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Frequently Asked Questions for Theses, Projects and Dissertations
Q: What do I need to know if my research involves human subjects?
A: Students and Faculty whose research involves working with human subjects are required by law to complete mandatory training prior to conducting research. Please refer to the following URL for specific information: http://www.wmich.edu/research/compliance.html. You may also contact Julia Mays, Research Compliance Coordinator in the Office of the Vice President for Research, at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (269) 387-8293.
Q: "Where can I go to seek help with Dissertation Coaching, Advising, Mentoring, and Support?"
A: The Graduate Center for Research and Retention provides coaching assistance to graduate students throughout the dissertation/thesis process, from conceptual development of the dissertation and thesis to graduation - and also beyond, with the development of application materials for the CV and resume. Contact Dr. Marianne Di Pierro, Director of the Graduate Center, by phone at 387.8249 or by email at email@example.com for more information. Visit the Graduate Center at the following URL: http://www.wmich.edu/grad/gcrr.html
Q: What is
"continuous enrollment" and what are the requirements?
A: Students enrolled in thesis, project, or dissertation hours must continue to enroll in these hours every term until graduation, even if they have already taken the maximum number of credit hours that will count in the program. Beginning in Fall 2002, the revised continuous enrollment policy allows for enrollment in the summer sessions to be optional for students who pre-register for the following fall term. Students who wish to use the library databases from a remote location must pay the customary computer fee for the summer terms. Special exemptions to the continuous enrollment requirement may be granted by appealing to the dean of the Graduate College.
Q: I need
to put together my committee so I can proceed with my thesis or dissertation
proposal. What do I need to know?
A: First, you should choose a faculty member to serve as your committee chair. This person must be a full member of the graduate faculty in your home department. Your committee members should be chosen in conjunction with your committee chair. All members must have either full or associate membership in the graduate faculty. Your committee must contain a minimum of three members, but your department may require additional members. At least one other person from your home department must serve on your committee. Doctoral committees must have at least one external member, who may be from another department at WMU or from outside the University. Committee members external to WMU must be appointed as associate members to the graduate faculty for committee service by your home department.
Q: Is there
a standard format I should use for my thesis, project, or dissertation?
A: Yes. Please follow the 2013 Guidelines for the Preparation of Dissertations and Theses, available on the Graduate College web site. You are encouraged to attend a formatting workshop to learn about the formatting requirements and other information pertaining to graduation. Please see Dissertation Formatting Workshops or the Activities/Events listings for more details regarding formatting workshops.
Q: Does The
Graduate College offer other workshops and seminars for students? Where
can I find information about activities offered through The Graduate
A: The Graduate College and the Office of the Vice President for Research offer a number of workshops and seminars of interest to graduate students throughout the year. Go to the Activities and Events listing for more information.
Q: I don't
think I will be able to complete all of my degree requirements within
the time limit (6 years for master's students, 5 years for specialist
students, 7 years for doctoral students). Is there anything I can do?
A: Talk to your advisor as soon as possible. Part-time students and students with hardships may appeal for an extension of the time limit for completion of the degree by submitting an extension request form (link here). After you complete the student section, your advisor will fill out the next section and submit the form to the Graduate College for review. You will receive a letter with the result of your appeal.
Q: When do
I need to submit my master's thesis, specialist project, or doctoral
dissertation to the Graduate College?
A: The submission deadline is generally the Friday four weeks before commencement (four weeks before the end of summer II term). Please refer to the Calendar of Deadlines for exact dates.
Q: It doesn't
look like my committee will approve my thesis or dissertation before
the submission deadline. What should I do?
A: Contact your committee chair/major advisor to determine a reasonable timeline for completion, and consult with the Graduate College, if necessary. If you will definitely not meet the deadline, contact your graduation auditor to change your graduation date, as you will not be automatically moved to the next graduating class.
Q: I have
to do a project for my master's degree instead of a thesis. Do I submit
this to The Graduate College?
A: Projects for specialist degrees are submitted to the Graduate College. Master's-level projects that are completed in some departments in place of a thesis are not submitted to the Graduate College for approval.
Q: What do
I need to turn in with my thesis, project, or dissertation?
A: Please download a check-in form to submit with your document. Master's and Specialist candidates must submit two original committee-signed approval forms, one photocopy of the approval form, and one additional title page and abstract. Doctoral candidates must submit three original committee-signed approval forms, one photocopy of the approval form, two additional title pages and abstracts, a completed and signed UMI agreement form, the microfilming fee, payable to WMU ($60 as of August 2002, subject to change), and one photocopy of the agreement form. All forms are available on the Graduate College web site, except the UMI agreement form, which you may email firstname.lastname@example.org to request.
Q: How long
does it take to hear back about my thesis, project, or dissertation
after I turn it in to the Graduate College? What happens if I don't
make the changes before graduation?
A: Doctoral students should allow approximately 2-3 weeks and master's and specialist students should allow a minimum of three weeks for return of the review copy. Manuscripts are reviewed in the order in which they are received, with dissertations taking priority. Doctoral students must fulfill all graduation requirements, including approval of the dissertation by the graduate dean, before graduation, while master's and specialist students have up to 30 days after graduation to fulfill their requirements. After the manuscript is reviewed, you must return any required changes to the Graduate College no later than two weeks after notification, possibly earlier for doctoral students. Students should plan to remain accessible to make any necessary changes until final approval is received. If the manuscript does not receive final approval by the deadline, you will need to change your graduation date with Graduation Auditing and submit a new title page with the new date of graduation.
Q: I want
to graduate in August, but there is no commencement ceremony. Can I
attend another ceremony?
A: Master's and specialist students who apply for August graduation before May 15 may participate in the June ceremony. August doctoral graduates may participate in the December ceremony. Graduation Auditing will send you further information after your audit is completed.