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Introduction - Departments Overview

Grad Tools is designed to help doctoral students navigate through their degree requirements, and communicate and collaborate online with their committee members. Grad Tools consists of a set of "tools," some of which are part of the CTools online collaboration environment. Each doctoral student can have his or her own Grad Tools site.

One tool, the Dissertation Checklist, is unique to Grad Tools. The Dissertation Checklist is an online checklist that lists all the requirements for a doctoral degree. Part of the Dissertation Checklist contains official steps from Rackham Graduate School that apply to all students, regardless of department. Departments can also add steps that are required by the department. Committee members and students can add steps, as well. Departments have a comprehensive Grad Tools site that allows them to view and manage the Dissertation Checklist for their students.

The Dissertation Checklist


The Grad Tools Dissertation Checklist lists required and recommended steps for completing the dissertation process, and shows the status of their completion.

“Formal required steps” are tracked by Rackham. A student's progress on those steps is stored in Rackham's student progress database, and at least once a week, Grad Tools is notified of any changes. Only Rackham administrators can mark formal steps as completed.

A Dissertation checklist always includes steps from Rackham. Departments, committees, and students can add other steps that are required or helpful.

The checklist also:

• indicates with icons who controls each step, as shown in this legend:


• shows what steps are prerequisite to other steps

• provides links to necessary forms, schedules, and informational documents

• shows the date steps were completed

• shows defense location and when evaluations were submitted, as applicable

What can a department do with the checklist?

• look at student progress and mark steps as completed

• look at prerequisites

• add steps to the checklists of students in the department

• move steps that have been added

Who can make changes to the checklist?

Department staff can make changes and check off steps that originated from the department or have the department's icon.


Other features of Grad Tools

Other features of Grad Tools for students and committees provide a group email address; a schedule for personal and committee dates that must be met; and necessary Rackham forms and documents (via links).

•Schedule — provides a single place to list meetings and deadlines

•Resources — provides a place where documents can be shared, stored, and organized


Need Help?

Email is the best way to reach the Grad Tools support staff: