Transitioning from Advisor to Dissertation Chair

Upon admission to candidacy, the faculty guidance of the candidate will transition from the Program Director/Advisor to working directly with a Dissertation Chair (and subsequently, a committee). The Dissertation Committee Chair must be a Learning and Leadership faculty member and fully approved member of the UTC Graduate Faculty.

Preparing for a Successful Dissertation Experience

For doctoral candidates, the Dissertation is the most intellectually and emotionally challenging part of doctoral study. Candidates are no longer basing their study on other scholars; rather, they are asked to make an original contribution to a body of knowledge. The Dissertation research and defense are the culminating, integrative, scholarly experience of doctoral study. Dissertation research serves several purposes:

  • making an original contribution to knowledge in the candidate’s field of specialization

  • demonstrating a solid command of research skills

  • exhibiting an advanced ability to communicate findings so that other researchers in the field can understand and use them

Enrollment in LEAD 7999 Dissertation

Registration instructions for LEAD 7999 Dissertation are provided by the Program Office each semester. The default number of credit hours is 2. It is generally recommended that EdD candidates enroll in 2 Dissertation credit hours each semester and PhD candidates enroll in 3 Dissertation credit hours, especially during the initial semesters. Please remember that the number of Dissertation credit hours is directly related to Dissertation progress (Satisfactory Progress/No Progress). Candidates are encouraged to consult with the Dissertation Chair (or Co-Chairs) prior to enrolling in more than 3 Dissertation credit hours. A minimum of 2 Dissertation credits (maximum of 6 credits) is required every semester (Fall, Spring, and Summer) through successful final defense and acceptance of the Dissertation by the Graduate School (link: Maintaining Continuous Enrollment). A minimum of 12 total Dissertation credit hours is required for the EdD; a minimum of 15 total Dissertation credit hours is required for the PhD. Failure to maintain continuous enrollment will result in program dismissal. Any questions regarding your specific dissertation timeline or the appropriate number of credit hours should be directed to the Dissertation Chair (or Co-Chairs).

Memorandum of Understanding: Dissertation

During the first semester of LEAD 7999 Dissertation enrollment, each candidate will receive and file a Dissertation Memorandum of Understanding: Dissertation (link: Memorandum of Understanding: Dissertation). This document outlines some of the specific responsibilities, policies, and procedures of the Dissertation process in the Learning and Leadership program. Every candidate must certify that s/he understands the responsibility for knowing and adhering to policies and procedures of the Dissertation process. Any questions may be directed to the Program Director.