Why is my dissertation important to my graduate education?
Your dissertation is the written report of the accumulated work toward your professional degree. It will include materials which were not published elsewhere as part of a journal publication and will be available via the UNMC library and as part of a microfilm library of dissertations. It is the final step to completion of your degree, culminated by the public defense.

What is the format for the dissertation?
The dissertation requirements are available at the UNMC Graduate Studies website. More general instructions can be found under Ph.D. Student Information.

Can I use already published work in my dissertation?
Yes. As we require the dissertation work to be submitted for publication at least in part, we hope that students have publications by the time of dissertation defense. If some or all of the student's work has been published, the findings may be rewritten in the form of chapters. These rewritten/reformatted chapters of previously published materials must meet three conditions:

  1. The student must have been FIRST author of the publication(s);
  2. The majority of the work described in the chapter(s) must have been done by the student;
  3. Work performed by others in the publications is cited in the Acknowledgement section of the dissertation. However, reprints of published material will NOT be permitted in the dissertation.

Who will be part of the examining committee?
The Supervisory Committee arranges for the written and oral examination. In addition to your supervisory committee, you will have to ask another faculty member to be part of your examination committee.

What will be expected of me at oral defense?
The defense is a public, formal presentation of your research, and is required to obtain the Ph.D. degree. This defense serves two purposes. It demonstrates to experts in the field, the Supervisory Committee as well as others, that the student comprehends the material presented in the dissertation and related research areas in such detail that the student can defend the work (i.e. are the data sound, are controls adequate, and do the results support the conclusions?). The second purpose of the defense is to provide opportunity for a public, formal presentation of the work. This presentation should be open to the University at large and to the public. Typically there is a 50 minute public presentation by the student. The Defense of Dissertation is open to the public. After the initial question-and-answer period, with the audience participating, the committee will ask that questions from the audience be ended, and the remainder of the defense will be administered by the Committee. The members of the general audience may be permitted to leave at this point, but may also stay for the duration of the defense. When the Committee is satisfied that the defense has reached its conclusion, members will deliberate in closed session to vote on the outcome.

What are the criteria for making me rewrite my thesis and re-defend?
The committee may give suggestions concerning the thesis and suggest changes, additions, deletions, etc. If more than one member recommends failure in a comprehensive examination or defense of thesis (final oral examination), the student shall be considered to have failed the examination. In the event of failure, the examining committee will, within seven days, recommend to the Dean for Graduate Studies whether the student should be given the option of retaking the examination. If so, the committee will identify general areas of weakness, which require special attention and any remedial actions, which the student needs to complete prior to re-examination.

What forms will be needed for the exam and who should bring them?
You will need to present to the Graduate Studies Office of evidence of submission of dissertation material to a peer review journal. The dissertation and abstract must be given to the Supervisory Committee at least four weeks prior to the final oral examination. The application for the final oral examination must be sent to the Graduate Studies Office at least two weeks prior to the date of that examination. Please let Tuire Cechin know that you are scheduling it at this time so she can send announcements to the department of your oral presentation. You will need to bring “Application for Completion of Final Oral Examination for the Ph.D. Degree” form to the exam. These forms may be obtained from Graduate Studies. This application is to be signed by the student’s examining committee, advisor and the Chair of the Graduate Committee. After obtaining all signatures, the application is forwarded to Graduate Studies. A report of the outcome of the final oral examination must be filed in the Graduate Studies Office within seven days following the examination.