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.

When submitting required forms, please deliver your signed originals to the Graduate College in FDH 352. We do not require any additional copies. If you would like a copy for your records, please make one for yourself before submitting your original to the Graduate College. All approved student forms are archived online and are available for your Graduate Coordinator to see and access.

Master's and Certificate Students

Step 1: Meet with Advisor

  • Your department will assign an advisor when you're admitted to the Graduate College. Please contact your department to determine your advisor, 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 require an advisory committee, you must select this committee before completing 12-16 credit hours, and prior to submitting your Degree Audit Companion Form.
  • 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 Committee 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 and graduate college representatives on advisory committees must have full graduate faculty status and be full-time faculty at UNLV. Graduate advisory committee members may hold either full or associate graduate faculty status.
  • 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.

Step 4: Submit Degree Audit Companion Form

  • It is required that you submit the Degree Audit Companion Form before applying for graduation, but it is strongly recommended that you submit the form once you have completed 12-16 credit hours toward your graduate program.
  • This form must be submitted together with a print out of your Degree Audit Report from MyUNLV and may only be used by students using the degree program requirements for the 2013-2014, or later, edition of the Graduate Catalog.
  • List all currently enrolled or completed courses that are not currently listed on your Degree Audit Advisory Report, but that you intend to use toward your degree. You may submit more than one Degree Audit Companion Form as you progress through your program, if needed, to reflect changes or updates.
  • For master’s students not completing a thesis or professional paper, continue to step #6.
  • For students completing a certificate, 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 to the Graduate College, along with a 1-3 page abstract of your proposal.
  • 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

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

  • 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 attached to the Culminating Experience Results form before submission to the Graduate College.

Step 9: Submit Culminating Experience Results Form

  • For students taking final exams, completing professional papers, or doing other approved culminating experiences, you must submit the results of your 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 attached to the Culminating Experience Results form 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

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

  • Your department will assign an advisor when you're admitted to the Graduate College. Please contact your department to determine your advisor, 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 Committee 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 and graduate college representatives on advisory committees must have full graduate faculty status and be full-time faculty at UNLV. Graduate advisory committee members may hold either full or associate graduate faculty status.
  • 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.

Step 3: Submit Degree Audit Companion Form

  • It is required that you submit the Degree Audit Companion Form before applying for graduation, but it is strongly recommended that you submit the form once you have completed 12-16 credit hours toward your graduate program.
  • This form must be submitted together with a print out of your Degree Audit Report from MyUNLV and may only be used by students using the degree program requirements for the 2013-2014, or later, edition of the Graduate Catalog.
  • List all currently enrolled or completed courses that are not currently listed on your Degree Audit Advisory Report, but that you intend to use toward your degree. You may submit more than one Degree Audit Companion Form as you progress through your program, if needed, to reflect changes or updates.

Step 4: 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 to the Graduate College, along with a 1-3 page abstract of your proposal.
  • Doctoral students should submit this form when you submit your degree audit companion form, and prior to advancing to candidacy.
  • Registering for dissertation credits 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 dissertation defense.

Step 5: Submit Advancement to Doctoral Candidacy Form

  • This step typically occurs after you have completed all course work, passed any required qualifying and/or comprehensive exams, completed your prospectus, and have had it, along with your description, approved by the Dean of the Graduate College. This sequence may differ slightly by department, but you must the Advancement to Doctoral Candidacy Form before enrolling in dissertation credits.

Step 6: Apply for graduation

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

Step 8: 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 website here.
  • 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 attached to the Culminating Experience Results form before submission to the Graduate College.

Step 9: Submit Culminating Experience Results Form

  • For students taking final exams, completing professional papers, or doing other approved culminating experiences, you must submit the results of your 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 attached to the Culminating Experience Results form before submission to the Graduate College.

Step 10: 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 11: Upload to ProQuest & Digital Scholarship @ UNLV

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.

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