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.

We recognize that the pandemic has affected students and faculty.  If you have struggled to meet the deadlines posted below due to COVID 19, please contact

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.

Doctoral Student Forms are submitted electronically through DocuSign unless otherwise noted.

  1. To begin a new form, simply click the link for the necessary form on our Forms page. Follow the instructions on the Powerform Signer to enter names and NON-ALIAS email addresses for your advisor/committee chair, committee members, and graduate program director, depending on the requirements of the form. 
  2. Enter your NinerNet credentials when prompted and then follow the instructions for data entry, etc. on the form.
  3. You can track your form within DocuSign by logging into using your email address and NinerNet credentials and following the instructions for managing envelopes.
  4. If you have questions or need to make a change after submitting, please contact
  5. For more information about DocuSign, please see this handy video or read these FAQs. 

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 Exam Report of Comprehensive/ Qualifying Examination for Doctoral Students to the Graduate School immediately following the exam.

The Appointment of Doctoral Dissertation or Scholarly Project 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.

Doctoral students must defend their proposal at least a full semester prior to their final term.  Otherwise, there is no calendar deadline for the proposal defense. The Proposal Defense Report for Dissertation is due following the proposal defense.

If your research requires IRB/IACUC/IBC approval, the approval memo email should be forwarded to once you receive it, or at the latest within one day of the final defense. Please specify "Doctoral Documents" in the email subject line.

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 Spring 2021 Graduation February 24, 2021
Application Deadline for Summer 2021 Graduation June 30, 2021

Formatting information can be found under the Thesis and Dissertation tab of this website. Students are also highly encouraged to attend a Formatting Workshop prior to their dissertation defense. Workshops occur approximately every two weeks and can be found on the Center for Graduate Life's calendar. There is also a Formatting and Submission playlist on the Center for Graduate Life's YouTube channel. For further questions, please email Dr. Aura Young

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

At least two weeks prior to their defense, candidates must share their dissertation and iThenticate similarity report with their committee. Also at least two weeks prior to their defense, candidates must submit their dissertation defense announcement on the Graduate School website.

Following the successful completion of this defense, the doctoral candidate must submit the Final Defense Report for Dissertation or Scholarly Project to the Graduate School within one business day of the Final Defense.

The signed dissertation title page and the IRB/IACUC/IBC approval memo, if applicable, must also be forwarded to within one business day of the final defense. Please specify "Doctoral Documents" in the email subject line. (For instructions on how to upload your title page to DocuSign and how to request signatures, please see this short YouTube video.)

Deadline Date
Dissertation/Scholarly Project Defense Deadline for Spring 2021 Graduation April 19, 2021
Dissertation/Scholarly Project Defense Deadline for Summer 2021 Graduation July 29, 2021

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 Doctoral Dissertation Submission & ETD Form to Please specify Doctoral Documents in the subject line. 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 required $45 submission fee and optional $75 copyright registration fee must be made through our online Payment Portal. (Another option is to register your copyright yourself for only $55 at, which you can do at any point.) Hard copies ordered through ProQuest must be paid for on ProQuest's website; otherwise, you will make no payments directly to ProQuest. 

Your dissertation will appear in ProQuest as well as in UNC Charlotte's institutional repository, Niner Commons

Deadline Date
Dissertation/Scholarly Project Submission Deadline for Spring 2021 Graduation April 28, 2021
Dissertation/Scholarly Project Submission Deadline for Summer 2021 Graduation August 5, 2021

For dissertation fomratting information, contact Dr. Aura Young (

For graduation clearance information, contact