The doctoral dissertation is an unpublished document submitted to the graduate faculty of the university by way of your doctoral dissertation committee. It is a report of your investigation as one of the requirements of the doctoral degree; it shows evidence of your competence to design, carry out, and report an original and important sociological investigation. As you conduct your dissertation research, you may find the Graduate College's support programs for students at the doctoral level to be useful.
It is your responsibility to choose your major advisor and secure permission from that individual to become an advisee. Your major advisor must be a full-time member of the graduate faculty. Since your major advisor will guide you in preparation of your dissertation, you should select a person whose interests in sociology are pertinent to your major interests. You should see your major advisor at least once a semester to report progress and to be sure you are meeting deadlines and other degree requirements. Your major advisor will supervise your dissertation research and help you appoint a dissertation committee.
Your dissertation committee must consist of a minimum of four members: your major advisor who serves as chair, two additional members of the sociology graduate faculty, and one faculty member from outside of the Department of Sociology. You may request additional members from sociology or from other departments. Once you and your major advisor settle on a dissertation committee, you should complete a committee appointment form . Changes in your dissertation committee or major advisor require the submission of another committee appointment form.
An application for permission to elect doctoral dissertation hours (SOC 7300) is required. Following your first enrollment in doctoral dissertation hours, you must enroll in SOC 7300 each fall and spring semesters continuously until all your dissertation requirements are completed and approved. If you are unable to complete your dissertation within the first 15 hours of registration, you will be required to continue to enroll; however, only 15 hours of SOC 7300 will count toward meeting program requirements for your degree. If you plan to graduate during the Summer I or Summer II semesters, you will need to be enrolled during that semester.
You are required to write and defend a doctoral dissertation prospectus by the time you complete 45 hours in the doctoral program. Your prospectus must include:
Your prospectus must be developed in concert with your major advisor and approved by your dissertation committee at a formal prospectus meeting prior to the initiation of your research. The admission to doctoral candidacy form must be signed by all committee members and returned to the Graduate College and the graduate advisor for inclusion in your file. The doctoral dissertation research will be carried out under the supervision of your major advisor and the dissertation committee, with whom you should have regular and frequent consultations.
In the development of your prospectus, you and your major advisor should create a contract. This contract should specify: (a) the schedule of work to be completed and distributed for dissertation committee review, (b) ample turn-around times for committee review and your response to their comments and suggestions, and (c) a schedule for meetings with your major professor and committee members. While this contract may be altered from time to time by the uncertainties of the research process, it should be considered a commitment by all parties.
If your dissertation involves human subjects, you must have prior approval of your research proposal by the Human Subjects Institutional Review Board (HSIRB) before data collection can begin. Policy guidelines and application forms are available from the Office of Vice President for Research.
Following unanimous approval of your dissertation by your dissertation committee and a satisfactory audit from the Registrar's Office, you must present an oral defense of your dissertation to your dissertation committee and other interested persons.
An application for graduation precipitates an audit that informs you of any problems that might delay the scheduling of your oral dissertation defense. This application should be completed and submitted to the Registrar's Office two semesters prior to the date of your anticipated graduation. The oral dissertation defense can be scheduled only after the audit is complete and your dissertation committee has approved your dissertation for defense.
You must complete a Dissertation Defense Scheduling Form which must include an abstract of the dissertation. This form must be received by the Graduate College office two weeks prior to the scheduled time of your defense. A two hour block of time must be reserved for the defense. The Director of Graduate Studies should be informed of the date and time of the oral defense at least two weeks in advance and announcements that give the date and time of your oral defense must be prominently posted in public areas in the department.
Following a successful defense, you are responsible for making any corrections or changes directed by your dissertation committee and preparing final copies to be submitted to the Graduate College. The Graduate College employs a check-in form for the submission of the dissertation which should be followed closely. The Graduate College also maintains a list of deadlines and other important dates, including the deadline for submitting a dissertation in order to graduate in a particular semester.
When your dissertation receives final approval from the Graduate College, the Dean of the Graduate College will sign the appropriate forms and the dissertation will be sent for microfilming. The original will be forwarded to Waldo Library and the microfilm copy will be sent to UMI to be archived.