Dissertation and Final Exam
Doctoral students are required to write a dissertation that significantly advances the state of knowledge in the field. The topic of the dissertation is chosen by the student in consultation with mentors, and must represent independent design and analysis. Students may choose to collect primary data or analyze existing data. The dissertation must demonstrate an understanding of the theory, content, and methods in that topic area and must conform to departmental, school and university guidelines.
Typically, students write 3 publishable journal articles for their dissertation. In general, one or two papers have been submitted for publication and the third is ready for submission at the time of the final defense. The final dissertation product usually consists of 5 chapters and appendices. (An introduction which describes the general topic and its importance, three related journal articles, and a conclusion). Students may also elect to write a traditional dissertation.
The final examination for the PhD degree consists of a defense of the student's dissertation orally before the Supervisory Committee. The student then incorporates in the dissertation appropriate changes recommended by the Committee before final award of the degree.