Important Milestones and Paperwork

Every Semester

Yes, We Mean EVERY Semester

  • Register for classes at least two weeks before the first day of classes
  • Tuition remission – for GRA's - at least six weeks before the first day of classes:
  • If taking an outside course:
    • Obtain course approval from the program director as early as possible
    • If needed, obtain approval from the course instructor to take the course (even if approval is not needed, it is a good idea to contact the course instructor to learn more about the course!)
    • Complete Inter-institutional Enrollment Form and submit to the program coordinator (who will process it with the Graduate School)
    • You will receive an e-mail from the Graduate School explaining how to complete your registration – please read this carefully and follow all instructions to make sure you are properly registered for the desired course



Every Year


  • Meet with program director and update your Plan of Study
  • Submit conference abstract(s)
  • Submit publications to peer-reviewed journals
  • Apply for funding, if relevant – check requirements and timelines well in advance


Dissertation Proposal Stage
  • Select a dissertation chair (usually during the same semester as you take SOWK 812: Integrative Seminar) – submit Nomination of PhD Dissertation Chair form to program director for signature
  • Select dissertation committee members (in consultation with dissertation chair and with approval of the program director) – submit Nomination of PhD Dissertation Committee form to program director for signature
  • Submit draft of proposal to committee members (after dissertation chair approves the proposal) at least four weeks, preferably six weeks, before you hope to defend the proposal
  • Consult with your dissertation chair (and program coordinator or director if needed) about scheduling the proposal defense and reserving a room and technology (if needed)
  • At least two weeks before the proposal defense, once committee members approve the proposal as ready to defend, submit the Dissertation Proposal Readiness Form to the program director
  • After the defense, your Dissertation Chair will need to submit the completed Dissertation Proposal Defense Report to the program coordinator
  • Provide a copy of the approved proposal to the program coordinator
Candidacy Stage
  • Check Graduate School website for all important due dates – they will be earlier than you expect AND you are responsible for knowing when these are
  • Immediately after your proposal defense
    • Apply for admission to candidacy – Application for Admission to Candidacy
      • Please follow all instructions on this form
      • Candidacy requires a successfully defended dissertation proposal and completion of all course requirements and comprehensive exam
      • Program director will review, sign, and submit to the Graduate School
    • Submit Nomination of Members of Final Doctoral Examination Committee form
      • Include CV for outside member if he or she is not a Graduate Faculty member
      • Program director will review, sign, and submit to the Graduate School
  • Take 12 SOWK 899 Dissertation credits (maximum 6 per semester – you have to be enrolled for at least two semesters between admission to candidacy and graduation) – please consult with your dissertation chair and/or program director about timing for completing your dissertation and number of credits to take per semester
  • Submit draft of dissertation to committee members (after dissertation chair approves the dissertation) at least four weeks, preferably six weeks, before you hope to defend the dissertation
  • After the defense, submit the Dissertation Defense Report form to the Graduate School after submitting a copy to the program coordinator
    • After this is submitted, the Graduate School will send you an e-mail with information on additional requirements
  • Provide a copy of the approved dissertation to the program coordinator


  • Application for Diploma – LOG IN to SURFS to submit the application early in the semester in which you plan to graduate – the due date for this varies a bit from year to year but look for it in September for fall graduations and in January for spring graduations
  • After dissertation defense, submit dissertation online at ProQuest
  • PhD Program Milestones


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