Prior to beginning work on the dissertation, students are asked to consult carefully the ‘Guidelines for Dissertations’ appended to this document (see Graduate Student Handbook Appendix B, page 50).

Dissertation Committee

Membership on the dissertation committee is designated by the KU Office of Graduate Affairs on the basis of recommendations by the Department. The dissertation committee shall consist of five members. One of them must be from outside the Department, particularly if the dissertation topic engages with other disciplines. The chair of the candidate’s committee is the director of the dissertation.

The three-person Graduate Advisory Committee may become the core of the student’s Dissertation Committee. Yet, the student can change the composition of their committee after the Ph.D. examination process is complete, and in consultation with their doctoral advisor and Director of Graduate Studies.

Final Oral Defense

As stipulated by KU’s Office of Graduate Affairs, each member of the committee must read and approve the dissertation before the degree can be awarded. Each member should, thereof, have the opportunity to read the dissertation and to make suggestions before it is typed in its final version.

During the last semester of writing the dissertation, the student should contact the Graduate Academic Advisor to begin the defense scheduling process. The Graduate Academic Advisor will communicate on behalf of the student to schedule the defense, reserve a room, and complete pre-approval work prior to the exam. The dissertation defense scheduling process should begin no later than two months prior to the earliest possible defense date.

The student should send the final draft of their dissertation to each committee member via email (or in hard copy by request) at least four weeks prior to the scheduled date of the dissertation defense to enable committee members to examine it fully. The grade (satisfactory, honors, or unsatisfactory) for the defense is determined by majority vote of the five-member dissertation committee.

After the final oral defense, the dissertation, prepared in accord with KU Office of Graduate Affairs and departmental guidelines, must be submitted electronically to the KU Office of Graduate Affairs. In addition, one bound and signed copy of the dissertation must be turned in to the Department for permanent filing. The KU Graduate Catalogue states that students who do not complete the dissertation within the eight-year time limit, must petition for an extension of the deadline.

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