Dissertation Phase Activities

Overview (detailed sections to follow)

  • Form your dissertation committee. Often this committee is similar to the committee that supervises comprehensive exams.
  • Write your dissertation proposal.
  • Schedule and Defend your dissertation proposal. The defense must be scheduled during the Fall or Spring semester, and it must take place in a private room. Your committee must have your dissertation proposal in their hands 2 weeks prior to the defense.
  • Implement the research plan outlined in your proposal, and collect your dissertation data.
  • Complete data collection and analyze data. Finish written dissertation.
  • Schedule and defend your dissertation. Your dissertation committee must have your proposal in their hands 2 weeks prior to the defense.

Dissertation committee

  • The Dissertation Committee must consist of a minimum of three SISLT faculty members and one member from a program other than ISLT, typically from your minor or supporting field. The Dissertation Committee chair must be a member of the MU doctoral faculty. A faculty member or practitioner holding a terminal degree from outside of SISLT who has expertise in your research may be added as a special Committee member with program approval.
  • You are encouraged to include those faculty members who can best support your line of research as members of your Dissertation Committee.
  • During your dissertation phase, you must maintain continuous enrollment at MU.

Dissertation Proposal

Your dissertation proposal is intended to demonstrate to your committee that you are prepared to conduct research and write the dissertation. Your dissertation committee must approve your conceptualization, argument, and methodology before you begin data collection.

The dissertation proposal should include the first three chapters (Chapter 1: Rationale for the Study, Chapter 2: Literature Review, Chapter 3: Description of Methodology). Your advisor is your primary guide for putting together a solid proposal. While other members of your committee may provide advice in their areas of expertise, it is generally expected that you will work most closely with your advisor to make sure your proposal is ready for committee review. In particular, the quality of your articles motivation and identification of a gap in present research should be articulated early in Chapter one. Chapter two should contain a literature review the builds on the motivation in Chapter one. Chapter three should define a research plan, methodology and data collection approach appropriately suited to your area of inquiry.

Additional information (link to external site) is available from the Graduate School.

You will be required to schedule a dissertation proposal meeting with your dissertation committee prior to beginning your research. The proposal meeting is open to all faculty and students in the School.

During the meeting, you will make a short presentation. The Committee will then discuss the relevance and efficacy of the arguments and methods stated. The Committee may approve the proposal for continuation or recommend revisions to be completed prior to approval. You may be required to significantly revise the proposal and even hold a second proposal meeting before proceeding with data collection.

When the Dissertation Committee has accepted your proposal, you are then expected to complete your study according to the three chapters written and approved in your proposal meeting.

Dissertation Defense

After you have completed your dissertation draft and received your Dissertation Chair's approval, you may schedule your dissertation defense. A copy of your dissertation must be sent to each committee member at least two weeks prior to the defense meeting.

During the meeting, you will make a presentation of your dissertation research. The Dissertation Committee, other faculty, staff, and students may attend your dissertation defense and ask questions of you regarding your dissertation and your research. Audience members will be excused while the Dissertation Committee evaluates the dissertation and defense.

The Committee may approve the dissertation, approve the dissertation pending revisions, or fail the dissertation. For the dissertation to be successfully defended, the Dissertation Committee must vote to pass the dissertation, with no more than one dissenting or abstaining vote.

Then go out and celebrate!