PhD Checklists

Key Steps, Deadlines, and Forms

Action Deadline Signatures Copies
Complete graduate advising with advisors for registration every semester advisor, advising comm D***
Complete add/drop of classes consult advisor grad, advisor D
First Years (before scheduling preliminary exam)
Select research advisor first summer–2nd year
Pass qualifying exam by 4th semester
Submit Request for Transfer of Graduate Credit varies by semester;
approval before Plan of Study
none GS, D
Submit Outline of PhD Program (Plan of Study) by semester of 30 earned hours advisor, chair or grad dir D, (GS)
Preliminary Exam & Advancement to Candidacy
Take prelim exam:

by end of 7th semester,
after core courses completed
grad, comm, chair; prelim report signed by comm chair DD
Apply for Plan II Master’s degree:     (see “Prelim report” above)

immediately after prelim passed
grad, chair or grad dir; Application for Degree signed by chair GS,DGS,D
Complete Appoint / Change Doctoral Dissertation Comm online procedure start of sem after prelim passed comm, chair or grad dir GS,D
Submit Application for Candidacy for Doctoral Degree
(after prelim and coursework complete, may be submitted before or after doctoral committee form)  (please fill out this form and submit it to the physics office to initiate the electronic process)
soon after prelim passed, not after
1st week of graduating sem (date)
grad, comm 4GS,D
Candidates (before scheduling defense)
Enroll in at least 3 hours per semester
of PH 699: Dissertation Research
every semester after prelim
Meet with dissertation committee annually after prelim passed
(comm can request more freq)
Dissertation Defense, Submission & Graduation
Submit application for degree (through myBama*) 1st week of graduating sem (date)
Schedule dissertation defense >10 weeks before graduation
Submit dissertation to committee >2 weeks before defense
Announce defense to department
(via email with title and abstract)
1 week before defense
Complete dissertation defense and submit information for electronic defense approval process to the department office (example form showing needed information) >8 weeks before grad  D, GS
Submit information for electronic dissertation acceptance/dissent form to department office (example form showing needed information) after dissertation defense,
>6 weeks before graduation
1) comm, chair or grad dir
2) after revision: grad, comm chair
Submit electronic dissertation (overview) 6 weeks before graduation (date)
Pay diploma fee to Office of Student Receivables 1 month before graduation


*Email or call Eric Harris (, 8-8287) at Grad School that you are picking up MS degree on the way to PhD; this will allow the next step to be available.

**After notifying Grad School that you are picking up MS on the way to PhD, apply for MS degree through myBama: myBama > Student tab > Student Services > Student Records > Apply to graduate

***D = department; GS = Graduate School


After prelim is passed, the documents to be signed/submitted are

Dissertation Defense

After a successful dissertation defense, the committee signs the Dissertation acceptance form (PDF) (original signatures).

Revised Dissertation

After the revised dissertation is ready for electronic submission, the committee chair and candidate sign the same dissertation acceptance form (original signatures).