Steps to Completion

These steps are to assist with the completion of a Thesis, Dissertation, or Doctoral Project. They do not replace the Graduate School deadlines.

Step 1 Deadlines, Templates, and Instructions

Be familiar with the deadlines to ensure you will be able to complete in that semester. There will be no exceptions to the deadlines. Failure to meet a deadline will result in graduation being deferred. It is best to begin writing in the template and be aware of the instructions and resources available on the website.

Step 2 Committee Form

Committee Form must be on file with the Graduate School the semester before your graduating semester. If your committee is changed at any point, a new committee form must be sent to the Graduate School.

Step 3 Proposal/Prospectus Form

Must propose one semester prior to thesis, dissertation, or doctoral project defense. Must be completed by your committee. It is recommended that you verify that the form has been completed and sent to your Degree Auditor. Please do not submit your proposal/prospectus into Aquila.

Step 4 Apply For Graduation

See deadlines for last day to apply for graduation. Submitting past the deadline will result in you having to pay a late fee. Please submit your completed application along with your receipt to your Degree Auditor.

Step 5 Commencement Form (Doctoral Candidates Only)

The purpose of the form is to provide the Documents Specialist with information that will go into the commencement program. Make sure spelling, grammar, and content is accurate. It is best to have it thoroughly checked by your committee chair as there will be no changing of content once the form is submitted.

Step 6 Result of Oral Defense Form

Must defend and submit form before deadline. Form is to be completed by your committee. Please verify with your committee that the form has been completed and submitted.

Step 7 Signed Title Page

The graduate school requires one signed copy of your title page that contains original signatures in black ink. The title page can be found on the first page of the template. Your title page can be delivered to the Graduate School (McCain Library 211) or emailed to the Documents Specialist (documentspecialist@usm.edu). If your department will require a bound copy of your dissertation, thesis, or doctoral project, you are required to provide a physical title page on 100% white cotton paper.

Step 8 Turnitin Report and Initial Submmision in Aquila

The Committee Chair must submit the originality report and approve of the percentage of the originality report. Students should verify with their academic unit that the originality report has been submitted to the Documents Specialist. The originality report submitted must be less that 25%. If the percentage goes over, the committee chair and/or department chair must provide justification for the high percentage. Click here to get to Turnitin. You will need to download the Turnitin instructions under "Instructions and Videos" to get the Class ID.

You are required to submit your document into Aquila by the initial submission deadline. At this stage of the process, your document should be completed and formatted into the template and all content and grammar should be polished. If you need to revise your document for content or grammar after doing the initial submission, your document will be rejected and you will need to defer to next semester. Also, incomplete document or submitting only a proposal/prosepectus will be rejected. After the initial submission, the only thing that the Documents Specialist will look at is formatting.

Step 9 Final Submission in Aquila and Completion of Final Submission Checklist

Document has been accepted into Aquila without additional revisions. Must complete all required portions of the Final Checklist in order for your dissertation, thesis, or doctoral project to be finalized.

Step 10 Survey of Earned Doctorates (Doctoral Candidates Only)

Doctoral Candidates are required to complete this survey and should do so during their graduating Semester.