Graduate Study Timeline

Follow the timeline below to advance through your graduate program in the proper sequence. Using this timeline will help ensure that you meet the necessary requirements for graduation. The process begins after you are admitted to the Graduate College, and it culminates with your degree conferral.

Master's Students

Step 1: Meet with Graduate Coordinator/Advisor

  • Please contact your department to determine who your graduate coordinator or advisor is, and make an appointment to meet them to discuss your program plans and requirements.

Step 2: Determine if you need a Graduate Advisory Committee

  • Not all graduate students require an advisory committee, but most do. To determine whether you need a graduate advisory committee, please check with your graduate coordinator or advisor, and review your program requirements in the Graduate Catalog.
  • If you do not require an advisory committee, please continue to step #4.

Step 3: Submit Appointment of Advisory Committee Form

  • If you need a Graduate Advisory Committee, please be aware that your committee must consist of a chair from your department, at least two other faculty from your department, and one Graduate College representative from a different department at UNLV.
  • Note that committee chairs, members, and Graduate College representatives on advisory committees must have appropriate graduate faculty status and permissions. 
  • If after establishing a Graduate Advisory Committee and submitting the Appointment of Advisory Committee Form there is need to change the composition of the committee, the student should complete and submit the Change in Advisory Committee Form to the Graduate College immediately. Both of these forms are available in the Grad Rebel Gateway.

Step 4: Submit Plan of Study Form Parts I and II

  • It is required that you submit the Plan of Study Form Parts I and II before applying for graduation, but it is strongly recommended that you submit the form once you are about halfway through your graduate program.
  • Part I of the Plan of Study Form can be found on the Grad Rebel Gateway. Part II can be found in the Degrees Directory.
  • For master’s students not completing a thesis or professional paper, continue to step #6.

Step 5: Submit Prospectus Approval Form

  • All students required to have a graduate advisory committee and defend a final research or creative document must submit the Prospectus Approval Form available in the Grad Rebel Gateway.
  • Registering for thesis credit before approval and submission of this form is prohibited.
  • The final defense of your final research or creative document cannot be approved if your prospectus approval form is not approved prior to your thesis defense.

Step 6: Apply for graduation

  • You may apply for graduation in MyUNLV up to two semesters prior to your intended semester of graduation, but you MUST SUBMIT all forms (except your culminating experience forms) prior to applying to graduate.
  • You must be enrolled in at least three graduate-level credits the semester that you graduate. Completing courses from prior semesters with X or I grades will not be counted toward the graduation enrollment requirement.
  • Late application requests should be sent to grad.rpc@unlv.edu. If approved, the student will also be responsible for paying an additional late fee of $20.
  • Learn more about graduation application and instructions.

Step 7: Announce the time, date, and location of your defense

  • Defenses are public and must be advertised (date, time, location) on campus. Instructions on how to announce your defense can be found on this PDF document. All defenses must be publicized through the Graduate College two weeks prior to the defense; please email defense announcements to gradrebel@unlv.edu.
  • After you have sent your defense announcement to the Graduate College, it will be entered into both the Graduate College and University Events Calendars. After it has been entered, you will receive email confirmation. If you need to cancel or reschedule your defense, please contact our office as soon as possible to ensure that you meet all your deadlines.

Step 8: Defend Thesis

  • Be sure that you hold your defense no less than three weeks prior to the last day of instruction. Each semester we post a last day to defend your thesis deadline on our website here.
  • All theses must be submitted to iThenticate for a similarity check prior to submission of the final document to the Graduate College. A copy of the similarity report must be submitted to the student’s advisory committee prior to the final defense, and will be taken into account when determining the outcome of the defense. If the student passes their defense, the first page of the text only summary report must be uploaded into the Culminating Experience Results form in the Grad Rebel Gateway before submission to the Graduate College.

Step 9: Submit Culminating Experience Results Form

  • For students completing a thesis, taking final exams, completing professional papers, or doing other approved culminating experiences, you must submit the results of your oral defense, final exam or project defense immediately after you receive them or it is recommended no more than two weeks prior to the last day of instruction.
  • For students completing a thesis, the first page of the iThenticate text only summary report must be uploaded into the Culminating Experience Results form in the Grad Rebel Gateway before submission to the Graduate College.
  • For master’s students not completing a thesis, continue to step #12.

