Final Year Guide

Guide to your final year of grad school

As you meet with your advisor over time (either during the annual June evaluations or independently), you should develop a sense of the timeline of your PhD. When you and your advisor both agree that you're about a year away from graduating, you should start thinking about completing your dissertation. It's important that you and your advisor agree on the timing. If your advisor doesn't think you're ready to graduate, then you're not ready. Conversely, your advisor may think you're ready before you do.

With one year left, you should have completed the majority of your dissertation research, and have a relatively firm sense of what you will write your dissertation about. Sit down with your advisor and make a plan for how you will spend the coming year, dividing it between continued research, writing the dissertation, and possibly also job-hunting.

In order to graduate, you need to write a doctoral dissertation following the prescribed UCSD guidelines, and also defend it in a presentation to your thesis committee.

The UCSD requirements for graduating with a PhD may be found here:
https://grad.ucsd.edu/progress/degree-completion.html

This document spells out all the steps you have to take before you can graduate, including:

  • Submitting your dissertation to each member of your committee at least four weeks before your defense date
  • Having both a preliminary and final examination of your dissertation by the Graduate Division
  • Ensuring your dissertation is formatted according to the UCSD guidelines

The UCSD guidelines for doctoral dissertation formatting can be found here:
https://grad.ucsd.edu/_files/academic-affairs/Dissertations_Theses_Formatting_Manual.pdf

This document is your friend. Read it well. There is at least one LaTeX template floating around that helps with the formatting requirements. UCSD doesn't officially endorse this template, but it will certainly make things easier for you.

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