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Defense and Graduation

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Graduation Application
Graduation Checklist
Document Requirements
ETD Process
PHD Survey
Printing and Checkout
Email Forwarding

Congratulations! This is an exciting time, and we are excited to celebrate you and your accomplishments! Click on the link below to be taken to graduation page for graduate students.

Department Graduating Checklist

  • Apply for graduation via AIM before the deadline –  Indicate if you plan to attend graduation. If you change your mind about attending, please be sure to let Amy know as we need to know who will be participating in graduation. You must be enrolled for two credits in the semester in which you defend.
  • International students only: Apply for OPT, if desired, at least three months before your graduation date. It is vital that you work closely with International Services to remain in status.
  • Send Amy Royer a copy of your thesis/dissertation AT LEAST one week and a day before your defense.  
  • Schedule a date, time and room for your defense. Assure your entire committee will be in attendance. Reserve the room through the department secretary.  Send Amy Royer the date, time, and room.
  • Present and defend your thesis/dissertation.
  • After your defense put the finishing touches on your dissertation/thesis if/as required by your committee.
  • Prepare your thesis or dissertation and submit your ETD on (on ETD tab). Information on the ETD can be found at For ETD technical support, go to the multi-media lab in the media center on the fourth level of the HBLL (library), or call 801-422-5627. 
  • After you submit your ETD it will be reviewed separately by 1) Graduate Studies, 2) Department, 3) Dean's office, and 4) Graduate Studies, and approved or disapproved. If disapproved, complete whatever is required and resubmit it until it is approved. The ETD is a requirement for graduation and must be submitted and approved before submitting the thesis/dissertation online for printing. 
  • Once approved at the 4th level and the last step, go to, scroll to the bottom, click on Order Theses or Dissertations, and order at least 1 copy of your thesis/dissertation. Please make sure to send this copy to C100 BNSN.  You must give verification of your print order to Amy in order to be cleared for graduation. (Things to know for placing your order: choose the blue cover, and gold foil for the text on the cover)  You are required to pay for the copies yourself.
  • Ph.D. students only: Complete the online doctoral survey (SED) and UMI form. The notices will be given to you on the day of your defense. Your graduation will be delayed if they are not submitted promptly.
  • Schedule an exit interview with the department chair's office (Layne Palmer).  Layne will send an email to start this process.
  • A few days before leaving campus, ask Amy for the "Checkout Form" or print it here. Complete and return it to her.
  • Please set up a lifetime e-mail forwarding service by visiting and following the link "Lifetime E-mail Forwarding" under Related Links. By keeping it updated, you will allow us to remain in contact with you in the future.
  • ALL requirements, including credits, ETD and hard copy submission, and doctoral survey (PhDs only), must all be completed by the designated deadline from Graduate Studies. If not, a student's graduation will be delayed and they will be required to register and personally pay for two credits in the subsequent semester.
Department Requirements
Graduate Studies Requirements

Minimum Standards for Submitting Dissertations and Theses

ACS Style Guide (use this for formatting your content)

Thesis/Dissertation Template

All students should project at least one semester in advance what semester they will defend. You will be registered for all remaining credits for that semester. It is vital that you are registered for at least two credits in the semester of your oral defense of your dissertation/thesis. (Spring and Summer terms equal one semester.)

Your dissertation/thesis represents the culmination and “crown jewel” of your graduate research program. It should be a well-organized, well-written, comprehensive compilation of your work. You should expend significant effort to arrange and present your experimental work in an understandable and logical manner. This will help you prepare formal written presentations in your future career. Your dissertation/thesis is taken very seriously by your examination committee.

It is wise to prepare an outline for examination and approval by your faculty advisory committee. However, your dissertation/thesis should demonstrate your own creativity and personality. There are no rigid requirements for the dissertation/thesis organization, but aspects noted in the following sections should be covered. Different formats or sequences might serve better for your dissertation/thesis, but these guidelines provide a framework for your evaluation of the adequacy of your presentation.

A. The first chapter should be an introduction to your entire dissertation/thesis. This introductory chapter should summarize others’ major contributions to your area of investigation and give a reader who is not familiar with your field a good background for your work. This introduction could be a comprehensive review of a small area, or a review confined to a specific part of a large area in which your dissertation/thesis fits. In either case, the importance of your research should be established, and a description of how and where your work fits into the field should be included. Your subsequent divisions could be separate chapters, if your dissertation/thesis represents one major project. If other chapters describe a series of studies, it might be preferable to include comparable sections within each chapter. A summary and conclusions chapter should present a candid assessment of the successes and short-comings of your research, and suggest recommendations for further work to extend and/or clarify your discoveries.

