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Graduate School

Doctoral Degree Progress

Follow these steps toward the completion of your doctoral degree, preparing to meet milestones from your first months on campus to graduation day.

Spring 2023 Deadlines & Commencement

March 1: Format Check Deadline for Thesis/Dissertation
March 10: Graduation Application Deadline
March 21: Defense Deadline
April 4:
Final Submission Deadline 
May 5:
Commencement, 3 p.m., Colonial Life Arena 
May 6: Commencement, 9:30 a.m., Colonial Life Arena 
May 6:
Doctoral Commencement, 1 p.m., Koger Center 
May 6:
 Commencement, 3 p.m., Colonial Life Arena 

Summer 2023 Deadlines

July 6: Format Check Deadline for Thesis/Dissertation
July 14: Defense Deadline
July 18:
Graduation Application Deadline
July 24: 
Final Submission Deadline 
August 15: Summer Graduation (No Commencement Ceremony)

Steps to Doctoral Degree

Your degree program may have additional requirements and deadlines, such as a language proficiency exam. Check with your advisor about specific degree requirements for your program of study.

1. Choose Your Committees

Doctoral Committee Appointment Request (DCA)

Your Doctoral Advisory, Comprehensive Examination and Dissertation Committees may be appointed at the same time.

When should this be completed?

Doctoral Advisory Committee
Should be appointed by the end of your first term of enrollment. 

Comprehensive Exam Committee
Should be approved before or when your comprehensive exam is scheduled. 

Dissertation Committee
Should be approved before you enroll in your first Dissertation Preparation hours. 

2. Complete Admission to Candidacy Procedures 

Sign up for the Qualifying Exam
All candidates for a Doctoral degree must take the Qualifying Exam. Sign up with your program's graduate director.

Submit Program of Study (POS)

You must submit your approved program of study to the Graduate School.

Program of Study Adjustment Form (POSA)

Make any adjustments to your program of study using this form. 

When should this be completed? 

At least 60 days before you receive your degree. 

3. Complete Program Requirements

Course Requirements

Check with your program for specific course requirements.

Comprehensive Exam

All candidates for a doctoral degree must pass a written and oral comprehensive examination conducted by your academic program under the direction of your Written and Oral Comprehensive Examination Committee.

When should this be completed?

By your final term of study. 

4. Submit Dissertation Draft & Schedule Defense

Submit Dissertation Draft

You should submit your dissertation draft to your advisor and your thesis committee.

Schedule Your Defense

Schedule your dissertation defense with your advisor and thesis committee.

When should this be completed?

Refer to your committee for your dissertation draft due date. See deadlines on the Graduate School calendar  to schedule a defense and submit an announcement through your department.. 

5. Check Dissertation Format

Formatting Requirements »
The Graduate School has very specific formatting requirements for your thesis. Check that your formatting is correct before you submit your thesis or you will be required to reformat and resubmit.

When should this be completed?

In your final term of study before you submit your dissertation. See deadlines on the Graduate School calendar for specific dates.

6. Complete Dissertation Defense

Complete your dissertation defense, and make any final revisions required by your Committee and the Graduate School.

When should this be completed?

In your final term of study before you submit your dissertation. See deadlines on the Graduate School calendar for specific dates.

8. Submit Signature & Approval Form and Survey of Earned Doctorates

Dissertation Signature & Approval Form

Deliver your completed form and documentation of completion of the Survey of Earned Doctorates (SED) in an envelope or folder marked G-DSF/SED. 

How to Address Your Envelope 

Attn: [Graduate School Coordinator for Your Program]
The Graduate School 
1705 College Street
Suite 552
Close-Hipp Building
Columbia, SC 29208

Make sure your envelope is also marked G-DSF/SED.

When should this be completed?

In your final term of study.

10.  Send Hooding Program Information

Doctoral Hooding Information

Submit information to be printed in the Doctoral Commencement program through the Doctoral Hooding Information Portal.  This is required of all doctoral graduates, even if you are not planning to attend the ceremony.

When should this be completed?

In your final term of study. 


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