Thesis and Dissertation Information

Thesis and Dissertation Information for Winter 2020

In response to the current situation at GVSU regarding the COVID-19 coronavirus, the Graduate School is making some temporary changes to the procedures for working on, defending, and submitting a thesis or dissertation for Winter 2020.  These changes are in effect as identified below.

If you have any questions, please contact Jennifer Palm ( in the Graduate School. The Graduate School will continue to provide services and support during the immediate future.  We are practicing social distancing and employing a remote work environment.  Therefore, it is best to contact us by email.

Thesis and dissertation deadlines:
Last day to defend a thesis or dissertation: Friday, May 1, 2020
Last day to submit a final thesis or dissertation to The Graduate School: Friday, May 22, 2020

Thesis and dissertation defense procedures:
The Graduate School is suspending the public defense requirement for graduate students completing a thesis or dissertation.  Students are not required to attend a face-to-face defense while GVSU is not holding face-to-face courses.

Graduate students still need to conduct a thesis or dissertation defense with all committee members (using synchronous communication – no video recordings).  If a graduate student wishes to conduct the defense face-to-face, that is permissible, as long as social distancing is strictly enforced.  Committee members can attend using a telecommuting technology if desired.  If a graduate student does not wish to conduct a face-to-face defense, the committee chair must work with the student to use an appropriate telecommuting alternative supported by the university, such as BlackBoard Collaborate, Skype for Business, or Google Meet.

These changes currently apply to the Winter 2020 academic semester only.

Thesis and dissertation research procedures:
Graduate students are expected to continue work on their thesis or dissertation to the extent allowed by University policies and recommendations.  Graduate students should limit face-to-face interaction as much as possible and should not be required to engage in face-to-face activities.  The types of activities the graduate student engages in will vary by discipline and by thesis and dissertation topic.  The committee chairperson is responsible for providing guidance to the graduate students they are working with. 

If a graduate student needs access to an on-campus laboratory to complete necessary work for their thesis or dissertation, the student must submit the following information as soon as possible to the Dean of the Graduate School:

  1. A detailed plan identifying the need for laboratory work and an associated timeline
  2. Approval from the thesis chairperson – email confirmation is sufficient
  3. Approval from the GPD or academic unit head – an email confirmation is sufficient

Requests for access to on-campus laboratory space will be evaluated on a case by case basis. The recommendations currently apply to the Winter 2020 academic semester only.

Requirements and Deadlines

BEFORE beginning the Thesis or Dissertation process, students must meet with an advisor or Graduate Program Director to review the department specific guidelines and proposal information.

Students are required to remain continuously enrolled in either 695/696 or 795/796 once a thesis/dissertation is started, until the end of the semester of graduation.

Semester of Thesis or Dissertation Defense:

Final Day to Defend Thesis or Dissertation:

Final Day to Submit Final Documents to The Graduate School: 

Winter 2020

May 1, 2020

May 22, 2020

Spring/Summer 2020

July 14, 2020

August 4, 2020

Fall 2020

November 30, 2020

December 19, 2020

Winter 2021

April 9, 2021

April 30, 2021

Spring/Summer 2021

July 21, 2021

August 11, 2021

Forms, Guides, and Information
Forms, Guides, and Information

Explore the following content for required resources and helpful information while you complete a thesis/dissertation.

Graduate Writing Resources

Graduate Writing Resources Page (GVSU)

Writing Center for graduate students (GVSU)

Scholarly Communications (GVSU Library)

10 Tips for Graduate Student Writers (PDF)



For assistance with any of these forms or questions regarding the guidelines, please contact the Thesis and Dissertation Coordinator in The Graduate School at (616) 331-7105 or