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Dissertation Process


The dissertation must:

  • Be written on a subject approved by the candidate's doctoral program committee
  • Embody the results of original and significant investigation
  • Be the candidate's own work

Step 1: Forming a dissertation committee

The doctoral student should consult with his or her adviser about the program’s specific requirements for forming a dissertation committee. Often, the student’s dissertation committee will be the same as his or her program committee. More »

Step 2: Enrolling

The doctoral candidate must remain continuously enrolled to defend the dissertation. The dissertation can only be defended when MU is officially in session.

Continuous enrollment

Candidacy is maintained by enrolling in 9090 Research (or 9990 Research for some Engineering students) for two semester hours each fall and spring semester, and for one semester hour each summer session up to and including the term in which the dissertation is defended. Continuous enrollment provides access to an adviser's support, doctoral program committee guidance and university research facilities for completion of the dissertation. Failure to enroll continuously in 9090 Research until the doctoral degree is awarded terminates candidacy.

To maintain continuous enrollment, the student must self register for the required coursework each semester using myZou. Students without Internet access or those with other enrollment difficulties should contact the Office of Graduate Studies' doctoral academic advisor for registration assistance.

Step 3: Preparing the dissertation

Review the dissertation and thesis guidelines. The doctoral student should ask his or her adviser about specific formatting requirements or citation style.

All dissertation defenses must be open to the general faculty. Academic programs are encouraged to announce dissertation defense dates to academic program colleagues.

Step 4: Reporting requirements

A Report of the Dissertation Defense form (D4), signed by all members of the doctoral committee, must be sent to the Office of Graduate Studies before the deadline preceding the anticipated date of graduation.

For the dissertation to be successfully defended, the student's doctoral committee must vote to pass the student on the defense with no more than one dissenting or abstaining vote.

Step 5: Submission

The dissertation is submitted to the Office of Graduate Studies on a high-quality optical disk, either a CD or DVD. The dissertation must be a portable document format (PDF) file, with the appropriate margins and formatting. The disk must be readable on a standard PC running the most current version of Microsoft Windows supported by the Office of Graduate Studies. Additional electronic materials may also be included, providing they are of the appropriate file type and version. If all files will not fit on one disk, multiple disks may be used. However, no single file may be split between disks.

Paper documents that accompany the electronic submission

Several paper documents must be included with the dissertation disk, including a signed Approval of the Committee form, paper copies of the short academic abstract and title page, and the copyright agreement forms. See the guidelines for more information.