B. Your experimental section should be written with the goal of making your work readily available for straightforward repetition and/or extension by others. Excessive details for well-known procedures, or repetition of closely analogous items, should be avoided, but sufficient explicit information should be included to allow ready duplication of your work. The highly condensed style used by many professional journals, which often requires significant interpretation and/or secondary experimentation by skilled researchers, is not adequate for your dissertation/thesis.

C. A results section should present the major findings of your dissertation/thesis clearly and concisely without undue repetition of experimental details and conditions, except where necessary to emphasize or clarify key points.

D. A discussion section should not just recapitulate your results, but should also critically evaluate and discuss your results in the context of your overall effort and the larger research field. Combination of results and discussion sections might be appropriate in some cases.

Your faculty advisory chair should work with you until your dissertation/thesis is of publication quality. “First draft” efforts with numerous spelling, grammatical, computer format (spacing and font problems), and other errors should never be presented to your examination committee. Such a preliminary effort would be embarrassing to you and to your faculty advisory chair, since it reveals a glaring lapse of professionalism.

The members of your faculty advisory/examination committee have the responsibility to read carefully and evaluate critically your entire dissertation/thesis. Your dissertation/thesis does not have to be perfect, but you should desire, and seriously attempt, to make it your best effort. Journal editors, referees, and grant evaluation panels place significant emphasis on professionalism, scientific accuracy, and ethics demonstrated in manuscripts submitted for publication and proposals submitted for research funding. Your dissertation/thesis will usually represent a major independent effort in this demanding aspect of professional research and formal writing.

ALL REQUIREMENTS can be found at, under the 'resource' tab.

To ensure that each thesis and dissertation is legible and accessible in printed and digital format, BYU Graduate Studies requires:

  • US Letter sized pages (BYU Print and Mail suggests margins of at least ¾” to ensure quality of printed and bound documents)
  • All fonts embedded in the PDF
  • Bookmarks for each chapter and heading that is present in the table of contents section in the PDF

Checklist for preparing your title page and preliminary pages

Sample Title Page
Sample Preliminary Pages
ETD Formatting Classes and Tutorials

  1. Schedule a tentative date, time, and room for your defense. Please make sure that the entire committee will be able to attend in-person.
  2. Send Amy Royer a pdf of the thesis or dissertation at least one week a day before the defense. Amy will upload the document to for the committee to review. The committee has one week to read the document and to certify that the student is ready to defend.
    1. Include in the email the tentative date, time, and location for the defense.

After the defense:

  1. Complete changes to the document requested during the defense.
    1. Receive approval, from the committee PI, that the document is complete.

Once the approval has been given and the system has been updated to show an official "pass" of the defense, the next step is the ETD process.


By Graduate Studies policy, all theses and dissertations must be submitted electronically as an ETD, thus allowing greater accessibility to it by scholars all over the world via the Internet. Instructions for preparing your ETD are available online. The ETD must be submitted in a timely manner so as to allow time for all approvals before the deadline.

  1. Make sure document is ready for the ETD submission
    1. Make sure to be aware of ETD requirements
  2. Submit the ETD
    1. Go to
    2. Click on the ETD tab
    3. Fill out the publication details
    4. Upload the final pdf to the document tab, next to the publication details tab
  3. The ETD will go through a four-step approval process
    1. Graduate Studies
    2. Department
    3. Dean's office
    4. Graduate Studies

All doctoral (PhD) graduate students need to complete the Survey of Earned Doctorates (SED). Doctoral students will register directly via the Web and instantaneously receive a PIN and password, as well as the URL to the survey. With this information, you can access and complete the entire survey online. The registration URL is: For more here information, click here.

Once the survey is complete, please make sure that you received a confirmation email that the survey is complete.

Once the final step in the ETD has been approved, a bound copy of the thesis or dissertation will need to be printed. Visit print and mail to have a copy sent to C100 BNSN. The cost of the printing is the responsibility of the student.

Also, each graduate will need to check-out of the department. This is usually done the last day on-campus. The checkout form can be found here.

BYU Alumni Association offers a free email forwarding service for BYU alumni. If interested, click here to be directed to the alumni website.