Home > Graduate Program > Defenses and Graduation

Defenses and Graduation

Ph.D. Dissertation Defenses

The final document a Ph.D. candidate produces as a requirement of the Doctor of Philosophy degree is called a dissertation. Dissertations in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering must be defended to a committee of three faculty plus the student's advisor.

Committee selection: Committees are assigned prior to the Candidacy Exam. The members are suggested by the student's faculty advisor based on the dissertation topic and assigned by the Director of Graduate Studies.

Registration and ND Roll Call

Regardless of when a student defends in the semester, they maintain their student status through the degree conferral date. A student must be enrolled in the semester in which they graduate. If you are unsure about what to register for, please check with Nadia Casas.

In the semester you will defend and graduate, indicate you are graduating in ND Roll Call. Even if you think you may end up graduating at a later date, please check the box in ND Roll Call to get on the graduation list if there is a chance you will graduate in that semester. It is easier to remove someone from the list than in is to add later on.

Setting the date

Check the Graduate School's SCHEDULE OF DEADLINES to help you pick a defense date. There is deadline before the end of the semester for defenses, students defending after that date will graduate in the following semester. Work with your advisor and committee to set a defense date; book a time for 2 hours. Faculty schedules fill up early so please schedule well in advance so don't delay in getting something on the calendar.

When you have a date and time set, email Nadia to schedule a conference room. Please send her the date, time, committee members (their department if not in CBE and email address and institution if non-ND) and your tentative dissertation title. The actual title will be on your final submission to the Graduate School.

You can read more about the Grad School’s graduation timeline, requirements, and dissertation checklist on their website under Resources for Current Students. Please find below a summary of the upcoming PhD Dissertation and Defense deadlines for the upcoming graduation date.

The Defense

Your committee should have an advisor-approved copy of your dissertation three weeks prior to your defense. Provide them a hard copy and PDF. Check out the room you will use to defend in and test your computer with the room's equipment and note any dongles you might need co connect to the monitor or projector.

The day of, make sure to get to the room ahead of time. The room will be reserved 30 minutes before the start to allow for set-up. Bring a helper and set up any food and beverages. Many students bring in food for their committee while others order items to be delivered from on-campus (ABP, Starbucks, Campus Catering, etc).

The initial presentation is open to the public. Students invite their research groups, friends, and/or family to watch. The question and answer portion is limited to the committee and the student, no visitors. See the CBE Guide to Graduate Studies and the Graduate School's Doctoral Defense Overview for more information on the defense format.

After the defense the committee will recommend a Pass or Fail. They will sign the Doctoral Defense Reporting Form and submit it to be recorded with the Graduate School. Now, all that remains is submitting the final dissertation to the Graduate School and fulfill any remaining requirements before graduation.

Commencement Ceremony

There are three graduation dates throughout the year at the end of the summer, fall and spring semesters. This is the degree conferral date and is listed on the diploma and final transcripts.

The annual commencement ceremony takes place in May and celebrates the graduates from the prior summer and fall semesters in addition to the spring graduates. The Graduate School ceremony where graduates are hooded and presented their diplomas is Saturday and the University-wide ceremony is Sunday morning.

Proof of Degree


Proof of Degree, Transcripts, Proof of Enrollment, Employment and Income Verification

Proof of Degree, Transcripts, Proof of Enrollment

Proof of Degree

Prior to graduation date, >1 month: If you will be accepting an offer of employment shortly after submitting your formal dissertation, and your employer requires proof that you’ve met all of your degree requirements prior to receiving your formal diploma, you may request a letter of completion from the Graduate School. This is only for a letter needed more than one month before the graduation date can be obtained only if all Graduate School requirements have been fulfilled, reviewed, and approved; defense, dissertation submission, surveys, fees paid, etc. See section 3. Letter of Completion for more information.

Final transcripts issued after the graduation award date will reflect the date of graduation and degree awarded.

Your diploma is also proof of degree.


Current students can request transcripts through the Transcript Request page of InsideND. Alumni can request transcripts through MyNotreDame. Only transcripts issued after the graduation date will reflect conferral of degree.

Proof of Enrollment

For current students, enrollment can be verified through the self-service Enrollment Verification (access through InsideND) or by Transcript Request (access through InsideND) if grades are required.

To verify degree and attendance dates, please contact verifications.1@nd.edu or 574-631-7043.

Proof of Employment and/or Income

The department cannot respond to employment verification requests. Students and Alumni must authorize The Work Number to release that information or use the online portal to retrieve and instant report.

The Work Number service is used when you apply for a loan, need a reference check, lease an apartment or any other instance where proof of employment or income is needed. You benefit from verifiers having 24/7 access to your information, allowing you to make life decisions at your own pace.

For further info, please visit the Work Number info page on the Human Resources website: http://hr.nd.edu/nd-faculty-staff/the-work-number/  for the Employer Code.

Access The Work number portal through InsideND 

You can generate instant reports for employment or income in the portal.

If you know a background check is being conducted, you must authorize The Work Number to release your information or else they will not  be able to verify anything.