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Graduation Procedure(MS and phd candidates)

SEAS requires Electronic Thesis and Dissertation (ETD) submission.

ETDs save library and department shelf space while providing world-wide access to UVa scholarly works. M.S. and PhD candidates save time with a streamlined workflow. Students are no longer be required to pay for printing and binding their manuscripts and submission of their dissertations to Proquest. They are no longer required to visit the Dean’s Office for a “format check” prior to printing, and to obtain the Dean’s signature. Although students should keep potential readers in mind when they format their thesis/dissertation, there is no longer a need to rigidly conform to page size and margins. Libra will accept any single pdf document and additional supplemental files, if needed. PhD candidates are no longer required to submit their dissertations to Proquest, although they may do so at their option. Students may also choose to file for copyright protection.

Because electronic documents enjoy wider distribution than bound copies, students must be even more vigilant about copyright issues. Dissertations and theses in Libra will be given the same world-wide access as those submitted to Proquest. You may choose an embargo period up to five-years during which time there will be no access to the manuscript in Libra.

There are no SEAS format requirements or restrictions. Students, advisors and committees are responsible for ensuring that theses and dissertations are clear, readable and professionally presented. Students are responsible for ensuring that they upload the final, approved version of their thesis/dissertation with the appropriate title and approval pages. Documents in Libra cannot be deleted or corrected.



At the beginning of the semester in which you expect to graduate

Apply for Graduation in SIS (deadline: February 1 for spring, June 1 for summer or October 1 for fall)

You must log into your SIS Student Center, select “Apply for Graduation” from the “Other Academic…” drop down box. Select the correct program and degree, verify that your name is correct and as you wish it to be printed on your diploma. If you wish to make changes, you may edit your diploma name. Click Submit Application to complete the process. For more instructions, see . NOTE: If you do not graduate in the term for which you applied, you MUST reapply in SIS for a later term.

Verify in SIS that you have satisfied all academic requirements (except Thesis/Dissertation Defense and Thesis/ Dissertation Submitted to Libra).

Log into SIS Student Center, select “Academic Requirements” from the “Other Academic…” drop down box. All courses with Incomplete, No Grade and blank grades must be graded before you graduate. Courses in which you are currently enrolled should be graded by the end of the semester. Contact instructors to resolve grading problems from previous semesters.

Academic requirements of the degree for which you have applied to graduate must be satisfied. If you have more than one degree plan, you will see requirements for other plans. Requirements for degrees for which you did NOT apply to graduate do not need to be satisfied.

Requirements listed above and including Thesis Submitted to Libra/Dissertation Submitted to Libra milestone are SEAS requirements (title of the requirement group ends in “SEAS Requirement”). Requests for changes, exceptions or waivers to SEAS requirements must be submitted to the Graduate Studies Office (Request Requirement Change, Exception or Waiver).

Other requirements are specific to your program. You must request waivers and exceptions from your program.

Read through the ETD Submissions Requirements Checklist

Pay particular attention to Copyright Considerations with ETDs and the ETD Deposit Agreement. If you use other’s work (images, charts, drawings, photographs, computer programs, etc.) in your thesis or dissertation, you must EITHER obtain the copyright holder’s permission OR make a good faith effort to make a Fair Use determination. The Copyright Essentials page has links to several Fair Use checklists and evaluator tools that can help you determine if your use to copyrighted material is covered under Fair Use. Read through the ETD Submission Requirements Checklist before you deposit.

Plan your time carefully

In order to graduate, your thesis/dissertation must be submitted to Libra by the deadline for that term. The deadline is announced early in the semester by email, but you can count on it being some time around the last day of classes.

You should plan your defense no later than 2 weeks before the deadline for submission. Some departments require you to provide your thesis/dissertation to your committee 2 weeks prior to the exam, and the committee should obviously be appointed before you surprise them with a draft of your thesis/dissertation. It can be difficult to find a time that is convenient for your entire committee to meet, so adding a couple of extra weeks in the schedule is a good idea.

