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Common Policies

In your graduate studies, you will encounter a variety of situations regarding deadlines, resources, procedures, and policies. Many of these are regulated by the Graduate School or by your own department graduate studies handbook (choose here your appropriate departmental page from the grid).

The provisions of the departmental handbooks with respect to rights and obligations are always spelled out in great detail and are the first regulatory framework for your work. However, some general principles cut across most departments and a core of common policies are to be followed. In the list below, the College of Liberal Arts graduate studies office states the essential common policies that are most relevant to multiple units and should be followed across the board. This is a living document, which was created with the consultation of the graduate directors. New provisions might be added in time, as needed. 

  1. All documents in support of oral defenses of prospectus documents, dissertations, theses, or similar documents should be submitted at least TWO WEEKS (14 days) in advance of the defense, not counting the actual defense day. Any derogation from this rule should be with the approval of the graduate director in the respective unit but by not more than a week.
  2. All prospectus, dissertation or thesis documents shall be submitted in the final format demanded by the unit and by the graduate school policies. Formatting and citations should be compliant with departmental and graduate school requirements.
  3. The scheduling of the oral defenses or other meetings that involve the committee members is to be done with the consultation of the major professor. Formal invitations to specific dates and times should be made only upon prior consultation with committee members and should take into account all their needs and particular schedules. In case of conflict, the needs of the primary professor or of the committee members should take precedence.
  4. Most faculty are not paid for the summer months and summer defenses are their prerogative to accept or not. It is preferable that defenses should be held during the Fall and Spring semesters. Summer defenses are to be scheduled only after consulting the committee members to ascertain that a summer defense is possible. Summer defense negotiations are to be conducted by the major professor.

If you have any questions about this document, please consult Mike Hicks (, CLA Grants Coordinator, or Sorin Adam Matei (, Associate Dean of Research and Graduate Education.