Procedure for Completing Your LL.M. or S.J.D. Degree

As you near the completion of writing your thesis (LL.M.) or dissertation (S.J.D.) and you think that you might be receiving your degree, please notify the Graduate Programs office via email at Also, stay in close contact with your advisor! You will need his or her help in:

  • revisions of the last draft before the final copy;
  • selection of one additional faculty member to read your work (if you do not already have a second reader or reading committee);
  • approval of the final copy; and
  • completion of the paperwork that leads to your degree.

The General Procedure 

Your advisor will read your proposed final draft and probably will make comments, edits, suggestions, and tell you what changes may need to be incorporated into the final copy of your writing. Be sure to refer to the format guidelines for theses and dissertations.

Your advisor will also ask the members of the reading committee to read a version of your last draft for their review. The advisor may pass along his or her copy of your last draft, or may ask you to supply review copies. Your advisor will let you know. Members of the reading committee may also request changes or additions to the thesis or dissertation.

Please read through these directions at least two times so that you understand the procedure. Afterward, if you have questions, contact the Graduate Programs office.

Also, your HANDBOOK has additional information about your thesis or dissertation. Don't forget to look at the HANDBOOK Table of Contents! We took time to put the HANDBOOK together for you and we hope it will be helpful at this stage of your academic program!

How much time should you allow? 

Theses and dissertations require time for final reading and review. Allow at least 4 to 6 weeks for the review process. Ideally, your advisor will be reading sections of your writing and making comments as you work on your thesis or dissertation. This on-going review makes the end-of-program procedure less time-consuming. Still, allow sufficient time for your advisor to do a final review as well as for the committee members to review your thesis.

When the committee members and your advisor are satisfied with your work, your advisor will contact the Graduate Programs office to prepare the required signature forms.

What to do with the final copies of your thesis/dissertation? 

Your advisor will tell you when the reading committee has approved your writing; at that point you should make the final copies of your thesis or dissertation.

  • You will need to have two copies made on ACID-FREE paper.
  • Bring the copies to the Graduate Programs office (not the library).
  • With your copies, also bring an official copy of your UW transcript and a check for $20 made payable to the UW Law Library.

This officially initiates the signing of the required forms. Allow an additional two to three weeks for this process.

Your understanding of the time frame and advance notification of the Graduate Programs office will facilitate the final awarding of your degree, so your assistance is greatly appreciated!

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