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  School of Public Affairs and Administration 2013–2015 Degree Programs Ph.D. Program Dissertation  


Dissertation Credits

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.


Each candidate for the doctorate shall produce, under faculty direction, a dissertation that is an original investigation of an issue or collection of issues leading to a significant contribution in the student's field. Every student must submit a formal proposal representing the projected content of the dissertation. The dissertation proposal committee shall act as an advising group for the candidate. Each student then selects an adviser, who becomes chair of that student's dissertation committee. The student is required to work with the faculty adviser on developing the proposal and should look to that adviser as a primary source of guidance and supervision. As the work progresses, the student is encouraged to consult with other potential members of the Dissertation Proposal Committee.

The Dissertation Proposal Committee normally consists of three to five members, one of whom should be a member of a graduate faculty outside the School of Public Affairs and Administration. Prior to the defense of the proposal, the composition of the dissertation committee must be approved by the Ph.D. director.

Once the student has worked out a draft proposal, he or she meets with the faculty adviser and other members of the Dissertation Proposal Committee to discuss the draft. As the research progresses, the student must keep the Dissertation Proposal Committee informed on how the research is progressing, and allow the committee members to assist in its development. The committee agrees to give ample and early warning of any reservations it might have about the student's progress. The panel must specify in writing any changes it will require for dissertation acceptance.

Dissertation Defense

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 department 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.
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