Student Handbook: Dissertation Writing and Defense

Dissertation Writing and Defense (Dissertation Home)

Preparation of the Dissertation

Following the defense of the dissertation proposal, the student should work on his or her dissertation in accordance with the direction received from the Dissertation Committee.

The student should consult with his or her dissertation chair regarding the process for providing drafts of the dissertation chapters to the chair and the committee members for review and comments.

Students must address the comments and feedback received from the dissertation chair and committee members.

There are a variety of formatting and deadline criteria that are set by the Graduate Office at UIS. Please make sure to download the formatting guidelines early in the writing process. These forms and checklists are very important for continued successful progress. These documents can be obtained from the Graduate Office site.

Dissertation Defense

The dissertation chair is responsible for coordinating the dissertation defense date with the Director of the DPA Program.  The process must adhere to all university and DPA deadlines.

All members of the dissertation committee must agree in writing (email is acceptable) that the dissertation is complete and ready to defend. The dissertation committee chair should then contact the DPA program director at least two weeks prior to the dissertation defense.  The DPA director will email the campus community announcing the dissertation defense.

Students should email the program office and ask for the two signature forms to be prepared for the dissertation defense. One form is for committee signatures. The other form is to certify completion of other DPA requirements.

All Dissertation Committee members must be physically present, or, in extenuating circumstances, electronically present at the dissertation defense.  The student must be physically present.

The dissertation defense is open to the public.

Dissertations must be approved and signed by all members of the Dissertation Committee.

A suggested process for the dissertation defense is:

  • 1.) Student presentation of 15 to 30 minutes, depending on need, in public.2.) Questions from the committee members in public.3.) The dissertation chair will ask for questions from the public.  The chair acts as moderator and guides the discussion.4.) At the discretion of the dissertation chair, the public may then be asked to leave. The committee then may have some clarifying questions that it may ask before it convenes to make a decision.5.) Committee convenes without the student in attendance to make a decision. Student waits.

    6.) Committee invites student into the committee meeting to discuss their decision.

    7.) Committee completes dissertation defense signature form.

    8.) Students should send a final electronic copy of their dissertation to the program chair.

The program office will then send the dissertation signature page, the program requirement completion form and the signed DPA program completion form to the Dean and Provost’s office.

The dissertation committee determination on substantive quality and acceptability of the dissertation is final. The student may appeal a negative committee decision only based on procedural issues. The appeal would be to the appropriate college dean.