Skip to navigation Skip to main content

Explore UAB

We understand that completing your final research project is both an exciting and a demanding process. In order to make this process as smooth as possible, please review this pdfPlan I Student Checklist of logistical items that must be completed along the way.

The typical lifecycle of a Plan I Student (anyone writing a thesis or dissertation) can be found pdf here (accessible version available). Individual programs may have additional requirements or processes, so be sure to communicate your plans with your program early!


Establishing your committee is the first step in formalizing your research. This process should be started early in your academic career! The below checklist will ensure your committee can be formally established with the Graduate School.

Step 1

Identify faculty members who will serve on your committee. While additional committee members may be beneficial, UAB requires a minimum of three committee members for masters students and five for doctoral students.

Step 2

Verify all committee members have Graduate Faculty Status.

If they don't, or if you will have any Ad Hoc faculty serving on your committee, your program will need to request Graduate Faculty Status on their behalf.

Step 3

Submit your Committee Form to the Graduate School.

Step 4

Need to make changes to your committee? Complete a Change of Graduate Study Committee form.


Before you can register for thesis or dissertation hours (699 or 799) you will need to be formally admitted to candidacy. For most students, this will occur after passing your comprehensive exams, but be sure to discuss expectations and timing with your program. There are some steps you'll need to take early on to ensure your progression to candidacy is smooth!

Step 1: Know Your Deadlines!

Candidacy Deadlines

Step 2: Determine if Your Research will Involve Human or Animal Subjects

NOTE: The review period for IRB/IACUC approval can be significant. Begin this process early, as lack of approval will delay your admission to candidacy.

Human Subjects

Research involving human subjects requires approval from the IRB office. Discuss with your program whether you will be listed as the Principle Investigator or covered under an existing protocol. Either way, your name will need to be listed on the approval letter generated by the IRB office.

Animal Subjects

Research involving animal subjects requires approval from the IACUC office. Discuss with your program whether you will be listed as the Principle Investigator or covered under an existing protocol. An IRAP Personnel Form for the relevant IACUC protocol number can be downloaded from IRAP and attached with your candidacy application.

Step 3: Verify the Research Compliance Requirements of Your Program

Masters Students (excluding Master of Arts):

Your must complete RCR training, including a 2-hour in-person component. Visit the RCR Training page for more information and to coordinate your in-person training.

Doctoral Students:

Successfully complete GRD 717 (or approved substitute) prior to progressing to candidacy.

Step 4: Apply for Admission to Candidacy

Application for Admission to Candidacy

Step 5: Register for Thesis/Dissertation Hours (699/799)

Doctoral students are required to have a minimum of 12 semester hours in 799 dissertation research AND, either during or before candidacy, 12 semester hours in other appropriate research-based coursework which has been approved by the graduate student's program. Master’s students are required to have a minimum of 6 semester hours of thesis research (i.e. 699) over a minimum of one semester in candidacy.

Approval Forms and Your Public Defense

The public defense represents the culmination of your research. Once you are ready to defend your thesis or dissertation, you'll need to request your defense approval form. The Graduate School will also list your defense information on the Presentation Calendar using the information provided on the request.

Step 1

Ensure you have submitted your Application for Degree in BlazerNET.

Step 2

Schedule your defense before the final defense deadline. Find your application and defense deadline.

Step 3

Submit your Thesis/Dissertation Approval Form Request. NOTE: This must be done a minimum of two weeks prior to your public defense, but should be done as early as possible once you know your defense date. 

You will receive a confirmation email from the Graduate School when your request has been processed. Your approval form will be generated electronically the morning of your defense and sent to your committee. When the form has been completed by all committee members and returned to the Graduate School you will receive an email with the final copy.


The publication of your thesis or dissertation is an exciting time for any graduate student. The below checklist will make the process of writing and submitting your document as smooth as possible.

Step 1

Decide which style guide (APA, CBE, etc) will be used and arrangements for having your work edited by your committee.

Step 2

Familiarize yourself with pdfUAB's format manual. While some exceptions to this formatting may be appropriate based on program standards, the end result should be a consistently formatted and clean submission of publishable quality.

You can find a list of templates that may help you with formatting by visiting our Templates resource page and reviewing our editing and publishing guidance.

Learn about docxcommon formatting errors.

Step 3

Submit your thesis/dissertation as a single PDF to ProQuest within 10 business days of your final defense. You will be notified via email (usually within 5-7 business days) when your submission has been reviewed. Monitor your email closely so you can make any necessary changes. 

