of year 1.
  • serve as a teaching assistant for 1/2 semester.
    • Completed by Fall term of year 2. Additional teaching opportunities may be available for interested students.
  • two seminar presentations.
    • Completed by Fall term of year 3
  • Exam I (Ph.D. qualifying exam). (link)
    • Completed by Spring/Summer term year 2. Remediation may extend this deadline.
  • Exam IIa and IIb (dissertation proposal and committee meeting). (link)
    • Completed in Fall term (IIa) and Spring term (IIb) of year 3
    • Deadlines are Oct. and March in each term
  • annual research conferences with committee meetings (link)
    • scheduled for Fall term in years 4 and beyond.

To fulfill all requirements for the Ph.D. degree a student must

  1. complete a body of novel research (dissertation).
  2. publish at minimum one 1st author manuscript.
  3. write and publically defend a doctoral dissertation that is acceptable by the dissertation committee and School of Interdisciplinary Graduate Studies.


It is the responsibility of the student to enroll for each term prior to the deadline. (http://louisville.edu/calendars/academic/undergrad-grad). All student fees and late fees are the responsibility of the student.


  1. Check your financial statement through the Bursar’s office and pay any student fees. A hold will be placed on your account that will block you from registering. The DGS can’t remove a financial hold.
  2. Enroll prior to the deadline
  3. Inform the DGS of any advisory hold
  4. All IPIBS-funded Ph.D. students should enroll for MAST 600 for the summer term of yr 2

What to do after you pass Exam I

  1. Enroll in MAST 600 (candidacy) for Summer term (yr 2)
  2. Apply for a M.S. degree (link) and inform the DGS
  3. Request a $500 raise
  4. Enroll in DOCT 600 (candidacy) for the following Fall term (yr 3)

Exam IIa Checklist

  1. DGS will schedule departmental presentations in Oct – Nov.for year 3 students
  2. The student is responsible for scheduling a committee meeting between Oct – Nov of year 3
  3. Submit specific aims page to your committee 1 week prior to the committee meeting
  4. Complete the Annual Progress report form (link) and submit to the DGS and departmental office
  5. Complete the Thesis/Dissertation Advisory Committee Appointment form signed by the Dissertation committee and submit to the DGS and departmental office
  6. Present to the department on your scheduled day.

Exam IIb Checklist

  1. Write a predoctoral fellowship grant proposal on your current research project.
  2. Submit the proposal to your committee no later than February 15th of yr 3.
  3. Revise the proposal based on committee critiques, if needed.
  4. Submit an approved written proposal to the DGS and departmental office. An approved proposal is one signed by all committee members.
  5. Submit the predoctoral fellowship grant proposal to a funding agency (this is a goal, not a requirement)

Annual Committee Meetings and Committee Reports Checklist

A written record of annual progress is required by the department and SIGS.

The DGS will schedule all research conferences for the Fall term. Students will be informed of the schedule by Aug. 1st.

    1. Confirm the date with your mentor and committee members
    2. Have a committee meeting immediately following the research conference*

* A month notification is required for any requested date change.

  1. Two weeks prior to the research conference, submit a written progress report to the committee.
  2. After the meeting, complete the Annual Progress report form (link) and submit to the DGS and departmental office. The student completes Part A and the mentor completes Part B

Ready to Defend Checklist

  1. organize a committee meeting to obtain approval and guidance for preparation of the written dissertation.
  2. Complete the Annual Progress report form (link) and submit to the DGS and departmental office with committee approval for advancing to the writing and defense stage.
  3. Set a dissertation defense date (check deadlines for degree awards)
  4. Inform the DGS and seminar director of the scheduled defense date at least two weeks prior to the defense.
  5. Get approval of your dissertation format from SIGS
  6. Submit the written dissertation to the Dissertation committee members and department Chair at least two weeks prior to the defense date.
  7. Present a public presentation of your dissertation work
  8. Successfully defend your work in a closed committee meeting
  9. Revise the written dissertation, if needed
  10. Obtain committee signatures to demonstrate approval of the dissertation and defense.
  11. Submit all paper work to SIGS prior to the deadlines for graduating in that term.

Graduation Deadlines

It is the responsibility of the student to check SIGS site for deadlines for degree application (http://louisville.edu/registrar/commencement-information.html) and final submission of an approved dissertation (http://louisville.edu/graduate/current-students/thesis-dissertation-information) to be eligible for graduation within the semester that you defend . A student must be enrolled in the semester in which they graduate. If you defend in a Fall term but do not meet the deadlines for Fall graduation, you must enroll in the Spring term to be awarded the degree in that term.

Some general guidelines

  • The degree application deadlines are early in the semester, within a few weeks of the start of classes
  • The deadline for dissertation submission is generally a few weeks prior to the end of the term.

To complete the Defend checklist items 6 – 11 within the semester of your defense, carefully plan the defense date as revisions typically take 1 – 2 weeks.

Graduation Checklist

  1. Apply for the degree early in the term you plan to defend
  2. Complete all requirements by the deadlines for the term you plan to graduate
  3. If you wish to participate in the graduation ceremony, you must have applied for the degree and separately register for graduation and order a cap and gown http://louisville.edu/commencement