The dissertation presumes control of skills developed throughout the program and shows the student’s ability to bring these skills to a written performance that sustains and develops them fully. The dissertation may be initiated only after comprehensive examinations have been successfully completed.
Upon successful completion of the comprehensive exams, the student will choose a director for the dissertation. The director must be a member of the graduate faculty with expertise appropriate to the area in which the student wishes to work. Under the guidance of the dissertation director, the student will prepare a proposal for research. The student will also, in consultation with the director, select a committee of two additional faculty members who will aid the student in the development of the dissertation.
Guidelines for the dissertation proposal and the dissertation, the Thesis/Dissertation Manual, are available from the School of Graduate Studies and Research. The student should also secure a Research Topic Approval Form from the Graduate English Office. The research proposal will be submitted for approval to the dissertation committee, chaired by the dissertation director, and to the director of Graduate Studies in Literature and Criticism. The approval form, a one-page summary, and a timeline for completion will then be submitted to the dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences and to the dean of the graduate school. The dissertation proposal should be approximately fifteen pages, double-spaced, and include a one-page summary of the project, a statement of purpose and thesis, a listing of primary sources to be examined, a tentative chapter outline including planned completion date for each chapter, and an overview of existing secondary sources and a basic annotated listing of them. The dissertation author must consult with the director of Graduate Studies in Literature about the graduate school’s deadlines and procedures for submitting the Research Topic Approval Form. The dissertation author must register for 12 hours of EN 950 Research (dissertation) credit while working on the dissertation.
Upon satisfactory completion of the dissertation, the student will defend the dissertation before a committee composed of the dissertation director and committee, and, at their option, the director of Graduate Studies in Literature, the dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, and the dean of the graduate school. This meeting is open to the public.
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