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Introduction - Students 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 is made up of a set of "tools," some of which are part of the CTools online collaboration environment.

One tool, the Dissertation Checklist, is unique to Grad Tools. The Dissertation Checklist is an online list of 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.

The Dissertation Checklist


The Grad Tools Dissertation Checklist lists steps that are required and recommended to complete the dissertation process, and shows your status.

“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. Your department, your committee, and you can add other steps that are required or helpful. Departments have a comprehensive Grad Tools site that allows them to view and manage the Dissertation Checklist for their students.

The checklist also:

• indicates with icons who is responsible for completing each step, or verifying that the step has been completed.


• shows what steps are prerequisite to other steps

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

• shows the dates steps were completed

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


What can a student do with the checklist?

• keep track of all your requirements and progress

• identify prerequisites

• add personal steps for your own planning

• mark some steps as completed

• add steps to the checklist of the student

Who can make changes to the checklist?

Permission to make changes to or check off a step is determined by the icon listed next to that step. For example, department administrators can check off steps that have the department icon, and students can check off steps that have the student icon only and steps they created for themselves.

Other features of Grad Tools

Other features of Grad Tools provide a group email address and shared email storage; and provide necessary Rackham forms and documents (via links).

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

•Resources — documents can be shared, stored, and organized

•Discussion — for having structured discussions with, for example, committee members

•Chat —facilitates online discussion between participants in real time

•Email Archive — a repository for all messages sent to a Grad Tools site


Need Help?

Keep reading this online help, or send email to the Grad Tools team: