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Appendix B: PhD Dissertation & Defense

A PhD candidate submits a complete, defensible draft of the dissertation to the chair and other members of the advisory committee in the semester in which the candidate intends to complete all requirements for the PhD degree. The final oral examination in defense of the dissertation takes places at least two semesters after successful completion of the preliminary exam.

The major professor determines when the final oral defense of the completed dissertation, (the final examination for the PhD degree), will be scheduled after consulting with the other members of the examining committee.  Either the student or the major professor must notify the Graduate Secretary no less than three weeks prior to the final exam date. The major professor electronically signs a Request for Appointment of Examining Committee (G.S. Form 8). Final exams may not be held during the last week of classes. All requests for appointment of an examining committee must be made to the Graduate School at least three weeks before the final oral exam is scheduled. Once a final oral exam is scheduled with the Graduate School, it must be held. It cannot become a “working session.”

The final oral examination is held during an open meeting announced by posted notice on the door where the defense will be held. Only members of the advisory/examining committee may take part in the evaluation of the student’s work.

Each member of the examining committee indicates their approval or disapproval of the defense on the electronic Report of the Final Examination (G.S. Form 11). No more than one dissenting vote is acceptable in certifying a candidate to receive the PhD degree. Each committee member also signs the Thesis Acceptance Form (G.S. Form 9) or its electronic equivalent (soon to be established) to indicate their approval of the student’s final draft of the dissertation.

If the final oral exam is unsatisfactory, at least one semester must elapse before a second final exam is scheduled.

All PhD dissertations must conform to the style requirements detailed in the Thesis Preparation Manual prepared by the Graduate School’s Thesis/Dissertation Office. A copy of this manual can be obtained by contacting the Thesis/Dissertation Office.

A final revised copy of the dissertation must be deposited at the Graduate School prior the deadline set each session by the Graduate School (usually the end of the last week of classes).  PhD dissertations are deposited online via electronic thesis deposit.