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Dissertation & Defense

Preparation for Dissertation

Upon approval of the dissertation proposal the student proceeds with dissertation research. Students are expected to consult with committee members as the research progresses and to keep the committee chair advised of progress made.

Once the dissertation is substantially completed and committee members have had the opportunity to review drafts of the written work, the committee meets, with or without the student present, to consider the progress made and to identify concerns, changes to be made, or further work to be done. Once the committee members are substantially satisfied with the written work, the student, in consultation with the committee, schedules the oral defense of the dissertation with the graduate coordinator. By university regulation, this defense is open to the public.

The doctoral dissertation must be submitted to each member of the doctoral committee at least four weeks before the final examination. The final version of the dissertation must be approved by each member of the doctoral committee. All members of the committee must be present at the defense. Exceptions may be made only under very restrictive conditions. The student schedules the defense with the graduate coordinator.

Note: if there are changes to the doctoral commitee since the time of advancement to candidacy, the student must inform the graduate coordinator so that a Doctoral Committee Reconstitution can be submitted to the Graduate Division for approval.  Refer to rules for appointment of doctoral committee.


Further, the student must consult with the Graduate Division to be told of appropriate requirements for the dissertation to be filed. Having successfully defended the dissertation in oral examination, the student is eligible to receive the Ph.D. degree. The student schedules preliminary and final degree checks with Graduate Division and the final version of the dissertation accepted by the university librarian is the final step in completing all requirements for the Ph.D.

All students will be asked to provide the graduate coordinator with the oral defense meeting time/date and an abstract at least one week prior to the defense. DocuSign electronic versions of official forms for Graduate Division (final report and general petition if applicable) will be initiated by the graduate coordinator and routed for signatures and approval. A filing fee is charged if the student is not registered at the time of defense and a Readmit fee is required for students whose status is Withdrawn.

After Dissertation and Defense

As students prepare to leave the department, they are asked to clean out their office, turn keys in, settle any copy or phone charges and inform the graduate coordinator of future contact and employment information.