Skip to content

Steps Towards Graduation

Starting from when you join your thesis/doctoral research laboratory, you will want to make sure you carefully monitor your degree progression by consulting often the course requirements for Microbiology, that you have earned “grades” for every class you have taken, and that you are having committee meetings a minimum of one time per calendar year. 

A. At least two semesters prior to your anticipated graduation, ensure you have:

  1. Completed  the required  course work and hours  Consult the Microbiology Graduate Student Handbook for department-specific requirements (abbreviated listings are below). 

  2. Accounted for all grades.  Missing grades, if they occur, tend to be for your research hours.  If so, please contact your research mentor as they are the only person who can request a  grade change.

  3. Submitted the following required UT Graduate School forms.

    1. PhD Committee Form  (only for students seeking a PhD)

    2. Admission to Candidacy Form (separate form for MSc versus PhD). Note: these forms require ALL coursework be listed in chronological order. 

  4. You should allow 2 weeks to obtain all signatures.  If you do these “last minute” the semester before you intend to graduate, they could be late, and may delay your graduation!

B. At least one semester prior to your anticipated defense date, you must have a committee meeting to present the entirety of the work to be include in your dissertation. Please refer to the Graduate Student Handbook section entitled “Works for Inclusion into a Thesis/Dissertation” for the specific details.

  1. Once your committee has agreed to your proposed thesis/dissertation outline, you can schedule the defense date. 

  2. Once your defense date is determined, complete a graduate application for the term you plan to graduate (via myUTK). Refer to the Graduate School guidelines for timelines and forms. The posted deadlines set by the Graduate School are rigid. Thus, please be sure to allow for sufficient time to gather necessary signatures.

  3. Schedule your date!

C. Some important departmental dates for defenses:

  1. You must submit your completed dissertation at least 3 weeks to your major professor.
    Note, you should be working with your major professor early and often in regards to your chapters!  Set-up a schedule of internal deadlines to keep your progress on track!

  2. By 5 pm at least 10 business days before the final exam, submit a printed, completed dissertation to all committee members.

  3. At least two weeks prior to  your defense date,  you must advertise your defense to the department by (i) submitting a public announcement to the Microbiology listserv and (ii) posting flyers on the relevant floors in Mossman and SERF.

  4. The defense should occur no later than 1 week before expected approval of completed dissertation

Course Requirements for Candidacy Forms

(note this does not include a breakdown of areas for your coursework; consult the Microbiology Graduate Handbook for those details):


  • 30 total credit hours
    • 6 must be thesis hours:
    • At least 18 hours must be graded
      • 14 hours of these at the 500 level or above (exclusive of MICR 500)
  • Note, you must take a minimum 3 hours of MICR 500 the semester in which you successfully defend your thesis and the thesis is approved by the Graduate School


  • 72 total hours
    • 30 graded credit hours (at least 20 hours at or above 500 level; 6 hours at 600 level) exclusive of MICR 600
    • 24 hours of MICR 600
    • 18 additional graduate credit hours
  • Residence requirement: you must list two consecutive semesters of full-time enrollment (9 credit hours) or three consecutive semesters of part-time enrollment (6 hours), this includes summer semesters.
  • Note: once you register for MICR 600 you must register for a minimum 3 hours for every subsequent semester, including summer!

The flagship campus of the University of Tennessee System and partner in the Tennessee Transfer Pathway.