Step 10: Thesis Format Review

  • Document formatting must meet the requirements set forth in the Graduate College Formatting Guidelines. Be sure that you have prepared your final document in the appropriate style (follow the Style Manual directed by your advisors); all items not dictated by the Graduate College Formatting Guidelines will be determined by your style guide. It is the student and the graduate advisory committee’s responsibility to ensure that style and formatting are done appropriately and to specifications.
  • A breakdown of all the requirements is available in the Graduate College Thesis and Dissertation Guidelines. A printable version of all the formatting manuals with instructions on how to do each item can be found in the Step-by-Step How to Format Your Thesis or Dissertation Manual

Step 11: Upload to ProQuest & Digital Scholarship @ UNLV

  • This is a mandatory final step in the process of completing your thesis. Once you have successfully uploaded your document to ProQuest, it will be copied to DigitalScholarship@unlv.edu, the University’s open-source online document repository.
  • You may not upload your electronic document until you receive an email invitation from the Graduate College containing ProQuest upload instructions and your final document with the approval page. Invitations are sent out after the formatting of your electronic document has been approved by the Graduate College and your culminating experience results form has been verified by the Graduate College.

Step 12: Graduate!

  • Your degree will be conferred after you have fulfilled all degree requirements, submitted all your required signed forms, and submitted your final documents (via ProQuest submission for Master’s thesis and Doctoral students). You may not participate in commencement prior to completing all degree requirements.
  • Learn more about completing your academic program and preparing for the commencement ceremony.
  • Please note: diplomas are mailed approximately 8 to 10 weeks after the end of the semester.

Doctoral Students

Step 1: Meet with Advisor

  • Please contact your department to determine who your graduate coordinator or advisor is, and make an appointment to meet them to discuss your program plans and requirements.

Step 2: Submit Appointment of Advisory Committee Form

  • If you need a Graduate Advisory Committee, please be aware that your committee must consist of a chair from your department, at least two other faculty from your department, and one Graduate College representative from a different department at UNLV.
  • Note that committee chairs, members, and Graduate College representatives on advisory committees must have appropriate graduate faculty status and permissions.
  • If after establishing a Graduate Advisory Committee and submitting the Appointment of Advisory Committee Form, there is need to change the composition of the committee, the student should complete and submit the Change in Advisory Committee form to the Graduate College immediately. Both of these forms are available in the Grad Rebel Gateway.

Step 3: Submit Plan of Study Form Parts I and II

  • It is required that you submit the Plan of Study Form Parts I and II before applying for graduation, but it is strongly recommended that you submit the form once you are about halfway through your graduate program.
  • Part I of the Plan of Study Form can be found on the Grad Rebel Gateway. Part II can be found in the Degrees Directory.
  • For master's students not completing a thesis or professional paper, continue to step #6.

Step 4: Submit Advancement to Doctoral Candidacy Form

  • This step typically occurs after you have completed all course work, and passed any required qualifying and/or comprehensive exams. This sequence may differ slightly by department, but you must do the Advancement to Doctoral Candidacy Form before enrolling in dissertation credits.
  • The final defense of your final research or creative document cannot be approved if your Advancement to Doctoral Candidacy form is not approved prior to your dissertation defense.

Step 5: Apply for graduation

  • You may apply for graduation in MyUNLV up to two semesters prior to your intended semester of graduation, but you MUST SUBMIT all forms (except your culminating experience forms) prior to applying to graduate.
  • You must be enrolled in at least three graduate-level credits the semester that you graduate. Completing courses from prior semesters with X or I grades will not be counted toward the graduation enrollment requirement.
  • Late application requests should be sent to grad.rpc@unlv.edu. If approved, the student will also be responsible for paying an additional late fee of $20.
  • Learn more about graduation application and instructions.

Step 6: Announce the time, date, and location of your defense

  • Defenses are public and must be advertised (date, time, location) on campus. Instructions on how to announce your defense can be found on this PDF document. All defenses must be publicized through the Graduate College two weeks prior to the defense; please email defense announcements to gradrebel@unlv.edu.
  • After you have sent your defense announcement to the Graduate College, it will be entered into both the Graduate College and University Events Calendars. After it has been entered, you will receive email confirmation. If you need to cancel or reschedule your defense, please contact our office as soon as possible to ensure that you meet all your deadlines.

