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Current Students

Preparing for a PhD Defense


Student Status

You may submit the final corrected copies of your dissertation as soon as you address any remaining comments that were brought up during the defense or noted in the registration copy of your dissertation, which will be returned to you usually within a few days before or after the defense. If additional time is needed to address the comments, in Arts, Sciences and Engineering you are provided up to one semester following the defense during which you can remain a full-time student. Your degree conferral date will depend on when you submit the final corrected copies of your dissertation.

Final Corrected Copies of the Dissertation

The day after your defense, you will receive a document via email from the University Dean of Graduate Studies that provides instructions on how to submit the final corrected copies of your dissertation through ProQuest; how to provide authorization for the release of your dissertation through UR Research; a link to an online exit survey that must be completed; and instructions on how to verify to the University Dean of Graduate Studies’ office that the dissertation has been submitted.

Department/Program Requirements Prior to Termination of Student Status

Each department and program has its own process for students who are ending their student status. Be sure to check with your Graduate Administrator to determine if there is additional paperwork that you’ll need to complete before your student status is terminated.

Publishing Your Final Dissertation

The University of Rochester requires all doctoral candidates to deposit their dissertations for publication with ProQuest Dissertation Publishing and with the University libraries. Hard copies of the dissertations are not required by the Graduate Studies Office or the Library. The Library receives an electronic copy of the dissertation from ProQuest, but students must give the University their permission to obtain it. For questions regarding publishing through ProQuest, contact Author Relations at or 800.521.0600 ext. 77020.

Binding Your Final Dissertation

Your department may want a bound copy of your dissertation. Please check with your Graduate Administrator to determine this and how the cost of binding is covered. You may also want a bound copy for yourself and others. Printed and bound color copies are available for purchase through ProQuest.

Date of Degree Completion

Degree requirements are met on the day your final dissertation is submitted online to ProQuest.

Date of Degree Conferral

Conferral is the act of officially awarding a degree. The University of Rochester Board of Trustees confers degrees 5 times each year (August, October, March, May and December). The PhD conferral date will be determined by the date that the final dissertation is uploaded to Proquest, which is the completion of PhD requirements.
The University of Graduate Studies Office sets the specific deadlines for conferrals on an annual basis. The general time frames for conferrals are:

August Conferral Date: Completion of PhD requirements Late-April through Late-July
October Conferral Date: Completion of PhD requirements Late-August through Mid-September
December Conferral Date: Completion of PhD requirements Late-September through Mid-November 
March Conferral Date:  Completion of PhD requirements Late-November through Mid-February 
May Conferral Date: Completion of PhD requirements Late-February through Mid-April

Exact deadlines for completion in a given semester are published in the AS&E academic calendar.


The graduation ceremony for all University of Rochester doctoral candidates is held in May of each year. Only the students who have completed degree requirements including the submission of the final dissertation to ProQuest are eligible to participate in the ceremony. Diplomas are distributed at Commencement or mailed to those who do not attend.

Information on the Commencement Ceremony and graduation regalia will be mailed to you in early-March.

Proof of Completion

Many employers want “proof” of the degree earned. The University Graduate Studies Office (Wallis Hall, room 259-260) can provide you with a letter indicating the date degree requirements were satisfied and the date the Board of Trustees will confer/conferred the degree. This is your best option for proof of degree immediately following graduate school.

You may also supply employers with your official transcript, which will be annotated to include the date of degree conferral after conferral occurs (August, October, December, March or May).

Your diploma can also be used as proof of the degree if you wish to copy it for an employer.

Some employers work with agencies that search for, screen and hire employees. They often submit forms to the academic institution that request enrollment information as well as degree verification. The Registrar will provide this information to an agency if your signature is provided with the forms indicating approval of the release of information.

Student Loans

If your student loans have been in deferment, you’ll need to notify your loan servicer of a completion date. Some loan servicers accept the completion date via a phone call while other servicers require that you submit a final loan deferment request form or letter from your Registrar before the repayment process can begin. Once a completion date is reported, your loan servicer will provide you with the information needed to start repayment or to continue deferred status, when applicable.

Health Insurance

Your end of program decisions may impact your health insurance options. You should check your health insurance status to assure continuing coverage and access to health care following graduation.  If you are enrolled in the University-sponsored Aetna Student Health Insurance plan, coverage continues through the end of the semester in which you cease to be a full-time registered student. If you are graduating in the fall, the end date is January 31st. If you are graduating in the spring, coverage ends on July 31. Your dependents’ coverage ends the same time that your coverage ends.

To learn more about your insurance options upon graduation, visit the UHS Insurance website.

UR Email Address

Student UR email addresses will remain active for one year after completion of the degree. You will receive reminder notices before your account is de-activated. If you have questions about this, please contact University IT.  If you remain at UR after your defense, your email address will be transferred to a non-student account by the hiring department.

Stay in Touch

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