Dissertations, Specialist Projects, and Theses

Dissertation, Specialist project, and thesis resources

Routing Forms for Digital Signatures

An Overview of the WMU Formatting Guidelines - Instructional Video

COVID-19 effects on the dissertation and thesis process: Frequently Asked Questions

Tips for holding a remote defense


COVID-19 and the dissertation and thesis process: Frequently Asked Questions

As the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve, we understand that you may have questions about defending your dissertation or thesis so we have provided guidance below.

FAQs about Dissertations and Theses during the COVID-19 pandemic


How do I hold my dissertation or thesis defense during this period?

Dissertation, Specialist Project and Thesis defenses can be scheduled and held online through virtual platforms (Webex, Zoom, etc.) for spring and summer I 2020. At least 3 members of the committee (chair and 2 members) must participate in the virtual presentation. No public presentation is required, although these are allowed in a virtual setting only. Address any questions about technical resources to your college IT or OIT help desk.

How do I schedule my dissertation and do I need a room number?

For dissertations, the Dissertation Defense Scheduling form is still required, although you can leave location blank or can indicate that the defense is online. You could include the web address for the virtual platform if you want a public portion of the defense. The Dissertation Defense Scheduling form is available at https://wmich.edu/grad/forms and can be sent to grad-dissertation@wmich.edu. The scheduling of theses is handled at the department level, so check with your department for details.

How do I get signatures on my Dissertation/Thesis Approval form?

During this COVID-19 situation, both ink and electronic signatures are valid for dissertation and thesis approval documents. Since your committee members will be in different locations, there are several options for signatures on the Dissertation/Thesis Approval forms. 1) The form can be printed, signed, scanned, and sent to the next person for signature. 2) Committee members can use electronic signatures, such as Adobe Sign. 3) See this guide: Routing Forms for Digital Signatures to manage the process yourself. 4) If those options are not manageable, the dissertation/thesis chair can send an email to jennifer.holm@wmich.edu indicating that the committee members have approved the defense.

How do I submit my dissertation/thesis to the Graduate College?

After the defense, the student will submit their dissertation/thesis and related dissertation materials to etdadmin.com. Please send any questions regarding the submission process to grad-dissertation@wmich.edu.

What if my dissertation or thesis was interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic?

Dissertations/theses that were affected by COVID-19 should include a section acknowledging this. Dissertation and Thesis committees are asked to consider the unusual circumstances in evaluating the student’s work and make decisions for completion by evaluating the entire body of work. This does not mean that incomplete or insufficient work will be approved.

Is the Graduate College extending the deadlines for submission of theses and dissertations?

Deadline extensions within reason can be requested in rare instances when circumstances have delayed the defense by contacting jennifer.holm@wmich.edu. Only short extensions are allowed, due to the work required for processing the dissertations and theses and the fact that university deadlines for graduation are in place.