Writing and Defending a Dissertation

The dissertation is a written piece of original thinking that demonstrates a doctoral candidate's mastery of the subject matter, methodologies, and conceptual foundations in the chosen field of study. Guidelines for the content and general format of a doctoral dissertation can be found at the Dissertation and Thesis Services website. You will be expected to adhere strictly to all of the guidelines listed on that website, so it is imperative that you read the information on that website carefully and follow the guidelines to the letter. You will not graduate as scheduled if you fail to write, defend, and submit your dissertation according to the library guidelines.

In your last semester of dissertation writing, there will be a strict timeline of when you have to complete certain tasks. If you are unsure about the timeline of events after reading the library website, contact the Graduate Coordinator as early in the semester as possible for more information.

The main tasks that you need to complete during your last semester are as follows:

  • Submit graduation paperwork to the Registrar's Office
  • Format review with the Thesis/Dissertation Coordinator in the library
  • Schedule your dissertation defense with your committee
  • Reserve a room for your defense (often the Economics Conference room)
  • Submit a copy of your dissertation to the Johnson Center library for public view
  • Contact the Graduate Coordinator regarding dissertation flyer to announce your defense to the university community
  • Defend your dissertation
  • Get approval signatures from the committee, Director of Economics Graduate Studies, Department Chair, and Dean
  • Submit your dissertation paper and additional required materials to the library

You should keep in mind that directors, chairs, and deans tend to be busy people, so it may take several days to obtain their signatures. Most importantly, all signatures required for the proposal and dissertation process must be in black ink. If they are not, you will have to get all of the signatures again before the library will accept your dissertation and allow you to graduate.