It is recommended that the candidate meets with the dissertation committee regularly to keep the committee up-to-date of the dissertation research progress. It is expected that the final dissertation contains new methodology with contents roughly equivalent to three or more publishable research papers.  Because of the review time (up to two years) involved for some statistical journals, the student will not be required to have the dissertation published prior to being approved. However, it is strongly encouraged that the student will have at least one draft statistical manuscript ready for submission by this time. Additionally, students are strongly encouraged to have one or more collaborative publications published or in press. Specific deadlines are indicated in the table below:

Graduation Time Apply for Graduation Initial Dissertation
submission by 5:00pm
Committee Approved Dissertation
submitted by 3:00pm
May January 25 March 17 April 3
September June 15 July 11 July 25
December October 15 November 7 November 21


Preparation of Dissertation: Basic requirements for preparing and submitting the dissertation are prescribed in the “Guide for Electronic Submission of Thesis and Dissertation”.

Application for Graduation: Candidate must apply to graduate in the DukeHub student center at least one month before the dissertation is presented and no later than the dates listed in the table above. This application should indicate the approved title of the dissertation and be approved by both the DGS and the dissertation advisor.

Initial Dissertation Submission: Initial submission of electronic doctoral dissertation must submitted via UMI/ProQuest. This submission must take place at least two weeks before your oral final defense and no later than 5:00pm on the deadline dates indicated in the table above. Before initial submission, the dissertation advisor must receive a complete draft of your dissertation. The candidate must request the advisor to send an Advisor Letter (see sample letter in Guide for Electronic Submission of Thesis and Dissertation) and the DGS to submit a Defense Announcement to be emailed to the Graduate School, with the student name as part of the subject line, to: gradacademics@duke.edu.

The doctoral dissertation should normally be submitted and accepted within two calendar years after the preliminary examination is passed. 

Final Oral Defense

Procedures for the final oral defense have been modified. Updated information is available here

It is recommended that the candidate have their committee’s approval for the presentation of the final oral defense. At the end of the fourth (or fifth) year), the student will present their dissertation work orally in a public forum, advertised and open to other members of the department and university. Questions from both committee members and other members of the audience will follow the presentation and will serve as the student's final examination. Additional questioning may take place in an optional closed session attended only by the student and committee members. Afterward, the student will be dismissed so that the student's committee can deliberate and vote on whether to pass the student or to require additional work.

The Director of Graduate Studies will send a notice of the time, place, date, student's name, title of dissertation, and names of the committee members to the Graduate School at least two weeks before the scheduled oral dissertation defense. Members of the doctoral committee must be given at least two weeks to read the dissertation prior to the defense. A committee finding that the candidate has passed or passed with minor revisions should sign the doctoral examination card, as well as title and abstract pages, with the understanding that the dissertation advisor sees and approves the revisions before the dissertation is submitted. The student has up to one month after the examination to make changes in the dissertation requested by the committee to the satisfaction of the dissertation advisor. If revisions are beyond what are considered “minor” by the committee, then the committee must withhold signature of the required documents until the dissertation advisor has approved the revisions. A candidate who has failed the final doctoral examination may be granted a re-examination on the recommendation of the supervising faculty member no sooner than six months after the date of the failed oral defense.

After the defense, the dissertation committee's pass/fail decision will be recorded by the committee chair on an electronic exam card form. This form will be pre-populated by Graduate School staff and emailed directly from The Graduate School to the dissertation committee Chair and DGSA at least 24 hours prior to the scheduled defense. Students graduating in Fall 2020 or Spring 2021 will not need to submit signed title pages or abstract title pages. Students will receive instructions regarding electronic submission of the advisor-approved embargo document in the email they receive from ProQuest after their initial submission has been reviewed by a TGS administrator. Graduating students must also complete the Survey of Earned Doctoral (SED), The Graduate School’s Exit Survey and the Duke Placement survey. Inquiries about how to complete these requirements should be addressed to The Graduate School.

Final Submission of Dissertation: All defended, completed PhD dissertations must be submitted to UMI/ProQuest by 3:00pm on the deadline dates indicated in the table above.

Additional Information may be found on the Graduate School website