Navigating a PhD



Course Selection

For registration requirement guidelines, see General Registration Requirements.

Guidance on course selection is provided by departments, programs and advisors—see the Mines Graduate Catalog for information and course descriptions.


Visit the Degree Requirements-Minors page for details.

Transfer Credit

Visit the Transfer Credit page for details.

Academic Standing Rules

Visit the Academic Standing page for details.


Visit the graduate studies grades page for details.

Reduced Registration

Visit the Reduced Registration page for details.

Degree Audit

Visit the Degree Audit page for details, forms, requirements and deadlines.

Forming a Thesis Committee

Please visit the Advisor/Committee page for details.

Thesis Defense Rules

Please visit the Thesis Defense Rules page for guidelines and to access needed forms and requirements.

Admission to Candidacy Process

Admission to Candidacy

Full-time students must complete the following requirements within the first two calendar years after enrolling into the PhD program.

  • have an approved thesis committee form on file;
  • complete all prerequisite and core curriculum course requirements of their program;
  • demonstrate adequate preparation for, and satisfactory ability to conduct doctoral research; and
  • be admitted into full candidacy for the degree by submitting the Admission to Candidacy form to the Office of Graduate Studies

If students are admitted with deficiencies, the appropriate department heads or program directors will provide the students written lists of courses required to remove the deficiencies. These lists will be given to the students no later than one week after the start of classes of their first semester in order to allow them to add/drop courses as necessary. Completion of prerequisites and deficiencies will be monitored by the department. 

Each program also defines the process for determining whether its students have demonstrated adequate preparation for, and have satisfactory ability to do, high-quality, independent doctoral research in their specialties. These requirements and processes are described under the appropriate program headings in the section of this Catalog on Graduate Degree Programs and Description of Courses.

To graduate, all PhD students must submit all required paperwork, apply to graduate, complete the Graduation Check-Out course, complete the Survey of Earned Doctorate and submit the signed Thesis Defense Form by the posted deadlines. In addition, PhD students must upload a content approved thesis and have the formatting approved by the posted check-out deadlines.


Steps to Graduation

Submit Degree Audit Form

  • Students complete this form at least one semester prior to their graduation term, when they have finished and/or registered for all their courses
  • Required for all students
  • Required for every degree
  • For fall and spring graduation, the form is due on last day of priority registration for that term. Please see the Academic Calendar for exact date
  • For August graduation, the form is due on March 1
  • Your graduation term will be entered when this form has been processed by OGS.
  • Contact Roxane Aungst at with any questions.

Register for Final Semester

Students must be registered for at least 1 (one) credit hour if:

  • Using any campus resources (including working with an advisor)
  • Defending a thesis
  • Graduating (exceptions apply to students who check out early).

If a student is defending during the summer (mid-May to September)

  • Must register for at least 1 (one) credit of research.

Complete CANVAS Check-out Course

Each term, students graduating will be enrolled in a CANVAS Checkout Course. You will receive an email invitation.

  • For December graduation – course invitation will be emailed starting early August
  • For May graduation – course invitation starting early December
  • For August graduation – course invitation starting mid-April

Students must do the following:

  • Accept course invitation
  • Complete 100% of the course by the Upload and Check-out Course Completion deadline
  • If defending a thesis, download the Thesis Defense form within the Check-out Course!


Complete and Defend Thesis

  • Review the Thesis Defense Rules and Thesis Writer’s Guide
  • Take the Thesis Defense form from the Check-out Course to your defense.
  • Submit Thesis Defense form signed by your committee to OGS after you pass your defense.

Upload Thesis for Final Format Review

Complete Any Format Revisions Required by OGS

  • You will receive a notice via the ProQuest ETD system with any necessary revisions and the deadline for completion.



Students who have met all the above requirements may walk in the ceremony. Students walking in Commencement Ceremony are required to check the commencement website early in the semester for all commencement-related requirements. See Commencement Ceremony Information.


Visit the Mines Diploma site for details and ordering instructions for your diploma.

Withdrawal and Leave

If students wish to drop a class prior to Census Day, this may be done in Trailhead and no record will appear on the transcript. If students need to withdraw from a class prior to the Last Withdrawal Date, this may also be done in Trailhead and a W will appear on the transcript. Consult the Academic Calendar for these important dates and review MINES’s tuition refund policy.

Students withdrawing from all courses in a term or from graduate school must complete the Withdrawal from Courses form before the last day of classes in the term. Students requesting leave for a semester for a necessary future absence must complete the Leave of Absence form before Census Day of the term they will be absent.

To submit a request for a partial refund of tuition following a withdrawal due to unforeseen, unusual circumstances and/or hardship, please visit Student Life.

For any questions about withdrawals and leave, please email