Dissertation

Please refer to the official Catalogue requirements found here: click here.

Dissertation work begins once the student has been formally advanced to candidacy with the university. Research and writing goals are communicated on an individual basis between the primary advisor and the student.

Guidance and Approval: The doctoral committee, on the basis of the candidate's past academic performance and proposed dissertation topic, may require additional course work or other forms of preparation for the dissertation. The doctoral committee, under the direction of the principal advisor, supervises the student's research program and ultimately approves the dissertation. The normative time for completion of the Ph.D. program is six years, and the maximum permitted is seven years.

The recommended length for a dissertation is 200-250 pages of text and notes, not including bibliography. 

Filing the Dissertation: 
Information on filing the dissertation can be found on the Graduate Division website under Thesis and Dissertation Submission. Online filing is the easiest and recommended method. Make sure to follow the requirements of the checklist provided. Remember the Ph.D. II Form requires many signatures and may take some time to complete, so be sure to plan in advance.

Dissertation Defense

After submitting a full dissertation to their committee members, students will be required to pass an oral dissertation defense with their three-person doctoral committee prior to filing their dissertation and graduating. The examination will be open to all members of the academic community. Faculty and graduate students of the school (or academic unit) and the Graduate Dean must be given appropriate written notice at least five days in advance of the date, time, and place of the examination.

The format of the defense will typically include a brief student presentation of the project, followed by questions from the committee and audience, closed deliberation, and feedback. The goal of the dissertation defense is to provide a forum for conversation among committee members about the project and to communicate substantive final feedback to the student. The defense also offers closure to the student’s training in the program and an important transitional discussion for advice on revising the dissertation for potential publication and on post-graduate professional development.

The student should circulate the complete dissertation to committee members at least three weeks prior to the scheduled defense; committee members may have already previously requested and commented on drafts of
individual chapters or of the complete dissertation at their discretion. After reading the complete dissertation, committee members will determine if the student is ready to move to the oral defense.

It is recommended that students make scheduling arrangements with committee members and program staff far enough in advance to ensure faculty and room availability. The date of the defense should allow sufficient time (approximately two or three weeks) for minor revisions prior to filing and graduation. Students can anticipate minor revision requests to emerge from the discussion.

A dissertation defense is strongly recommended (but not required) for students in cohorts entering before fall 2016.