Step 7: Defend dissertation

  • Be sure that you hold your defense no less than three weeks prior to the last day of instruction. Each semester we post a last day to defend your dissertation deadline on our websitehere.
  • All dissertations must be submitted to iThenticate for a similarity check prior to submission of the final document to the Graduate College. A copy of the similarity report must be submitted to the student’s advisory committee prior to the final defense, and will be taken into account when determining the outcome of the defense. If the student passes their defense, the first page of the text only summary report must be uploaded into the Culminating Experience Results form in the Grad Rebel Gateway before submission to the Graduate College.

Step 8: Submit Culminating Experience Results Form

  • For students completing a dissertation, taking final exams, completing professional papers, or doing other approved culminating experiences, you must submit the results of your oral defense, final exam or project defense immediately after you receive them or it is recommended no more than two weeks prior to the last day of instruction.
  • For students completing a dissertation, the first page of the iThenticate text only summary report must be uploaded into the Culminating Experience Results form in the Grad Rebel Gateway before submission to the Graduate College.

Step 9: Dissertation Format Review

  • Document formatting must meet the requirements set forth in the Graduate College Formatting Guidelines. Be sure that you have prepared your final document in the appropriate style (follow the Style Manual directed by your advisors); all items not dictated by the Graduate College Formatting Guidelines will be determined by your style guide. It is the student and the graduate advisory committee’s responsibility to ensure that style and formatting are done appropriately and to specifications.
  • A breakdown of all the requirements is available in the Graduate College Thesis and Dissertation Guidelines. A printable version of all the formatting manuals with instructions on how to do each item can be found in the Step-by-Step How to Format Your Thesis or Dissertation Manual

Step 10: Upload to ProQuest & Digital Scholarship @UNLV

  • This is a mandatory final step in the process of completing your dissertation. Once you have successfully uploaded your document to ProQuest, it will be copied to DigitalScholarship@unlv.edu, the University’s open-source online document repository.
  • You may not upload your electronic document until you receive an email invitation from the Graduate College containing ProQuest upload instructions and your final document with the approval page. Invitations are sent out after the formatting of your electronic document has been approved by the Graduate College and your culminating experience results form has been verified by the Graduate College.

Step 11: Graduate!

  • Your degree will be conferred after you have fulfilled all degree requirements, submitted all your required signed forms, and submitted your final documents (via ProQuest submission for Master’s thesis and Doctoral students). You may not participate in commencement prior to completing all degree requirements.
  • Learn more about completing your academic program and preparing for the commencement ceremony.

Please note: diplomas are mailed approximately 8 to 10 weeks after the end of the semester.

Certificate Students

Step 1: Meet with Graduate Coordinator/Advisor

  • Please contact your department to determine who your graduate coordinator or advisor is, and make an appointment to meet them to discuss your program plans and requirements.

Step 2: Submit Plan of Study Form Parts I and II

  • It is required that you submit the Plan of Study Form Parts I and II before applying for graduation, but it is strongly recommended that you submit the form once you are about halfway through your graduate program.
  • Part I of the Plan of Study Form can be found on the Grad Rebel Gateway. Part II can be found in the Degrees Directory.

Step 3: Apply for certificate completion

  • You may apply for the awarding of your certificate in MyUNLV up to two semesters prior to your intended semester of completion, but you MUST SUBMIT all forms prior to applying (look for “graduation” in MyUNLV).
  • You must be enrolled in at least three graduate-level credits the semester that you graduate. Completing courses from prior semesters with X or I grades will not be counted toward the graduation/completion enrollment requirement.
  • Late application requests should be sent to grad.rpc@unlv.edu. If approved, the student will also be responsible for paying an additional late fee of $20.

Step 4: Complete your certificate!

  • Your certificate will be conferred after you have fulfilled all degree requirements and submitted all required signed forms.
  • Please note: certificates are mailed approximately 8 to 10 weeks after the end of the semester.

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