A student pursuing this degree must present a dissertation on some subject connected with his or her major field of study. The dissertation must represent originality in research, independent thinking, scholarly ability, and technical mastery of a field of study. The conclusions must be logical, the literary form acceptable, and the contribution to knowledge meriting publication.
Persons who serve on the advisory committee at the time the dissertation research is undertaken must be faculty members knowledgeable in the areas of the student’s research. They should be selected irrespective of their departmental affiliation.
The major professor has the primary responsibility for guiding research, but the student should consult all members of the advisory committee to draw upon their expertise in relevant areas.
The major professor and advisory committee shall guide the student in planning the dissertation. The student will prepare a dissertation prospectus. When the major professor certifies that the dissertation prospectus is satisfactory, it must be formally considered by the advisory committee in a meeting with the student. This formal consideration may not take the place of the comprehensive oral examination.
Approval of the dissertation prospectus signifies that members of the advisory committee believe that it proposes a satisfactory research study. Approval of the prospectus requires the agreement of the advisory committee with no more than one dissenting vote as evidenced by their signing an appropriate form, which, together with the approved prospectus, is filed with the graduate coordinator.