Dissertation Defense

Ph.D. degrees are awarded three times each year however, the commencement ceremony is held only once a year at the end of May. All completing students are eligible to participate in commencement in May regardless of whether the degree was received in October, February or May.

To graduate in May, you must defend and complete all required paperwork with the Graduate School by May 1, no extensions will be granted. Students who submit after May 1st will be eligible to graduate in October.

  • For an October completion, the defense and all required paperwork must be submitted by Friday, September 13.
  • For a February completion, the defense and all required paperwork must be submitted by Friday, January 17.
  • Visit the Graduate School’s Dissertation Guidelines page for all of the information you will need to complete the process. You will find links to the EDT system as well as guidelines and samples of relevant documents there. All dissertations are now submitted electronically.
  • Coordinate with your committee to arrange possible dates/times for your defense. The committee should be given a draft of your thesis 2 weeks prior to your defense to give them time to review it. 
  • Reserve a room for your defense. 
  • Complete Physics Department Defense Form. Submitting this form two weeks prior to your scheduled defense will allow enough time for processing your paperwork before your defense.
  • Create the Thesis Signature Page to bring to your defense.

Note: Thesis Binding Service is offered through the Brown University Library.

  • Bring at least two copies of the required Thesis Signature Page that you have created, to your defense in order to get the required signatures while your committee is gathered together. This will ultimately make your completion easier by eliminating the need to gather individual signatures later. Candidates who want an original signature page signed by the Dean of the Graduate School must include a third signature page. The required 2 pages stay with the Graduate School, if a 3rd page is sent, it will be signed by the Dean and returned to you in campus mail. 
  • See 4S front desk if you would like to borrow a laser pointer for your presentation.
  • Complete all checklist items referenced on the Graduate School’s website (#1-5 under Submission of the Final Copy). 
  • Contact Barbara Bennett at the Graduate School to determine if all steps have been completed so that she can clear you for completion.
  • Submit a completed Physics Exit Survey. This form includes information such as preferred email and forwarding address as well as your post-completion employment, etc. The information you provide will enable us to stay in touch with you and assist us in statistical research. 
  • Return all departmental keys to the 4S front desk.
  • Change your address with all senders of mail (personal, banks, insurance providers, periodicals, etc), and then, arrange to have someone forward any mail that is still delivered here for you.
  • Your Brown electronic services will continue until August. Check out the email forwarding and other services available to you through the Brown Alumni Association.