The Dissertation: Defense and Approval Process

Students in doctoral programs must demonstrate evidence of a high degree of scholarship, competence in scholarly exposition and ability to select, organize and apply knowledge through a dissertation.  “Guidelines for Preparing the Dissertation” as developed and enhanced by the Graduate Faculty of Jackson State University, provides examples of best practices concerning format standards that must be met before it receives final approval by the Division of Graduate Studies.

It is the student’s responsibility to submit materials to the department and college in time for the chair and dean to review them so they can reach the Division of Graduate Studies by the deadline. (>Click here for dates & deadlines<).

Please make sure your defense is scheduled early enough in the semester to allow you to complete the requirements.

Each student should obtain a copy of the “Guidelines for Preparing the Dissertation

Click here for the “Committee Report of Defense Results”

Defense and Approval

Timeline

The Division of Graduate Studies issues a calendar each year which indicates the LAST DAY for satisfying all graduation requirements.  The Division of Graduate Studies encourages students to submit their manuscripts well before the deadline.

Scheduling

The chairperson of the committee for the candidate for a doctoral degree, in concurrence with the other members of the committee, shall adhere to the following process.  The chairperson will notify the members of the committee, the Department Chair, the College Dean or designee, the Dean of the Division of Graduate Studies and other appropriate persons of the place, date and time of the defense.

Basic Process for the Defense

  • The candidate presents his/her argument, summarizing the main points of the study. The chairperson then allows other members of the committee to direct questions to the candidate concerning the defense.
  • Following the candidate’s presentation and the fielding of questions, the candidate is excused from the room so that the chair and committee may discuss and subsequently vote on the candidate’s success or failure.
  • The candidate is escorted into the room to receive the results of the committee’s vote.
  • If successful, the candidate will secure the signatures of members of the committee on the approval page,  and the “Committee Report of Defense Results”, and any other necessary signatures.

First Submission

  • One unbound copy of the dissertation must be presented to the committee.
  • File the “Committee Report of Defense Result” with the Division of Graduate Studies. The “Committee Report of Defense Results” is completed upon the successful defense of the dissertation before the student’s committee.  This form must be submitted prior to final “Clearance for Graduation”.
  • The FIRST SUBMISSION will be reviewed to determine format and compliance with the appropriate guidelines from the department’s adopted style manual.  The student will be notified if any revisions are necessary, in a timely manner.
  • If revisions of the manuscript are necessary, the student must incorporate the changes and resubmit .

Second Submission

Submission of a dissertation should not be interpreted as approval.  Approval comes only after the document is read and the format reviewed for consistency with the guidelines.
The final copy of the dissertation must be acceptable to all members of the committee as witnessed  by the signatures on the approval page.
Doctoral students will submit five (5) unbound copies of the dissertation, on white, (at least) 20 pound, 25% rag, acid-free bond paper.
Final corrected copies of the dissertation must be accepted by the University no later than one year after the oral defense, or within the eight-year time limit, whichever occurs first. Failure to meet this deadline will result in the degree not being awarded.

Institutional Review Board (IRB) and Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC)

  • If your proposed research involves human subjects, it must be approved by the Jackson State University Institutional Review Board, (IRB).
  • If your research involves animal subjects, it must be approved by the JSU Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC)
  • A full explanation of the procedures and Federal Guidelines are available at the JSU Office of Compliance.

Student’s Responsibility

  • Choosing a chairperson following the policies & guidelines of the major department.
  • Choosing the members of the dissertation committee in conjunction with the chairperson following the policies & guidelines of the major department.
  • Meeting with the chairperson and setting a schedule for completion of the dissertation in a timely manner.
  • Keeping on schedule.
  • Turning in all dissertation material to chairperson typed in correct format.
  • Knowing and meeting all deadlines.
  • Filing all forms in a timely manner.

Advisor and Committee’s Responsibility

It is the chairperson’s and committee members’ responsibility to know policies, rules, and regulations of both the Division of Graduate Studies and the major department relative to the dissertation process.

In addition the chair is also responsible for..

  • Ensuring that the student is aware of the rules, regulations and policies of the Division of Graduate Studies and the department.
  • Assisting the student in the formation of a committee.
  • Meeting with the student on a regular basis.
  • Keeping the scheduled appointments.
  • Ensuring that the student’s work is properly documented and not plagiarized.
  • Scheduling the prospectus hearing, if required, and the final defense of the thesis/project.
  • Notifying the committee members and the Department chair of the place, time & date of the prospectus hearing.
  • Notifying the Graduate Dean, College Dean, Department chair and committee members of the place, time & date of the final defense.

Committee’s Responsibility

  • It is the committee members’ responsibility to …
  • Attend the prospectus hearing and final defense.
  • Read the student’s work throughout the writing process.
  • Provide written feedback for correcting and/or improving the dissertation.

Department Chair/Program Director’s Responsibility

It is the department chair/program director’s responsibility for knowing and enforcing policies, rules, and regulations of both the Division of Graduate Studies and department/program.

The chair/director is also responsible for….

  • Ensuring that the graduate faculty of the department/program know and adhere to the policies, rules and regulations of the Division of Graduate Studies.
  • Keeping the faculty abreast of rule, policy and procedure changes from the Division of Graduate Studies.
  • Serving as a liaison between the student and the advisor, if necessary.
  • Ensuring the dissertation and all committee members are qualified to serve.