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Completing Your Thesis or Dissertation (ETD)

The following list provides a general overview of the Thesis and Dissertation process. Your primary source for Thesis and Dissertation completion information should be the Thesis and Dissertation Webcourse.

This comprehensive, non-credit course is designed to help students learn important skills for completing their thesis or dissertation through five self-paced modules. The course contains vital information on policies, procedures, formatting resources, and more.

Finally, effective planning, awareness, and use of resources, as well as communication with department, program, and college faculty and staff, are also essential to having a successful thesis or dissertation experience.

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  • Step 1   Define Your Research and Form Your Committee

      • Define your research
      • Consult with your adviser to compose a committee
      • Ensure your program is informed of your committee composition
      • Register for Thesis or Dissertation hours through your program
  • Step 2   Learn About Thesis and Dissertation Resources and Requirements

  • Step 3   Set up Your Thesis or Dissertation Document with Proper Formatting

      • Review the formatting module in Thesis and Dissertation Webcourse
      • Set up proper formatting in a Microsoft Word* file using "Heading Styles" and "Captions" (these are required for Word users)
      • Determine when you will need to use your discipline-specific style guide and when to use UCF's Thesis and Dissertation Manual 
  • Step 4   Conduct Your Research and Begin Writing

  • Step 5   Submit Your Document for Initial Format Review

    • In order to qualify for a format review, submissions must include the following: 

        • PDF bookmarks
        • Proper page numbering
        • Correct title page format 
        • An abstract
        • Clickable links in the following sections: table of contents, list of figures, and list of tables (if figures and tables are used)
        • A significant amount of content should be present (at least several chapters)
      • Unformatted documents, outlines, and largely incomplete documents will not be accepted for review
      • The content of the thesis or dissertation does not need to be completely finished to be submitted for initial review (use placeholders for missing content)
      • Format approval is not required upon initial submission; if you do not receive format approval from the initial review you will be notified to resubmit for additional review (see next step)
  • Step 6   Resubmit for Additional Format Reviews as Needed

      • Initial format review comments are typically returned within five days
      • Notification of review completion is sent to your knights email address
      • It is the student's responsibility to check the Thesis and Dissertation Servicessite for format review comments after a review is complete
      • Be sure to RESUBMIT if format approval is not achieved (most students require more than one review to receive approval)
      • As necessary, submit your Microsoft Word file to the Thesis and Dissertation Servicessite Format Help page for technical troubleshooting help
  • Step 7   Doctoral Students: Complete the NORC Survey of Earned Doctorates

      • Doctoral students must complete the NORC Survey of Earned Doctorates at
      • The College of Graduate Studies will receive an email confirmation upon your completion of the NORC SED survey
      • This is an annual census conducted by six federal agencies of all individuals receiving a research doctorate from accredited U.S. institutions
      • Survey data is used to track the number of graduates in various fields; the educational paths of scientists, engineers, and humanists; movement of graduates into the labor market; and similar information
      • Additional information is available on the Survey of Earned Doctorates page.
  • Step 8   Prepare for Your Defense

      • Confirm your defense date with your committee
      • Create your defense announcement using the example in the Thesis and Dissertation Manual 
      • Send your announcement to your program at least two weeks prior to the defense date. NOTE: some programs and colleges have very specific announcement policies 
      • Send your final thesis or dissertation to your committee before your defense date and follow up to receive feedback 
      • Have your committee chair complete the Review for Original Work (through NOTE: the adviser is responsible for scheduling this submission and for reviewing the report results with the advisory committee
      • Your committee must agree that your Review for Original Work results are satisfactory before signing your Approval Form
      • Review the Approval Form page in the Thesis and Dissertation Services site and make any corrections or updates to your name, defense date, and title; hit enter after each correction to save
  • Step 9   Submit Your Thesis or Dissertation Release Option eForm

      • Review the dissemination (release) options for your thesis or dissertation in the Graduate Catalog Dissertation Policies or Thesis Policies section
      • Discuss the dissemination option, title, and defense date for your thesis or dissertation with your adviser

      Submit the Thesis and Dissertation Release Option form at myUCF by navigating to:

        • Student Self Service 
        • Find Graduate Students section (scroll down on the Student Center page; do not use "Graduate Students" link in left-hand menu)
        • Find "Choose Graduate Form" drop down menu
        • Choose TD Release Option from menu
      • This form must list the term in which you will be submitting your thesis or dissertation; if the correct term is not listed, please check your Intent to Graduate
      • This form must be submitted at least one week prior to your defense to allow time for processing
      • The release information will appear on your Defense Approval Form in the Thesis and Dissertation Services site one business day AFTER the TD Release Option form is processed  
      • Your Defense Approval Form must display the release information so it can be approved at the same time they approve your defense
      • If changes are needed to the release information, the student can resubmit the TD Release Option form in their myUCF Student Center
      • The committee chair can also request a change of the release information by emailing
  • Step 10   Defend Your Thesis or Dissertation

      • Print your Approval Form from the Thesis and Dissertation Services site and collect your committee's signatures at the defense, if possible
      • Do not use the Approval form if the release option information is missing (see Step 9 above)
      • Do not use the Approval Form if your committee information is incorrect; contact if incorrect committee is listed
      • Contact your program and college staff to make arrangements to gain signatures from your program director and college dean
      • Ensure that your signed Approval Form is submitted to the College of Graduate Studies by the final submission deadline listed in the Academic Calendar
      • The committee may request changes before they will sign the Approval Form, but the signed form must still be submitted by the final submission deadline 
  • Step 11   Submit Your Final Thesis or Dissertation and Other Requirements

      • Doctoral students must complete the NORC Survey of Earned Doctorates if not completed previously (see Step 7 for details)
      • The College of Graduate Studies will receive an email confirmation upon completion of the NORC SED survey
      • Resubmit for format approval at least one week prior to the final submission deadline (if you did not previously receive approval)
      • Submit your final, bookmarked PDF thesis or dissertation file to the Final Submission page in the Thesis and Dissertation Services site by the final submission deadline
      • NOTE: Final submissions cannot be changed or replaced unless requested by the College of Graduate Studies, so please submit the proper file
      • Your file will not be approved until the College of Graduate Studies receives your Thesis or Dissertation Approval Form
      • Once all final submission information is processed, your milestones will be marked as "completed" and this will serve as your notification of completion
      • Milestones are viewable in your myUCF Student Center under Graduate Students then Thesis and Dissertation Status



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