NRSM Doctoral Student Checklist

There are many phases and steps to achieving a doctoral degree. The following items are presented in a logical sequence, but not all students will do things in this exact sequence.

  • Talk with your advisor about:
    • Your research topic
    • Your funding plan for the duration of your study, if needed
    • A communication plan (e.g., regular lab meetings, individual meetings, committee meetings, etc.)
    • Prelims, dissertation timeline, and what to expect in review and defense process
    • Course plan: what courses are required or recommended
    • Taking doctoral thesis credits early on (a total of 24 are required to graduate)
    • Choosing a track within NRSM (optional)
  • Work with your advisor to develop a plan of study and begin identifying committee members.
  • Your first annual progress review should take place in the spring of your first year. A review is required each year you are in the program. Details will be announced. 
  • Begin working with your advisor to plan for your written and oral preliminary examinations.
  • Complete NRSM research plan and statement of goals form for NRSM faculty review. You may obtain a copy of the necessary form from the NRSM program office. (Note: talk with your advisor about their own expectations for a thesis proposal.) Submit completed paperwork to the NRSM program office as soon as possible, but ideally no later than a year before you plan to graduate. 
  • Complete your Graduate Planning and Audit System planner (GPAS). This should be done at the same time you submit your NRSM research plan and statement of goals form. 
  • Take your written preliminary examination. Your advisor should report the result to the NRSM program office.

When your research plan and goals statement review is complete, the NRSM program office will notify you of the results. If the plan is approved, your GPAS is approved. You will then receive instructions from the Graduate School about next steps (detailed below).

  • Assign members to prelim oral exam committee. (These should be the same people you identified on the NRSM research plan form.)
  • If you’ve passed the written prelim, you can schedule the oral prelim with your committee, and subsequently the Graduate School. Note that there is a paper form you will need to pick up in person at the GSSP in Bruininks Hall, on the East Bank.
  • Continue to work with your advisor and committee on your research. Establishing a regular meeting schedule is highly encouraged.
  • Assign members to final oral exam committee. (Note: this is often the same as the prelim oral committee, but not always.)

Final Steps

  • Download graduation packet, which includes formatting guidelines and ‘workflow’ forms for the reviewers’ report form and the final exam form.
  • Apply to graduate before the last business day of the month PRIOR to the intended graduation month (i.e., if you want to graduate in May, you need to apply by the end of April).
  • Work with your committee to identify a date and time for your final oral exam.
  • Formally schedule the final oral exam with the Graduate School.
  • Work with NRSM program office to find a suitable room for the public seminar portion of your final oral exam.
  • Send title and abstract of your project to the NRSM program office.
  • Make public presentation of your final project. The final oral exam immediately follows the seminar and is closed to the public.
  • Ensure that committee members are responding to online workflows for processing of associated forms. NOTE: all committee members must have and use a UMN e-mail account for these workflows. 
  • Submit thesis to the Graduate School, along with the dissertation signature page and the University Digital Conservancy Deposit Agreement.