By mid-semester: submit a Final Examination Committee form to request appointment of your examining committee. Talk with members about their schedules for the time frame in which you plan to defend. Pick a date and get it on their calendars. ** Summer session is short and it is particularly difficult to get a committee together in the summer. If you plan to graduate in the summer, push this step up to the beginning of the summer session or earlier.

At least one month before the end of the semester: Distribute your thesis to committee members.

At least 2 weeks prior to the deadline: Defend, complete any required corrections and additions, and have a final copy of your thesis/dissertation ready to submit before the deadline.

When you and your advisor agree that you are ready to defend your thesis or dissertation

Submit a Final Examination Committee form to request appointment of your examining committee (if you haven’t already done this).

Your proposed examining committee must be approved by your program and the Dean’s Office two weeks prior to the exam.

Schedule your defense, and use the Approval Sheet & Title Page form on our website.

Take your Report on Final Exam, Thesis and Dissertation Assessment, list of publications and completed Approval Sheet & Title Page to your defense. Committee members may sign the forms on the spot or may require changes and corrections to your thesis/dissertation before final approval. Faculty do not sign the Approval Sheet – typed names on this document only, please (with the exception of Dean Benson and yourself, if desired).

Note: The thesis/dissertation title on the Report on Final Exam form is the final title we will use for your Libra upload. Please use the University of Virginia Registrar’s dissertation title guidelines for capitalization and punctuation.

After you pass the final defense

Complete the online Survey of Earned Doctorates (PhD only)

Print the Certificate of Completion and email it to Barbara Graves. You may also email a copy to your parents and/or spouse to post on the refrigerator at home.

MS Thesis Defense or PhD Dissertation Defense Milestone

After you have completed all required corrections to your thesis or dissertation, and have submitted your Survey of Earned Doctorates certificate (PhD only) to Barbara Graves, your program representative will sign the Report of Final Exam indicating that you have completed all requirements for your degree. That form along with the Thesis and Dissertation Assessment and Survey of Earned Doctorates certificate will be forwarded to the Graduate Studies Office. Your MS Thesis Defense or PhD Dissertation Defense milestone in SIS (Academic Requirements) will show Satisfied. This may take a few days during the busiest time.

Upload your Thesis or Dissertation

After your MS Thesis Defense or PhD Dissertation Defense milestone is satisfied in SIS, it is sent to Libra. When Libra has received your SIS record, you will receive an email telling you to upload your Thesis or Dissertation. You will not have access to the Libra systems until you receive the email confirmation from Libra. Your pdf must include the appropriate title and approval pages as well as your complete, final, approved thesis or dissertation. Please note that the approval page shall include the typed names of your committee members, but not their actual signatures (as the signatures should not be posted online). If you do not have access to Adobe Acrobat Pro, or other package that merges pdf documents, you may reserve a workstation in the UVa Digital Media Lab in Clemons Library where you can scan your title and signature pages, and merge them with your thesis/dissertation pdf to create one document.

After you receive your “OK to Upload” email, go to Libra and follow the instructions to upload your Thesis or Dissertation. Some fields will be pre-populated, others require your input. Please ensure that your upload document is complete; you will not have the option of replacing your uploaded document.

Read through the ETD Submission Requirements Checklist before you deposit.

24 hours after you have successfully uploaded and submitted your thesis or dissertation, please verify that the "Submitted to Libra milestone" in SIS has been updated to reflect that you have completed this requirement.


One final step

Verify that grades are reported for all courses for which you are currently registered. If you are taking a graded course to satisfy a SEAS or program requirement, you must earn at least a C. Your cumulative GPA must be 3.00 or higher. All courses, even those with grading options S/U, CR/NC or AU, must have grades reported in SIS before you can graduate. Watch your Academic Requirements in SIS as the semester grading period closes.