Developing a Realistic Timeline

Upon agreement with a faculty member to direct Dissertation research, development of a realistic timeline for completing the tasks which culminate in a successful Dissertation should be established between the candidate and the faculty member Chair. Components of this process include:

  • Preparation of the Prospectus

  • Prospectus defense

  • Preparation of the Proposal

  • Proposal defense

  • IRB application

  • Data collection (upon IRB approval)

  • Data analysis

  • Submission of the complete manuscript to the Chair

  • Submission, upon the Chair’s Pre-Defense approval, of the complete manuscript to the committee

  • Preparation for the Pre-Defense

  • Preparation for the final defense

  • Completing final revisions and preparing the manuscript for formatting review

  • Submission of the manuscript to the Graduate School via the university's digital repository

  • Preparation for graduation

Anticipated dates may need to be revised along the way. The candidate must maintain a realistic schedule that allows sufficient time for each step in the process, including the project Chair’s reading of, and feedback on, drafts of the Prospectus, Proposal, and final manuscript. Sufficient time must be allotted for the committee members’ reading of those documents as well. Candidates and Chairs should recognize that committee members need at least 14 days to read the Prospectus, Proposal and subsequent manuscript drafts. These factors should be considered when scheduling committee meetings and the final defense.

Graduation Deadlines  

It is also the responsibility of the Chair and candidate to consider deadlines for particular graduation dates. University graduation deadlines are published on the Graduate School website (links: Thesis and Dissertation and Graduate Calendar). Since deadlines may change from one year to the next, candidates are advised to refer to the current deadlines when approaching the final stages of the Dissertation process. Candidates and Chairs should also consider program minimum review requirements when considering a potential graduation semester.

Applying for Graduation

For doctoral candidates, the graduation application process should not be completed until the Pre-Defense stage of the dissertation process is approved. Once the candidate has successfully completed the Pre-Defense stage of the dissertation, the Program Office will notify the candidate to apply for graduation, as well as the appropriate steps to complete. Commencement ceremonies are held each year in May and December with a degree conferral option in August. To confirm graduation application status, login to MyMocsnet, click on the Academics tab, and select “My Graduation Status.” Refer to the Record's Office Graduation website for graduation ceremony participation guidelines (link: Record's Office).

Confirming Graduation Eligibility

The Graduate School will audit the candidate’s file in preparation for graduation. Candidates must earn 66 credits (minimum) toward the doctoral program of study and meet all other academic requirements as listed in the Graduate Catalog in order to be eligible for the graduation ceremony and degree conferral/release of the diploma. For questions regarding graduation eligibility, contact Mr. Mark Fairchild at Mark-Fairchild@utc.edu.

Sample Dissertation Timeline