Final Defense

Please see the GBS Graduation Checklist for specific deadlines and tips for graduation.

After your committee has cleared you for final defense:


It is your responsibility to be aware of the specific requirements of your theme, which may have requirements above those of the graduate school and the general GBS requirements.

  • Submit an outline of your dissertation to the theme director for approval before writing your dissertation.
  • Submit a completed Application for Degree form; it must be submitted no more than three weeks into the semester you plan to graduate.
  • Set a date, time, and place for both your private and public defense.
  • Notify the GBS office of your intent and the dates.
  • Provide the Process Manager with the title of your thesis so that handouts can be made and your defense advertised.
  • Obtain approval forms from the Graduate School no less than two weeks before your public defense. These forms are to be signed off on by your committee, indicating approval for awarding of degree, after your private defense.
  • No later than 10 business days after your public defense, submit your final, completed dissertation as a single PDF. This is done online.
  • Complete the Survey of Earned Doctorates.


  • Three weeks into semester you plan to graduate: Submit Application for Degree.
  • Two weeks or more before your public defense: Obtain approval forms from Graduate School.
  • 10 business days after public defense: Submit your dissertation.

Read UAB Dissertations

Print copies of UAB dissertations and theses can be found on the second floor of Lister Hill Library under the W4 call number. You can look up a specific title or author for UAB health sciences theses or dissertations in the catalog.

UAB theses and dissertations can be read online through the UAB Digital Collections. Select a school from the drop-down box to see publications from specific schools. Theses and dissertations are usually available three-to-five months after the student has graduated, unless the student has chosen an embargo period of either six months, one year, or two years.

UAB theses and dissertations can also be found online in Proquest Dissertations & Theses at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Application for Degree

The application for degree must be received in the Graduate School Records Office by the deadline set by the Graduate School. This online form is your official notification to the Graduate School that you intend to complete graduation requirements that semester. You can find more information about the application process in the Completion of a Degree section of the UAB Graduate Catalog.

Dissertation Approval Form

No later than two weeks before your thesis or dissertation defense, submit a request for your dissertation approval form. It must be completed after you have submitted your application for degree. The committee members on your approval forms must exactly match those on your official records. If any member of your committee has changed, that change must be submitted on an official Change of Graduate Study Committee form — found in the "Forms Used to Complete Graduate Study" section of the Graduate School's list of online forms —before you request your approval form.

Public Dissertation Defense

Some programs, like GBS, hold private and public defense meetings; the Graduate School is concerned only with the public defense, which must be held by the posted semester deadline. We recommend chosing an earlier defense date to allow time to complete final requirements before graduation. Schedule your final defense well in advance with your committee members, and determine when they require a completed copy of your manuscript for review. You can find more information about the public dissertation process in the Completion of a Degree section of the UAB Graduate Catalog.

Submission of Dissertation

Your committee-approved thesis or dissertation and all applicable forms are due in the Graduate School no later than two weeks following your public defense. More information about submitting your dissertation can be found in the Graduate Catalog and on the Graduate School website:

Dissertation Defense Forms

  • Application for Graduate Degree/Certificate
    Students planning to graduate in the upcoming term can access the Application for Graduate Degree/Certificate online through BlazerNET by clicking Links/Forms and selecting Apply for Graduate Degree/Certificate. 
  • ProQuest Submission Site
    All Doctoral students must submit a PDF of the final committee-approved dissertation for final review by the Graduate School. 


To request a letter of degree verification for your post-doc appointment or other employment, please contact UAB Graduate School at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..