Step 4

Complete the Survey of Earned Doctorates (applies to doctoral students only).

Step 5

Complete the Graduate School Exit Survey (required for Doctoral students). The link will be sent to you with your final approval form.

Step 6

See the Resources section below for information on copyrighting your work, ordering bound copies, and browsing previously published theses/dissertations.

Resources & Links

  • Formatting
  • Bound Copies

    If you would like to have bound copies of your thesis or dissertation, you may order copies of your document through ProQuest when you submit your pdf.


    After final approval by the Graduate School, you may make printed copies of your document. Please contact Tuscaloosa Bindery at (205) 758-2204 or for information on binding.

    These pages will not be checked for accuracy before they are bound, so check your own copies carefully to be sure they have printed and copied correctly throughout. If you want a copy of your signed approval form to be included in your personal copies, you must make copies and place them there.


    Because these copies will not be placed on the shelf in the library, there is no special paper requirement; however, your bound copies will have a more professional appearance and have a longer shelf life if you use high quality paper. White 20-24 lb., acid-free, 8 ½ x 11, watermarked paper (available in most office supply stores and professional copy centers) is the usual choice for bound dissertations.

  • Copyright

    Copyright law affects you in two ways: It governs the way in which you are allowed to use another person’s published works to support your own writing, and it determines how another person may use yours.

    Use of Previously Published Material

    In academia it is generally accepted that “fair use” allows writers to use small portions of copyrighted material if the original meaning or intent is not distorted in any way and if credit is given to the source from which material was taken. Writers may not, however, use substantial portions of text (e.g., several pages) or tables, figures, photographs, or other illustrative material without the written permission of the copyright holder, who is usually the publisher of a journal or book.

    Copyright law as it applies to the Internet is uncertain at best. To be safe, assume that, unless the work has a specific statement indicating that the item is in public domain, it is under copyright protection and that you may not use it without written permission.

    If you include material for which you have received written permission to use, (even if it is your own previously published article [i.e., a reprint]), that permission must be submitted to the Graduate School along with your finished document; in addition, a statement that the material is “used by permission” must appear in your thesis or dissertation (see the UAB Format Manual for specific wording).

    Copyrighting Your Own Work

    U.S. copyright law provides automatic copyright protection for written work from the time at which it is fixed in a tangible form for the first time. The advantage of officially registering (and paying for) your copyright is that registration establishes a public record of your copyright claim. A copyright page may be included in your thesis or dissertation whether or not you register for copyright protection. However, in the event that you later wish to initiate a copyright infringement suit, this official registration is required. You may initiate copyright procedures at the time of submission to the Graduate School, or you may copyright your dissertation at any time in the future. If you copyright your dissertation, a copyright page should be added to your dissertation.

    ProQuest/UMI, the company that publishes the online database Dissertation Abstracts will also handle the copyright procedure if you wish. The cost is $75 and is paid at the time that you pay your submission fee (or you may file your own copyright application through the U.S. Copyright Office). The $75 fee to ProQuest/UMI includes copyright registration plus completion of requisite forms and applications and the creation of the deposit copy of your dissertation. UAB Master’s theses are not submitted to ProQuest/UMI. Therefore, if you would like to copyright your thesis you should do so directly through the U.S. Copyright Office.

    If you are reprinting articles which have previously been published or that you wish to publish later, the publishing company owns (or will own) the copyright. Therefore, preprint/reprint theses and dissertations should not be copyrighted.


  • Thesis and Dissertation Lookup

    All theses and dissertations beginning in the spring of 2007 are submitted electronically and are published through the UAB libraries’ digital collections. Browse/Search UAB Electronic Theses and Dissertations

    Electronic Submission and Publication

    An Electronic Thesis or Dissertation (ETD) is the same as its paper counterpart in content and organization and meets the formatting requirements described in the Format Manual for Theses and Dissertations (pdf).

    It is important to recognize the distinction between electronic submission and electronic publication.

    • Electronic submission indicates that rather than printing your document and submitting paper copies to the Graduate School, you submit your final document as a PDF file. No paper copies are accepted by the Graduate School or the UAB libraries. Committee members may still, if they choose, require a paper copy for their part of the review process.
    • Electronic publication is a separate issue and refers to the ways in which your document will be made available to others. This issue may require further consideration. Learn more about publication and copyright issues.
  • Helpful Links

Back to Top