Dissertation

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 and instructions are available at the UNMC Graduate Studies website. More general instructions for graduating students can be found on Graduation page on the same web site.

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.

How and when do I schedule the final oral exam?
You will need to apply for graduation early in the semester via MyRecords. Deadlines for applying are published for each semester in academic calendar. Apply several days before the due date to resolve any issues as the deadline is not flexible.   

The dissertation and abstract must be given to the Supervisory Committee at least four weeks prior to the final oral examination. You will need to schedule the date and time with your examining committee members as well as reserve a lecture room. The official request for the final oral examination must be submitted to Graduate Studies Office via Seguidor at least two weeks prior to the date of final oral 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 “Report on Doctoral Degree” form to the exam. This form is to be signed by the student’s supervisory committee, advisor and the Chair of the Graduate Committee after a successful defense to indicate their approval of your dissertation and subsequent graduation. Results of the exam must also be reported via the Exam Grade Page in Seguidor within seven days following the examination. After suggested revision have been made, you will submit your dissertation electronically. In addition to required survey submissions, you will need to present to the Graduate Studies Office of evidence of submission of dissertation material to a peer review journal. You should follow the PhD Timeline on Graduate Studies web site and read the complete instructions for dissertation and graduation.

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 PhD 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.