MFA Thesis and Graduation Timeline


For course load expectations, see the Graduate School's policies and regulations


1.   Sign the Patent Agreement in your Graduate Plan of Work (GPOW)

2.   Start filling in your GPOW using the courses you are taking/have taken to fulfill your degree
      requirements. Make sure to “save” your 
GPOW only. You will not “submit” your GPOW until
      your final semester.

​3.   Read the ETD Guide and all information on ETD website

​4.   “Attend” an ETD workshop (either in person or online)

5.   Write your thesis (starting out in the Graduate School required format)

  • Thesis for Fiction: a book-length manuscript of approximately 200 pages or more, preferably finished
  • Thesis for Poetry: a collection of 50 pages

6.   Choose 1 of 2 ETD Review deadlines and plan accordingly:

  • No Registration Required: must unconditionally pass the final exam and have an ETD Review by this deadline in order to avoid registering for the semester (deadline is before the start of classes)
  • Registration Required: must unconditionally pass the final exam and have an ETD Review by this deadline (usually about a couple months into the semester)

​7.   No later than the fall of your last year: Identify a thesis committee and a thesis advisor. Add your
      thesis advisor (Chair) and two committee members to your 
GPOW via the “Committee” tab. “Save”

​8.   In the fall of your last year: Prepare a list of 10 books that you will be examined upon in your final
      semester in addition to the MFA program’s list of 25 books. Make sure your thesis advisor approves
      your list no later than 
November 1 of your second year, and then submit the list to the MFA Program
      Assistant Director.

​9.   In final semester: Complete your Graduate Plan of Work (GPOW) and "submit" for approval.

​10. Apply to Graduate via MyPack at least two weeks in advance of the Graduate School’s deadline
the Graduate School’s Academic Calendar) so that your application can be reviewed and approved by
      the DGP before the deadline

  • Students must apply to graduate by deadline in order to participate in graduation exercises
  • ETD Review must be completed by this deadline
  • Graduation contingent upon approval of final ETD

​11. Schedule final oral exam (defense) with your committee

  • Complete the Request to Schedule Master’s Oral Examination form and submit to Graduate Services Coordinator in T246 at least ten working days prior to your exam.   Please make sure your Graduate Plan of Work has been approved before you submit your Request to Schedule Master's Oral Examination form.

Review your To Do List in the Student Service Center in MyPack. The only items left on your list should be “MR Request to Sched Final Oral” and “Report on Final Oral Exam.” If you have additional items, those must be completed before submitting the form.

  • Must unconditionally pass the final exam before ETD Review deadline (taken within the first month or two of the semester)

Schedule exam no less than 2 weeks before and give committee entire ETD to review prior to the defense no less than 2 weeks before

*Students are encouraged to Apply to Graduate once the defense is scheduled, but the application can be submitted at any time up until 5:00 p.m. on the Apply to Graduate deadline

Complete a Room Reservation Request and submit to Danielle Carr ( with "Room for Thesis Defense" in the subject line of your email. The default room for thesis defenses is T131BYOU MUST COMPLETE BOTH THE REQUEST TO SCHEDULE MASTER'S ORAL EXAMINATION FORM AND A ROOM RESERVATION REQUEST FORM.

12. Schedule comprehensive written exam/degree essay (take home) with advisor

  • 15-20 pages; a close reading and explication of selected writers studied in student’s two years

​13. Defend Final Oral Exam (defense) 3 possible outcomes:

  • Unconditional pass (24-hours begins);
  • Conditional pass (ETD review cannot take place until the defense is an unconditional pass. 24-hours has not begun yet); or
  • Failed

​14. Submit draft ETD in ETD system for ETD review by ETD editor

  • within 24-hours of unconditional  pass
  • submit request for embargo of ETD along with draft submission

15. ETD review conducted by ETD editor

16. Make corrections to ETD (committee, ETD review, hired editor, and other)

17. Submit final error-free file to ETD editor for final ETD deadline approval

  • ETD editor reviews final file – only to make sure ETD review corrections have been made (file not accepted if corrections not made – this should not happen)
  • If all ETD review corrections were made, the file will be accepted by the ETD editor

​18. Error-free ETD file sent to committee for final committee approval

​19. Committee reviews final ETD file

If committee does not approve the final file, the student is required to make       corrections and resubmit a new final file in the ETD system. The student must notify the committee when the new file is submitted via the Plan of Work. (This should not happen)

​20. Graduate!