Graduate Student Handbook

8.8 The Dissertation

Dissertation Committee and Prospectus

Requirements for the Dissertation Committee and Prospectus may vary by division.  Unless stated differently in the division guidelines, the student forms a Dissertation Committee as soon as the student and advisor agree that it is appropriate following successful completion of the Candidacy Examination.  The Dissertation Committee is composed of no fewer than three Graduate Faculty members of the CPH.  The student’s advisor, who must be a Category P graduate faculty member in the doctoral candidate's graduate program, serves as chair.  Additional Graduate Faculty members outside the CPH may also serve on the Dissertation Committee.  

The Committee must approve the Dissertation Prospectus and complete the Prospectus Approval Form (found in Appendix J).  The student is ordinarily expected to prepare an acceptable draft of the Dissertation Prospectus within one year of admission to candidacy, unless otherwise specified by the division (see Divisional PhD Examination Requirements in Appendix G).

The Dissertation

The dissertation is intended to be a demonstration of the student’s ability to function as an independent scholar.  The Dissertation Committee will offer guidance, especially in the design of the study as described in the prospectus, but the student is responsible for the conduct of the research and preparation of the dissertation.  While the length of time it takes to complete the dissertation research varies considerably, the faculty generally expects an acceptable draft of the dissertation to be complete within three years of admission to candidacy.  Doctoral candidates who do not complete the doctoral dissertation within five years after being admitted to candidacy will have their candidacy cancelled.  With the permission of the advisor and the GSC, the student may take a Supplemental Candidacy Examination.  If this examination is passed, the student will be re-admitted to candidacy and must complete the dissertation within two years [GSH 7.5]

Final Oral Examination [GSH 7.9]

When the dissertation is complete, the Dissertation Committee together with the Graduate Faculty Representative will conduct the Final Oral Examination.  The Final Oral Examination tests originality and independence of thought, the ability to synthesize and interpret research results, and the quality for the dissertation research.  The Final Oral Examination will include discussion of the dissertation, but may range broadly to determine the student’s ability to draw connections, understand perspectives, etc.  All members of the Final Oral Examination Committee must be present at all times during the Final Oral Examination, which lasts approximately two hours [see GSH 7.9.9 for special arrangements for teleconferencing].  The Final Oral Examination (first hour) may be open to individuals other than the doctoral candidate and Committee members upon the approval of the candidate and the majority of the Committee; however, invited guests will not participate in the examination nor be present during any evaluative discussion of the candidate by the Committee (second hour).  The student will have successfully completed the Examination only if the evaluation is unanimously affirmative.

Final Copy of the Dissertation [GSH 7.11]

The advisor will indicate final approval of the dissertation, which cannot occur until the Final Oral Examination has been completed satisfactorily.  Each dissertation committee member indicates approval by posting their decision on the Report on Final Document form that must be submitted to the Graduate School by the published deadline for the semester or summer session of graduation. All doctoral dissertations must be submitted electronically through OhioLink (the Ohio Library and Information Network) by the published deadline for the semester or summer session of graduation. All Ohio State dissertations are also archived with ProQuest/UMI.