Department of Middle Eastern Studies
Department of Middle Eastern Studies


To be eligible to apply to graduate, degree candidates must first be enrolled in either:  Dissertation Writing (MEL x99W), Thesis B (MES/MEL 698B), or Report (MES/MEL 398R). Please submit the online application to graduate early in the semester. Be certain to maintain regular contact with all committee members about what they want to see, and by when, as you prepare to submit the dissertation/thesis/report.


I.    Primary Deadlines

II.   Graduate School procedures

III.  Graduation / Diplomas / In Absentia

I.  Primary MES & Graduate School Deadlines

Jan 17 - April 14:  Apply to graduate!

  • Master's single degree:  Initiate a master's application for graduation.
  • Master's dual-degree:  There is no online application. Please work with both programs' Graduate Coordinator to properly complete/submit the paper versions of the program of work and application, both of which are due at the Graduate School by April 14. The program of work document is particularly tricky, which is why both programs' Graduate Coordinators should be involved.
  • Doctoral students:  visit this page for instructions.

March 31, 4 PM:  Deadline for MA students to submit a complete draft of the thesis/report to their committees. Some committees may require an earlier date.

May 05, 3 PM:  Last class day and the deadline to submit to the Graduate School ALL dissertation/thesis/report materials (in the tower, MAI 101). Try to do this a few days early, as the lines become very long in the days leading up to the last class day. If the submission deadline is missed, graduation is not possible and the student must re-register and re-apply to graduate in the following semester.

May 08:  Complete the MES Exit Survey.

II.  MES & Graduate School Procedures

1.  Ensure that your tuition is paid. Students cannot apply to graduate if they're not registered and paid.

2.  Carefully review the Graduate School's instructions, which apply to both MA and Ph.D. students. THIS IS IMPORTANT.

3.  Master's Committees:  No thesis/report defense is required. In most cases, your two thesis/report readers will be designated as the supervisor and 2nd reader. Other cases may be supervisor and co-supervisor (common for dual-degree students), or both may possibly be equal co-supervisors, depending on which faculty are involved. While rare, some students might desire three readers (a supervisor + two readers, or a supervisor + co-supervisor + a reader). For students with non-standard committees such as this, please consult with the Graduate Coordinator to be certain that faculty is assigned their proper roles when it comes time to submit the graduation application, which is what formally outlines the committee composition. The supervisor (aka First Reader, aka Chair) must be on the MES or MEL Graduate Studies Committee. If the 2nd reader is not employed by UT Austin, s/he must typically have earned a doctorate, or otherwise be a recognized specialist in the field that's related to your thesis/report research. Such outside members must submit a current CV and no-expense letter to the Graduate Coordinator, who will forward it to the Graduate School at the time that the graduation application is submitted (it is important that they receive these materials at the time that the app is submitted).

4.  Ph.D. only - Scheduling the Dissertation Defense:  Carefully review the Graduate School's instructions. If you have not already begun to zero in on a defense date, start this conversation with your full committee now. It is customary to need to poll the members in order to settle upon a date & time. The full committee must receive a complete draft - approved by the supervisor - no less than 3-4 weeks in advance of the defense. The scheduling form (Request for Final Oral) requires multiple signatures, so it's best for the student to begin collecting these as early as possible. The Graduate School no longer distinguishes been traditional and electronic/virtual defenses. Only one committee member may be excused from participation, and this cannot include the supervisor or, if applicable, co-supervisor. After the defense is scheduled, the Graduate School will send your supervisor what is known as the "gold sheet," which all committee members (who are physically present) sign to indicate that the defense has been approved. After the GSC Chair approves this document, it must be immediately hand-carried to the Graduate School. 

5.  Formatting:  All students must adhere to the Graduate School's formatting guidelines, and it's best to utilize the Windows and OSX digital templates. Additionally, a user guide may be consulted. Finally, a format check is necessary prior to submitting the dissertation/thesis/report, and students may either schedule an appointment with one a degree evaluator or handle the format check by email.:

6.  Upload to Texas Digital Library:  No later than the evening before the last class day of May 5th (and preferably sooner), upload to TDL the dissertation/thesis/report. You must upload the dissertation/thesis/report prior to delivering your paperwork to the Graduate School.

7.  After the upload:  The following materials must be delivered as hard copies to the Graduate School. Examples of the first 3 items are contained in the digital templates, or on pages 17-18 of the PDF version of the format guidelines:

  • Signature page:  this page is contained in the dissertation/thesis/report front matter, and MUST bear the original ink signature of at least the supervisor and, if applicable, the co-supervisor. Scanned/facsimile signatures are acceptable from non-supervisory members
  • Intellectual Property (Copyright) Tutorial (PhD only)
  • Human Participants statement:  if your research involves human subjects, an IRB approval letter must be attached
  • Restricted Regions statement:  if any part of your research was conducted in a country with a US State Department travel warning, prior travel authorization must have been obtained through the International Oversight Committee of the Study Abroad Office, and this documentation must be attached to this statement

8.  Email a copy of the approved dissertation/thesis/report to the MES Graduate Coordinator. It will eventually become available to the public within several months through the university's online library search unless you request to delay publication (for 2 years) with your supervisor's written support. If this is the case, the supervisor's letter must be included with the items listed above in #7.

9.  MES Exit Survey:  Complete the survey no later than May 08, even in cases where a C/DMES master's student is continuing to the PhD program in DMES. Degrees will not be certified without the completion of this survey!

III.  Convocation, Diplomas, In Absentia Registration

Graduation Ceremony (Convocation) - there is no convocation in summer or fall semesters

The Graduate School holds its annual convocation each May in Bass Concert Hall. Students who complete degree requirements in the spring semester - as well as the preceding fall and summer semesters - are welcome to participate. Registration is required for currently enrolled students; for those enrolled within the previous 2 semesters, the Graduate School will email alumni to extend an invitation to the convocation. 


Diplomas will be mailed to the student's permanent address starting in the month following graduation. Please visit All My Addresses to ascertain that the diploma will be received where you want it to be sent and not, for example, to an empty apartment in Austin!

In Absentia - available only at the end of summer semesters

This option comes in handy for summer degree candidates who almost make, but miss, the summer submission deadline in mid-August. It essentially extends the submission deadline to the day before the first class day of the fall semester. That is, it buys the student approximately an extra 10 days to tie up loose ends and submit the dissertation/thesis/report, and all of the accompanying paperwork. (Since the first class day of fall 2016 is Aug. 24, the submission deadline for in absentia is Aug. 23.) The advantages typically outweigh the disadvantages:

  • Disadvantage:  the student does not earn the degree until December (approximately 4 months after summer graduation). Therefore, a final transcript cannot be ordered until January.
  • Advantage:  tuition would not need to be paid for the fall semester. There is a simple $25 flat fee, payable only by check to "UT Austin." If requested at the time of document submission, the Graduate School will provide a formal letter stating that the student has satisfied degree requirements. An employer might wish to see evidence of such a thing in lieu of a diploma or final transcript.

However, if the student misses the in absentia deadline (again, the day before the first class day of the fall semester), there is no choice but to re-register and pay tuition for the dissertation/Thesis B/Report course for the fall semester. And it becomes necessary to reapply to graduate in the fall. This may pose 3 significant problems:

  1. MES might not allow a degree extension.
  2. Your committee might not agree to continue working with you.
  3. Even if #1 or #2 are not problems, the student is responsible for paying at least 3 credit hours worth of tuition for the fall semester.

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