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Clemson University Graduate School

Defending Your Thesis or Dissertation

The Defense Process

Each graduate program has its own protocol for scheduling and conducting the defense of ­theses and dissertations. Ensure that you know your department’s procedures and that you follow them. Even if defense information is supplied in your Graduate Program Handbook, it’s always a good idea to consult your advisor for details.

Scheduling and Calendar Requirements

In all cases, you must notify The Graduate School of the date, time, location and other details of your defense at least 10 days prior to your defense. To do that, complete the online form that will add your defense to the defense calendar. Submitting that form will generate an email to The Graduate School, and that email will serve as your official written notification.

If you need to change your defense details, use the Edit Defense Details form. This form has a brief time delay, so when you click “Submit,” it may appear that nothing happens. Your updated defense entry should appear on the calendar shortly.

After Your Defense

Meeting the Deadline

Your defense must be conducted before the final filing deadline for the GS7M (master’s/specialist’s candidates - PDF) or GS7D (doctoral candidates -PDF) form. Check the current student deadlines for more information. Scheduling your defense on, very near, or after the deadline will leave you little or no time to make committee-required revisions to your manuscript and will likely result in delaying your graduation. Schedule your defense as early as you can, but at least several days before the final deadline.

Submitting the Committee-Signed GS7 Form

After you have successfully defended, your committee will do one of three things:

  1. Sign your GS7M or GS7D form;
  2. Require you to make revisions to your manuscript, then sign the GS7M or GS7D; or
  3. Require you to make committee-required revisions to your manuscript and complete the manuscript review by the Graduate School, then sign your GS7M or GS7D.

Any of these options are fine as long as the manuscript review process is completed and your GS7M or GS7D is submitted before the final deadline.

The GS7 forms may be digitally signed by all required signers and then submitted electronically, or may be printed, signed manually and submitted to Enrolled Student Services (104D Sikes Hall, main campus) in person, by mail, or as a scan attached to an email.

Deferring Your Graduation

What if my committee wants major edits after my defense?

What if I am approved, but I prefer to delay graduation so I can walk with my cohort?

What if something comes up and I can’t finish editing/formatting by the deadline?

If your committee requires you to make major revisions and you feel you won’t be able to meet the ETD submission and revision deadlines, or you have another reason for wishing to postpone your graduation, discuss with your advisor the option of delaying your graduation for one term.

If you can complete your manuscript revisions for committee approval, get a format review and acceptance and turn in your GS7, all by the first day of classes for the coming semester, you will be cleared to graduate at the end of that semester without having to enroll in any credit hours or pay tuition. Check the Academic Calendar for the day classes begin for the upcoming semester, and please let Enrolled Student Services know that you are delaying your graduation; they will ensure your diploma and academic record contain your correct graduation date. Also, you will need to reapply through iROAR for the next scheduled graduation.

The Next Step:

Converting Your Manuscript to PDF  

After you have made any committee-required revisions and have compared your manuscript to the Final ETD Checklist, you’ll proceed to the convert stage to create your PDF for publication.

Converting Your Manuscript