Defense Guidelines - University of Houston
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Defense Guidelines

Spring 2020 Exceptions Due to COVID-19

Posted: 3/17/2020; updated: 3/20/2020; 3/24/2020

Effective March 23, 2020 for the duration of Spring 2020.

NSM’s Office of Academic Affairs will not be accepting theses and dissertations in person until the University has resumed face-to-face instruction. The submission and reader evaluation process will be done electronically.

Defense of Thesis/Proposal/Dissertation:

Updated 3/24/2020
  • Online/Remote Defenses: Effective 3/24/2020, to comply with the Harris County Stay Home - Work Safe Order, no defenses can be in-person or mixed. All defenses MUST be coducted online/remotely where the student and whole committee meet virtually via video conferencing systems such as Zoom, Microsoft TEAMs, WebEx, Skype, etc.

Submission Deadline for Defended Thesis/Dissertation:

Updated 3/24/2020
  • May 4, 2020 (Monday) - regular submission (previous deadline was April 14, 2020)
  • May 4, 2020 (Monday) - submission of a dissertation to be considered for the NSM PhD Dissertation Award (previous deadline was April 14, 2020)
  • Monitor the NSM guidelines page for updates and details

Submission Process for Defended Thesis/Dissertation to NSM:

  1. Convert your committee-approved thesis/dissertation to a PDF and upload this first version to the Texas Digital Library TDL. (This is normally done after it is read by the NSM readers, but you will do this at the first submission in this case.) Make sure to keep a copy of this file for yourself.
  2. Make sure that your Approval Form has all the signatures from your committee members (digital signatures OK).
  3. Email your signed Approval Form to Ms. Sharonda Glass (, and let her know that you have uploaded your PDF on the TDL for submission to NSM.
  4. If you are applying for the outstanding dissertation award, also email Ms. Glass the application form for the award. Follow the rest of the instructions for the outstanding dissertation award, which already include an electronic submission of your documents to your departmental graduate chair.

Process for Reader’s Review/Corrections

  1. Ms. Glass will send your thesis/dissertation electronically to the appropriate reader. The reader will make corrections and comments directly on the PDF file, and rename the file to indicate that it has gone through a first read. This PDF with the reader’s comments will be sent back to Ms. Glass.
  2. Ms. Glass will upload the PDF to TDL and replace your initial submission. She will notify you by email that the thesis/dissertation with comments is ready for you to view and send you the reader’s comment form in the same email. She will also give you a deadline for when your revisions should be re-uploaded to TDL.
  3. The reader’s comments will be inserted directly in the PDF, in the form of “sticky notes,” highlights or changed text. Please make sure to go through your PDF carefully page by page as to not miss any comments.
  4. Make ALL the corrections requested by the reader. Save your corrected document as a PDF file again. Make sure to rename it with the words “REVISED” in the file name, so it is a distinct file. Upload this file to TDL again and replace the current file. Email Ms. Glass that your corrections are available on TDL.
  5. Ms. Glass will compare your revised file with the one with the reader’s comments to ensure that all corrections have been made.


The deadline to submit a defended thesis or dissertation varies each semester. Consult the NSM website for the upcoming deadline.


A thesis or dissertation committee form needs to be on file one semester before the MS thesis defense and one semester before before the Ph.D. preliminary defense.

Defense Annoucement

All defenses are open to the general public and need to be publicly announced at least 14 days (2 weeks) before the event. To create or edit a public announcement, please complete the online COSC defense annoucement formBefore you submit the annoucement, confirm that you have the room reserved. Do not submit an annoucement if a room has not been reserved.

View upcoming and previous defense annoucements.

Thesis/Dissertation Resources

Make sure to use the Thesis/Dissertation Approval Form (from the Graduate School) to collect the signatures from your committee members. This form will need to be given to the NSM office of Academic Affairs when you submit your Thesis or Dissertation. Note that the following types of signatures will be allowed: actual signature, Adobe signature within Acrobat, electronic signature.

Make sure to follow the template from the Graduate School to format and organize the front matter of your Thesis or Dissertation.

For those of you using Latex, you can use this Latex style file to format your thesis/dissertation according to the Graduate School requirements for the front matter. The Latex style file also contains some formatting of the main text, but make sure to additionally follow the NSM instructions given in the PDF above.

Here is some additional useful information for Latex users:

  1. Using the Overleaf (online Latex build and editing system) is recommended. It is free for individual use and works well once the style file is uploaded as part of a project.
  2. The style file itself has all the examples and documentation on how to customize/use the included features and directives.
  3. Some minor modifications might still be required to fine tune the way images and tables to be rendered and according to guidelines. This cannot be included in the style file and the author will have to format that as part of writing the latex document.


Students are expected to submit the thesis or dissertation document to committee members at least two weeks before the anticipated defense. MS and PhD students who are prepared to submit their thesis or dissertation for review for final approval should submit a copy to the NSM Office of Academic Affairs (SR1, room 202) between the hours of 8am-5pm, Monday through Friday. The submission also has to include an original signature page containing signatures of all committee members. In case of questions, contact Sharonda Glass at

If you have published part of your Thesis or Dissertation in scientific articles, make sure to follow the additional instructions about copyright in the PDF below and to consult the PDF document Publisher Policies on Pre-Published Content. If you need to send a request for permission to the publisher, you can use the template of a letter (in WORD) below.

NSM theses and dissertations should be embargoed for 2 years, unless no embargo is requested by your professor. Even during the embargo, the title, author and abstract of the thesis/dissertation are released to the public. If you wish for this information not to be made public during the embargo, you need to request a full record hold by filling out the Embargo Exception Request form and submitting it to the UH Graduate School. This form can also be used to request a first embargo extension of 2 years, or additional 1-year extensions of the embargo.