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Dissertation Guidelines

Dissertation Research and Writing

All doctoral students are required to complete a dissertation. The dissertation must represent an original contribution to scholarship based on independent investigation.  Preparation of the dissertation should follow the guidelines in the current edition of the American Chemical Society (ACS) or American Institute of Physics (AIP)G37 Style Manual or in an appropriate professional journal in the designated field, as deemed acceptable by the Dissertation Committee.


After being admitted to candidacy, students must be continuously enrolled for dissertation hours each fall and spring semester until the defense of their dissertation. If a student is receiving supervision on the dissertation during the summer or the studenis graduating in the summer, the student must be enrolled in dissertation hours for the summer. All candidates for graduation must be enrolled in dissertation hours during the semester in which the degree is to be conferred. Students must complete a minimum o18 semester hours of dissertation research credit.


Dissertation Defense

The Dissertation Defense will not be scheduled until all other academic and program requirements have been fulfilled. A complete draft of the dissertation will be given to the members of the Dissertation Committee at least 65 days before the date of commencement during the semester in which the student intends to graduate. After committee members have reviewed the draft with the student and provided comments, the student, in consultation with the Ph.D. Research Advisor, will incorporate the recommended changes into a new draft of the dissertation. When each committee member is satisfied that the draft dissertation is defendable, the Dissertation Defense may be scheduled.


The Dissertation Defense will consist of two parts. The first part is a public presentation of the dissertation research.  Notice of the defense presentation will be posted at least two weeks in advance. The second part of the defense will immediately follow the public presentation but will be restricted to the student‘s Dissertation Committee and entail an oral examination over the dissertation research.  Approval of the dissertation requires positive votes from the student‘s Ph.D. Research Advisor and a majority of the remaining members of the Dissertation Committee. The results of the Dissertation Defense Report must be filed in the Graduate College before the Dean of the Graduate College gives final approval to the dissertation. This form may be downloaded from the Graduate College‘s website.


The student must submit the dissertation to the Graduate College for final approval. Specific guidelines for approval and submission of the dissertation can be obtained from the Graduate College.


Students are expected to complete the dissertation within two years of Advancement to Candidacy.  Any exceptions to this time limit require the approval of the Doctoral Program Director and the Dean of the Graduate College. The Doctoral Program Director will review each student annually to ascertain his or her progress in pursuing the degree and will consult with the student‘


Please note that the student’s dissertation must follow the most current Graduate College Guide available on their website at the time of final submission.  Other dissertation information, including deadlines, forms, and how to format and submit the document to The Graduate College can be found at