Doctoral Checklist

Graduation information for doctoral students

Below you will find step-by-step guidance to walk you through the graduation clearance process.  Please click on each "checkmark" below to navigate your way toward graduation.  Each milestone links directly to the necessary requirements, such as forms, iThenticate, the Survey of Earned Doctorates, and the payment portal.  If you have any questions, please use our FAQs.  Congratulations on reaching this achievement in your education.

Programs may have earlier deadlines. Graduate School deadlines are published in the official Academic Calendar.  Students are responsible for following the policies published in the Graduate Catalog. Forms referenced on this page may be found on the Graduate School Forms web page.

Check your DegreeWorks audit to ensure you are on track to graduate. DegreeWorks is the definitive record for graduation clearance.  Students, faculty, and staff may access DegreeWorks via Students are encouraged to routinely check their degree progress in DegreeWorks.

If you received a master’s degree from UNC Charlotte or another institution and plan to use those courses toward your Doctoral Degree, you must file a Graduate Academic Petition to transfer those courses from your Master’s program into your Doctoral program. Course substitutions and/or other exceptions to your program’s curriculum also require submission of an academic petition.

All doctoral students (DNP students excluded) are required to pass a qualifying examination.  Qualifying assessments are administered by graduate program faculty.  To sit for this examination, the student must have at least a 3.0 program GPA.

The graduate program sends the completed Comprehensive/Qualifying Exam form to the Graduate School immediately following the exam.

Following the qualifying examination, students are eligible to establish a doctoral committee and subsequently defend the proposal of their dissertation/scholarly project topic.  The Appointment of Doctoral Committee form is due at this time.  Students cannot proceed to the proposal defense without an approved committee.  You will receive a copy of the letter via your University email once processed.  For more information about choosing your Graduate Faculty Representative, please visit the Graduate Faculty Representative web page.

Students must defend their proposal at least a full semester prior to their final term.  The Proposal Defense Report is due following the proposal defense.  If you answer ‘Yes’ to any of the three questions found on the form, a copy of the application to the appropriate UNC Charlotte Institutional Review Committee (IRB/IACUC/IBC) must be included. The final IRB/IACUC/IBC approval should then be forwarded to the Graduate School once it is received (no later than the date of final submission to ProQuest). 

All students (doctoral, master’s, certificate) must apply for graduation by the published deadline in the final term.

Students who fail to apply for graduation by the published deadline will not be evaluated for graduation and will be ineligible to participate in the commencement ceremony.

How do I submit the ‘Online Graduation Application’?

  1. Log into

  2. Under Academic Resources, select ‘Student Records’.

  3. Under ‘Student Records’, select ‘Online Graduation Application’.

  4. Click "Continue" if this is the first time a graduation application has been submitted or "Create a New Application" if one has been submitted previously.

  5. After all sections are complete, click the "Submit" button.

The ‘Online Graduation Application’ triggers a review of your academic progress by the Graduate School.  Students who apply to graduate but appear short of meeting all degree/certificate requirements will be notified by email.  As the definitive record for graduation clearance, your individual DegreeWorks audit must reflect that you are on track to graduate in a given term.

Deadline Date
Application Deadline for Summer 2020 Graduation June 30, 2020
Application Deadline for Fall 2020 Graduation October 5, 2020

Students are highly encouraged to attend a Formatting Review meeting prior to their dissertation defense. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Aura Young. Review the formatting requirement manual(s) and and email Aura your document prior to your appointment.

Note: The formatting review does not appear as a milestone in DegreeWorks.

Deadline Date
Formatting Review Deadline for Summer 2020 Graduation July 17, 2020
Formatting Review Deadline for Fall 2020 Graduation October 9, 2020

All doctoral students must hold a final dissertation defense by the deadline published here and on the Registrar’s calendar. The dissertation must be submitted to the committee for final review at least three (3) weeks prior to the date of the final defenseAlong with the dissertation, students must share their iThenticate similarity report with the committee. (It is highly recommended that students upload their work to iThenticate well in advance. More information on how to access and use iThenticate can be found here.)

Following the successful completion of this defense, the doctoral candidate must submit original, signed copies of the Final Defense Report and Dissertation Title Page to the Graduate School no later than one (1) business day following the final defense. These forms should be signed at the defense by the candidate’s committee.

Deadline Date
Dissertation/Scholarly Project Defense Deadline for Summer 2020 Graduation July 24, 2020
Dissertation/Scholarly Project Defense Deadline for Fall 2020 Graduation November 16, 2020

Following the successful completion of the dissertation defense, dissertations must be submitted to ProQuest no later than the published deadline, indicated both on this page as well as on the University calendar.  

At the time of document submission, the doctoral candidate must submit the Submission and ETD Signature form as well as the first page of the iThenticate similarity report to Aura Young. Ph.D. students must complete the Survey of Earned Doctorates. (DNPs, Ed.D.'s, and DBAs are exempt. This survey is in addition to any UNC Charlotte or departmental surveys you might be required to complete.).

Payment for the Submission Fee, Copyright, and Hard Copy Binding must be done through the online Payment Portal.

Deadline Date
Dissertation/Scholarly Project Submission Deadline for Summer 2020 Graduation July 31, 2020
Dissertation/Scholarly Project Submission Deadline for Fall 2020 Graduation November 23, 2020

    Doctoral Graduation Clearance: Aura Young (704-687-7237) or book an appointment.

    Dissertation/Scholarly Project FormattingAura Young (704-687-7237) or book an appointment.