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Dissertation Defense

Dissertation Advisory Committee

Within one month after successful completion of the Preliminary Examination, the Student should consult with the Dissertation Advisor and DGS to form the Dissertation Advisory Committee. This committee must have at least five (5) faculty members, including the Dissertation Advisor and at least three other Program faculty members. Eligible faculty members can be found on the GPN website (  The fifth member must be from outside the University. The outside member can also be from outside the University in which case the member must demonstrate equivalent academic standards; the member’s curriculum vitae must accompany the Committee Recommendation form. No more than three (3) of the committee members can have primary appointments in the home department of the Dissertation Advisor; at least two (2) of the Program faculty members must be tenured and at least two (2) must be full members of the Graduate College. The Chair of the committee will be selected by the DGS and must be a full member of the Graduate College and cannot be the Dissertation Advisor. It is expected that the Dissertation Advisory Committee will become the Dissertation Defense Committee, although that will not be formalized with the Graduate College until the dissertation research is nearing completion.



A Committee Recommendation Form must be submitted to the Graduate College at least three (3) weeks prior to the dissertation defense.  The staff in the Graduate College reviews the Committee Recommendation form and, if the recommended committee meets Graduate College guidelines, approval is given by the Dean. The academic status of the student is checked to ensure that s/he is in good academic standing. A letter is then prepared by the Graduate College to each member of the committee asking him or her to serve on the committee. The letter is sent to the graduate program for distribution to each committee member.


Registration Requirements

Students must be registered from the term in which the Preliminary Examination is taken through the term of a successful defense of the dissertation, excluding summers, unless the Preliminary Examination or defense occur in a Summer term. If the defense will occur on or before the last day of registration for the term (first ten days in Fall and Spring Semesters, first five days in the eight-week Summer session) and the student was registered the previous term (e.g. Summer term for a Fall defense), registration is not required.  A defense after the last day of registration for the term requires registration that term.

If the student has a fellowship, assistantship and/or tuition waiver for the term, the student must be registered for the required hours or resign the award or assistantship.