Final Defense Check List

Final Defense Stage

  1. Apply for the degree:
  2. Sign up for a deposit appointment: Appointments are available for scheduling in Calendly. The scheduling link is:
    • When scheduling your deposit appointment via Calendly, please be sure to enter Gidget Murray’s contact under “coordinator” NOT your PhD Faculty Coordinator.
  3. Schedule Your Final Defense
    • Continued Special Deposit and Defense Procedures
      • Dissertation defenses may be in-person or presented via remote conferencing. All forms required for depositing will be submitted electronically, and title page signatures are not required. A printed copy of the dissertation will not be required, and the dissertation must be submitted electronically via ETD Administrator.
    • Once you have coordinated a time with your committee,
      1. Inform your department administrator so they may help with scheduling
      2. Email the final defense notification form to the Doctoral Programs Office at least 2 weeks before your final defense
  4. All dissertations must follow the formatting outlined in the Formatting Guide; see the PhD Dissertation Formatting Checklist and Sample Dissertation Title Pages for help.
    • Nancy Zhang should be listed as “Graduate Group Chairperson”: Nancy Zhang, Ge Li and Ning Zhao Professor, Professor of Statistics and Data Science
  5. After your Final Defense, submit the Final Oral Defense Form through Penn Graduate Forms:
      1. Click Available Forms
      2. Then, Penn Graduate Forms
      3. Under “add new requirement” select, Dissertation Defense/Oral Exam
      4. Complete the form to reflect your dissertation information
      5. Click Submit Form
      6. Your committee will receive an email with instructions to go into Penn Graduate Forms and approve your dissertation
  6. Complete Job Placement survey that is emailed to you
  7. Complete the PhD Exit Survey (degree office will be automatically notified)
  8. Complete the Survey of Earned Doctorates, and save the completion certificate– you will upload this to ETD Administrator under “Administrative Documents”
  9. Upload your properly formatted dissertation PDF into ETD Administrator and click Submit. For help, visit our step-by-step instructions.
  10. Deposit dissertation with the Graduate Division via your deposit appointment


Helpful Links and Reminders:

  • Special dissertation defense and deposit instructions for PhD students continue to be in effect: Dissertation defenses may be conducted in-person or remotely
  • All required forms for depositing are submitted virtually in Penn Graduate Forms
  • Title page signatures are optional, and electronic signatures are accepted
    • Nancy Zhang should be listed as Graduate Group Chairperson as follows:
      Nancy Zhang, Ge Li and Ning Zhao Professor, Professor of Statistics
  • A printed copy of the dissertation is not required for deposit
  • The dissertation must be submitted electronically in ETD Administrator


Graduate degrees main website:

Frequently Asked Questions


Graduation Calendar:

Review the Doctoral Dissertation Formatting:

Survey of Earned Doctorates

​PhD Exit survey – If you have technical difficulties accessing the PhD Exit Survey, please contact

*PhD candidates must forward completion verifications of both surveys to