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Graduate School

Doctoral Degree Progress

Follow these steps toward the completion of your doctoral degree, preparing to meet milestones from your first months on campus to graduation day.

Spring 2024 Deadlines & Commencement

March   4: Format Check Deadline for Thesis/Dissertation
March 15: Graduation Application Deadline
March 22: Defense Deadline
April 8:
Final Submission Deadline 
May 3:
Master's and Certificate Commencement by College, 3 p.m., Colonial Life Arena 
May 4: Master's and Certificate Commencement by College, 9:30 a.m., Colonial Life Arena 
May 4:
Doctoral Commencement, 1 p.m., Koger Center 
May 4:
 Master's and Certificate Commencement by College, 3 p.m., Colonial Life Arena 

Summer 2024 Deadlines & Commencement

July   5: Format Check Deadline for Thesis/Dissertation
July 15: Graduation Application Deadline
July 15: Defense Deadline
July 22:
Final Submission Deadline 
August 15: Official Date of Graduation*

*Summer 2024 graduates will participate in commencement ceremonies December 16, 2024

Steps to Doctoral Degree

Your degree program may have additional requirements and deadlines, such as a language proficiency exam. Check with your advisor about specific degree requirements for your program of study.

1. Choose Your Committees

Doctoral Committee Appointment Request (DCA)

Your Comprehensive Examination and Dissertation Committees may be appointed at the same time.

These committee members may be the same, similar, or completely different from each other.

When should this be completed?

Comprehensive Exam Committee
Should be approved before or when your comprehensive exam is scheduled. 

Dissertation Committee
Should be approved before you enroll in your first Dissertation Preparation hours. 

2. Complete Admission to Candidacy Procedures 

Sign up for the Qualifying Exam
All candidates for a Doctoral degree must take the Qualifying Exam. Sign up with your program's graduate director.

Submit Program of Study (POS)

You must submit your approved program of study to the Graduate School.

Program of Study Adjustment Form (POSA)

Make any adjustments to your program of study using this form. 

When should this be completed? 

Within the first 24 months of course work (earlier if possible).

3. Complete Program Requirements

Course Requirements

Check with your program for specific course requirements.

Comprehensive Exam

All candidates for a doctoral degree must pass a written and oral comprehensive examination conducted by your academic program under the direction of your Written and Oral Comprehensive Examination Committee.

When should this be completed?

By your final term of study. 

4. Complete Your Dissertation

If your doctoral program requires a dissertation, this is at least a four-step process:

1.    Propose a topic and gain approval from your major professor and dissertation committee to pursue the topic.

When should this be completed?

2.    As soon as possible, typically near the completion of required core course work.
Submit a draft of what you propose for a preliminary format approval here

When should this be completed?

See the calendar above for format check deadlines.

3.     Complete your dissertation and defend.

When should this be completed?

See the calendar above for defense deadlines.

4.      Address any required corrections and submit a final version of your dissertation.

When should this be completed?

See the calendar above for final submission deadlines.

5. Submit Dissertation Signature and Approval Form & Survey of Earned Doctorates

Once the dissertation has been successfully defended and the final revision of the document has been accepted, complete and submit via email the PDF of the Dissertation Signature and Approval Form to the Graduate School Coordinator for your program.

Upon completion of your dissertation, you must also complete a Survey of Earned Doctorates, and submit via email the certificate of completion to the Graduate School Coordinator for your program.

When should this be completed?

Typically in your final term of study; see the calendar above for deadlines.

6. Apply for Graduation

Application for Graduation 

Apply on my.sc.edu. Click the "Apply to Graduate" link under the "Student" tab.

When should this be completed?

In your final term of study. 

7.  Send Hooding Program Information

Doctoral Hooding Information

Submit information to be printed in the Doctoral Commencement program through the Doctoral Hooding Information Portal.  This is required of all doctoral graduates, even if you are not planning to attend the ceremony.

When should this be completed?

In your final term of study. 

 


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