The dissertation may be written in either the traditional (book) or the manuscript (journal article) style. The Graduate School requires that in either case, the dissertation must include an introduction and literature review aimed at defining a problem, stating objectives, and reviewing relevant literature. The Graduate School also requires a concluding chapter or section discussing the major conclusions.

  • Traditional Style. In addition to an introduction, literature review, and conclusion, this style must include chapters, as in a book. The number and length of chapters may vary, depending on the subject matter.
  • Manuscript Style. In addition to an introduction, literature review, and conclusion, this style must include stand-alone papers, on the model of journal articles. The number and length of the papers may vary, depending on the subject matter. All the papers should be related by some over-arching theme or issue.

When your Major Professor is satisfied with the completed dissertation, she/he will certify that it has her/his approval and is ready to be read by your Advisory Committee members. Your Major Professor will then distribute copies of the dissertation to the remaining members of the Advisory Committee. Current Graduate School policy requires that your Committee must have at least three weeks to read and evaluate the completed dissertation. In the meantime, you must schedule a final oral defense, and ask the Graduate Coordinator to notify the Graduate School. This notification must be submitted to the Graduate School at least two weeks before your defense. The Graduate School will announce the time and place of the defense of the dissertation to the University community. Before graduation, you must also complete a format check with Graduate School. In order to complete the format check, you must electronically submit a complete formatted copy of the dissertation to the Graduate School no later than four weeks prior to graduation.

Current Graduate School policy requires that all or all but one of your Committee members must certify in writing to your Major Professor their agreement that the dissertation is ready for defense. If your Advisory Committee declines to approve the dissertation as ready for the final defense, your Major Professor will notify you and the Graduate School.

Your Major Professor will chair the defense of your dissertation, and all members of your Advisory Committee must attend. Current Graduate School policy provides that in order to pass your oral defense you must receive a positive vote from your Major Professor and all or all but one of the other members of your committee. All or all but one of the members of the Advisory Committee must approve your dissertation and defense and must certify their approval in writing on the Dissertation and Final Examination Approval form, which is available on the Graduate School website. The results of the defense of the dissertation must be reported to the Graduate School at least one week before graduation.