What resources are still available after defending a dissertation?

Date: February 2019


Dear Deans,

I defended my dissertation at the end of last semester with the hope that this would make me a more sought-out candidate on the job market this season (keeping fingers crossed!). I am now spending my last semester at Cornell TAing and revising my dissertation before filing this May or August.

My question is related to the privileges that one can still use as a grad student in this “in between” time period (when one has defended but is not quite The. Doctor. just yet). For example, I have just been invited to deliver a talk at a symposium this summer, which will cost in travel fees. Am I still eligible to apply to Cornell conference grants to cover those fees? Are there other advantages that I should be aware of, which may not be available now that I have defended?

Many thanks in advance,

“Not Quite The Doctor”


Dear “Not Quite The Doctor”

Congratulations on the recent successful defense of your doctoral dissertation. That’s a huge milestone and a cause for celebration! However, passing the defense does not directly change your registration status with the Graduate School or the University. You remain a student, with all privileges and responsibilities, until you either submit your dissertation and have your degree conferred or request a leave of absence. It’s common for students to need a few weeks (or sometimes even longer) to complete revisions to their dissertation before uploading the final version to the Graduate School. During that time you may remain on an assistantship if you are within the funding commitment period that was made at the time of your admission. 

There are a couple important policies you should be aware of as you make your plans. Your final dissertation should be uploaded to the Graduate School within 60 days of your defense, or a late filing fee is charged. This is seldom a problem because the dissertation must already be complete and in its final format by the time of the defense, but some students need a bit more time. You’ll remain a student for this spring semester, so you’re eligible for conference travel grants and other benefits. However, you would not normally be eligible to register for the summer 2019 term since your dissertation should be submitted well before then. Students cannot maintain registration beyond the semester in which all degree requirements have been met, and you would be required to petition for summer enrollment since it’s so far beyond the date of your defense.

Again, congratulations on your defense, and best wishes for a fruitful job search!



Jason Kahabka
Associate Dean for Administration