Private and Public (Final) Defenses

The dissertation represents the summation of the student’s independent research. Therefore, adequate time must be set aside for preparation of the dissertation and for the Dissertation Committee members to evaluate the work. The student must have at least one first-author, peer-reviewed and accepted research publication prior to the private defense. While a student may begin writing their dissertation prior to formal acceptance of the paper, the private defense cannot occur before formal acceptance of the manuscript. The student should let Amy Anderson know when they begin writing their thesis, and they also need to apply to graduate in SIS during the semester they plan to graduate. The deadlines to apply in SIS are October 1, Spring – February 1, Summer – July 1).

  • The dissertation is to be prepared in consultation with the mentor.
  • When the document is complete to the satisfaction of both the student and mentor it should be submitted to the first reader/chairperson. The first reader must have at least two weeks to evaluate and comment on the dissertation.
  • Allow at least one week for any changes to the dissertation deemed necessary by the first reader to be incorporated into the document and approved by the first reader and the student’s mentor.  All changes must be approved by both before the document can be submitted to the rest of the committee.
  • The dissertation must be submitted to the full committee a minimum of one week prior to the Private Defense date.
  • Private Defense. A private defense must be arranged on a date which is agreeable to all members of the committee. Any changes and revisions to the dissertation deemed necessary by the committee during the Private Defense must be made and approved prior to completing this graduation requirement.
  • Public Defense. The Public Defense should be scheduled well in advance to allow Amy Anderson to publicize the date. The Public Defense can take place prior to the Private Defense, with both defenses scheduled on the same day, or can be scheduled on a day following the Private Defense.

Final Details – After the Final Defense

  • Bring the signed Final Exam form to Amy Anderson by the deadline and she will scan and email it to the SOM Registrar.
  • After the Public (Final) Defense, the student must upload their thesis and complete the instructions on the Steps to Graduation webpage before the graduation deadlines Fall: December 1, Spring – May 1, Summer – August 1.

Each graduating student can order bound thesis copies. The MIC Department pays for one bound thesis for the student, and one bound thesis for our MIC Library. There is also the option to order one for the student’s mentor (at their cost) and additional copies for the student and family (at student’s cost). Once the order is placed with UVA Printing & Copying Services, the turnaround time is typically 2-3 months. Instructions on how to place your order by email will be sent after successful completion of the Public Defense.

Summation of Thesis to UVA Library’s LIBRA System

Doctoral students must upload the final, approved version of their dissertation to the University Library’s digital repository, also known as LIBRA, adhering to the same deadline for the Final Exam form.

Information regarding the repository, the submission process and copyright law is available through the LIBRA web site. Please note the following:

  • The title page of the dissertation should be formatted according to the approved template. Signatures of the dissertation committee members should appear only on the Final Examination Form and not on the title page of the document uploaded to LIBRA.
  • The student is responsible for ensuring they upload the final, approved version of their thesis. Documents submitted to LIBRA cannot be deleted or corrected.
  • The thesis title submitted to the BIMS Administrator is entered in SIS and will appear in the LIBRA upload interface. If the title listed in LIBRA does not match the final title of the thesis being uploaded, the student must stop the upload process and inform the BIMS Administrator of the correct title.
  • LIBRA will accept the thesis as a single PDF document up to 100MB. Students also have the option to upload supplemental files.
  • Formatting Requirements: There are no formatting requirements or restrictions.

Milestone: LIBRA

Survey of Earned Doctorates

All graduating students are required to complete the online National Science Foundation’s Survey of Earned Doctorates during the term when they graduate. This online survey takes about 15 minutes to complete. The survey link can be found in SIS under the Academic Requirements.


Amy Anderson
BIMS Administrator
P.O. Box 800738
1131 McKim Hall
Phone:  434-924-5611