Ph.D. Candidates must complete a dissertation which makes an original contribution to knowledge. During the period that students undertake the dissertation, ordinarily at least two semesters, they must regularly enroll for dissertation credit for a minimum of 12 semester hours per term if they are in residence and serve as graduate assistants, 12 semester hours per term if they are on fellowships, or 3 semester hours if they are not in residence. Exceptions to this policy will be made only in cases of financial need. Dissertations are expected to be of publishable quality, either in whole or in part, according to the standards of the journals in the study field.


After passing the comprehensive examination, students must submit a dissertation prospectus. The prospectus must be approved by the supervisory committee after a formal meeting of the student and the committee. This should be accomplished as promptly as possible, ordinarily not later than three months after the successful completion of the comprehensive examination. The prospectus must be signed by the committee and by the Ph.D. Program Director. The required contents of the prospectus are described in Appendix B, "Required Contents for the Ph.D. Dissertation Prospectus." The student and the major professor shall be responsible for obtaining the required signatures on the Defense of Dissertation Prospectus form which can be obtained from the secretary to the program.


The major professor shall schedule the oral examination in defense of the dissertation in consultation with the student and other members of the supervisory committee. Each member of the supervisory committee shall have an opportunity to examine a dissertation draft at least one month before the defense date. When the defense is successful, and the dissertation is approved by the supervisory committee, the student must submit the Final Term Degree Clearance Form, as required by the University.