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Graduate Program | Graduation Procedure
(M.S. and Ph.D. Candidates)

The U.Va. Engineering School requires Electronic Thesis and Dissertation (ETD) submission.

Why Electronic?
ETDs save library and departmental shelf space while providing world-wide access to U.Va. scholarly works. M.S. and Ph.D. candidates save time with a streamlined workflow. Students are no longer 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 up to 100MB. Ph.D. 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 two years during which time there will be no access to the manuscript in Libra.

There are no U.Va. Engineering School 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.

Timeline and Workflow

At the beginning of the semester in which you expect to graduate, do the following:

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 the SIS Help Center. 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 the Libra FAQ

Pay particular attention to Copyright Concerns 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 Libra FAQ 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.

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 sometime around the last day of classes.

You should plan your defense no later than two weeks before the deadline for submission. Some departments require that you 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 may 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 recommended.

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 gather a committee 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, do the following:

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 Thesis/Dissertation Cover and Approval Pages 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 Aylor 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, do the following:

Complete the online Survey of Earned Doctorates (Ph.D. 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 proudly post on the refrigerator at home.

M.S. Thesis Defense or Ph.D. Dissertation Defense Milestone

After you have completed all required corrections to your thesis or dissertation, and have submitted your Survey of Earned Doctorates certificate (Ph.D. 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 M.S. Thesis Defense or Ph.D. 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 M.S. Thesis Defense or Ph.D. Dissertation Defense milestone is satisfied in SIS, you may upload ONE pdf document. Your pdf must include the appropriate title and approval pages as well as your complete, final, approved thesis or dissertation. The date of your thesis/dissertation should match the date of your degree (August, December, May) regardless of your defense date. 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 software that merges pdf documents, you may reserve a workstation in the U.Va. 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.

Go to Libra and follow the instructions to upload your document. 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.

  • If your name is incorrect, you may edit it.
  • Your department will be pulled from SIS and is not editable.
  • You must enter your primary advisor’s UVa computing ID (not email alias). His/her name and department will be pulled from LDAP and are not editable.
  • You may enter an additional advisor.
  • The title of your thesis/dissertation will be pulled from SIS (entered from the "Report on Dissertation or Thesis Final Exam" form). You should verify the spelling and alphabetization of your thesis/dissertation title in your Academic Requirement report in the Student Center of SIS (under the Satisfied/Not Satisfied line) prior to beginning the upload process). If this is not your final, correct title, you may not edit it but please contact the SEAS Graduate Office so that the title can also be changed in SIS before uploading.
  • Be sure the type of publication (thesis or dissertation) and level (M.S. or Ph.D.) are correct. If not, contact the SEAS Graduate Office.
  • Abstract and Keywords are not required but are strongly encouraged.

After you have successfully uploaded your thesis or dissertation, the Thesis Submitted to Libra/Dissertation Submitted to Libra milestone (in SIS Academic Requirements) will be set to Satisfied after 9:00pm on the date you upload it.

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.