Once a student has completed all coursework, he or she must maintain student status by registering either for Dissertation Research or Matriculation Continued, whichever applies. Either registration keeps students on the active rolls when they have not registered for coursework. Students must complete 24 dissertation credits prior to graduation. The number of dissertation credits completed per semester is decided in consultation with the Ph.D. director.
Dissertation Proposal (Prospectus)
The first stage of the dissertation involves developing and defending a proposal (also called a prospectus). Working closely with an adviser, the student develops a written research proposal of about 30-40 pages in length (not including attachments). With advice from the student's adviser, a committee is formed to review the proposal and participate in a public and open defense, known officially as the qualifying examination. The committee should be composed of three School of Public Affairs and Administration (SPAA) core tenured or tenure-track faculty members (including the adviser, who chairs the committee) and a fourth, outside member who must be from outside SPAA (either another department at Rutgers or another university).
Upon successfully passing the qualifying examination, the student is admitted to candidacy (and known then as a Ph.D. candidate). At the defense, it is important for the committee and candidate to complete and sign the Application for Admission to Candidacy, which is available from the Graduate School-Newark. The committee may, at its discretion, allow the student to revise the proposal and to repeat the defense. If the committee does not recommend admission to candidacy, the student may appeal that decision to the Ph.D. program committee.
An oral defense of the dissertation is required after submission of the final document to the dissertation committee for approval. The date for the defense is set by the dissertation adviser in conjunction with the Ph.D. director. The dissertation must be on file in the school office for at least two weeks prior to the formal defense. The student must get signatures of all members of the dissertation committee for final approval of the dissertation to be granted. The dissertation defense is open to all faculty members and students. Family members, however, are generally not allowed to attend the defense.
Upon successfully defending the dissertation, the student has satisfied the requirements for the Ph.D. At the defense, it is important for the dissertation committee and candidate to complete the Dissertation Defense Report, which is available from the Graduate School-Newark. The committee may at its discretion allow the student to revise the proposal and to repeat the defense. if the dissertation committee does not pass the dissertation, the student may appeal the decisions to the Ph.D. program committee.