Dissertation Defense Preparation

Congratulations! If you are getting ready to defend your dissertation you are almost finished. Preparing for the defense of the dissertation involves several steps:

International Students Must Visit the International Office First

Make an appointment with the International Office (preferably three to six months in advance) to start appropriate administrative action to keep you in compliance with visa regulations after your defense, as well as apply for the EAD card for Optional Practical Training, if necessary.

Tuition Waiver during Grace Period

If you plan to submit your dissertation in the “grace period,” which is eight weeks after the start of the Fall semester or four weeks after the start of the Spring semester, you can apply to waive payment of your tuition. Simply complete the Final Semester Tuition Waiver for either Fall or Spring, as appropriate.

Course Registration during Final Semester

If you complete your requirements during the Fall or Spring semester, you must be registered for one course. Register for either 520.801 (Fall) or 520.802 (Spring) Dissertation Research and this will complete that requirement.

If you complete your degree during the summer and submit your dissertation before the first day of class of the Fall semester, you will not have to register for a Fall semester course.

Review your Dissertation before Submission

Before you submit your dissertation for your advisor’s and readers’ review, please ensure that your dissertation format meets the University’s guidelines for style and format .

Be Aware of Deadlines

Visit the Graduate Board website to ensure that you are meeting the required dissertation submission deadlines.

Becoming a Postdoc in the JHU Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering?

After your defense and dissertation submission, if you are being hired as a postdoc in our department, please have your advisor contact Nicole Aaron, Departmental Administrator, right away to arrange the hire.

Confirm That All Academic Requirements are Fulfilled

You must check your grades on SIS to make sure that you have no “Incomplete” or “Missing Record” notations. If you are missing grades, please contact Belinda Blinkoff, Sr. Academic Program Administrator.

Select a Date and Time for the Defense

Select a date and time for your defense. You will need about two hours. Contact Belinda to reserve a room.

Dissertation and Readers Letter

Submit a hard copy of your dissertation, the readers’ letter, and the names of the Dissertation Committee to Belinda at least three weeks before the dissertation defense date. Refer to the Graduate Advising Manual for more information.

Send Information for the Defense Announcement

Please e-mail Belinda Blinkoff and Wick Eisenberg the following about 10 days before the defense date: (1) the title of your dissertation, (2) a copy of your abstract, (3) your list of committee members and their primary department affiliation and (4) a headshot of yourself.

Wick will announce your defense via e-mail to the department.

Submit Final Dissertation Electronically

Dissertations will be submitted only by electronic media. Hardbound books will not be printed on campus, but information will be provided on where dissertations can be printed and bound. The library’s Electronic Theses and Dissertations page is a great resource which details the whole new electronic submission process. Here is a checklist you should follow to submit your dissertation.

If you have additional questions, email [email protected] for the fastest response.

Send Confirmation Email and Dissertation Title to the Graduate Board

Upon approval, students will receive a confirmation email. You must submit a copy of the confirmation email you receive after submission (receipt), along with your Dissertation title, to Christine Kavanagh and copy Belinda Blinkoff.

Graduate Student Salary Can Continue After Dissertation Submission

Graduate student salary can be continued for both international and domestic students through the conferral date of the semester or period in which the student completes his or her degree requirements.

This means that even after submitting one’s dissertation for binding, the salary can continue.

Resolve Financial Obligations

Make sure that your financial obligations are paid, such as library fines or other bills owed. Your diploma will be withheld until your obligations are resolved.

Apply for Graduation

You will be able to apply for graduation online though your SIS account. If you are unable to because of technical or administrative difficulties, Belinda will give you an “Application for Graduation” that needs to be completed and returned to her. She will submit it to the appropriate offices.

The Registrar will contact you about commencement arrangements and ordering your diploma.


Please contact Belinda Blinkoff, Sr. Academic Program Administrator, with any questions regarding the process.

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