Each Ph.D. and Ed.D. candidate must write a dissertation based upon an investigation that makes an original contribution to the literature and research of the student’s discipline. The Dean of the Graduate School appoints the dissertation director upon recommendation of the component leader and/or dean of the college of the doctoral major. In final form, the dissertation must be approved by the student’s committee, specified administrators of the appropriate college or school, and the Dean of the Graduate School.

Doctoral students must have candidacy approval prior to being enrolled in dissertation. Prospectus approval is required by the Research Committee; the component leader; the dean of the college (if required); and the Dean of the Graduate School, prior to the student beginning research for a dissertation (even if IRB approval is not required).

Students enrolled in dissertation over the summer need to be enrolled in the 10-week long summer term.

Prospectus Requirement

Prospectus approval is required by the Research Committee and the Dean of the Graduate School prior to the student beginning research for a dissertation, even when Institutional Review Board (IRB) authorization is not required. Failure to get prospectus approval prior to the implementation of the study will result in the rejection of the dissertation. A dissertation requires Responsible Conduct in Research (RCR) certification and IRB or IACUC approval if human subjects or animals are involved. Responsible Conduct in Research (RCR) certification and IRB or IACUC approval must be filed in the Graduate School. If IRB approval is required, approval from the IRB must be obtained prior to Graduate School approval.

The prospectus must be filed no later than the semester prior to the graduating semester. An approval notification will be sent to the student and copied to the research committee chair and the component leader. Then, and only then, may the study be implemented. Failure to submit a prospectus and receive approval will result in the rejection of the dissertation.

To secure semester credit hours for work done on the dissertation, the student must register for this work. When “Dissertation’’ appears on the schedule, it is counted as three or six semester credit hours in determining both load, tuition, and fees. A dissertation requires a minimum of six credit hours to a maximum of eighteen credit hours, to be established by program requirements and shown on the student's degree plan. Any additional enrollments will be for (PR) in progress, (LP) lack of adequate progress, or (NP) no progress and will not receive credit (see Grades and Grade points). The grade of PR will be assigned to indicate a dissertation is in progress. A student writing a dissertation for six semester credit hours will be given a PR (in progress) for the first enrollment (usually 6983) until the prospectus is complete and has been approved by the Graduate School, at which time a CR (credit) will be given. The student will then enroll in 6993 and receive PR (In Progress) for all subsequent enrollments until the last, for which CR will be given. A student writing a dissertation for twelve semester credit hours will be given CR for the first two enrollments, usually the completion of the prospectus (6983) and for the last two enrollments (usually 6993), and PR for enrollments in between. Students not making adequate progress or no progress will be given LP (lacks adequate progress) or NP (no progress) assignments. Each department has policies for dealing with LP or NP grades, possibly resulting in the removal from the program. (See Financial Aid implications for repeating courses under Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Policy.)

Enrolled graduate students may use the computer and research consulting services of the Center for Research Design and Analysis (CRDA) in the preparation of their dissertations. The center also provides assistance with qualitative and quantitative research designs. Students may also access the services of the Pioneer Center for Student Excellence and the Write Site.

Only an officially registered student may hold conferences with faculty concerning the preparation of a dissertation. This rule applies both to the student in actual residence and to the student not in residence who is receiving aid or guidance through conferences or correspondence. This rule does not apply to preliminary conferences held before the dissertation subject has been selected. Registration for a dissertation in one term is good for that term only and does not extend to the next term.

Dissertation Submission

Submission of the student's dissertation must be completed no later than the filing date listed in the Graduate School's Graduation Deadlines. Students are responsible, when they apply to graduate, to establish a dissertation defense with their chair and committee members.  It is recommended to do this early in the term, as the end of the term gets very busy, and defenses must be scheduled by the deadline for each term. (See Graduate School deadlines on the Graduate School website.) Once the dissertation has been defended and reviewed by the component leader and all recommended corrections have been completed, the student will upload the committee-approved copy of their dissertation along with all required paperwork to the Thesis and Dissertation Submission System. All documents will be submitted online. The Graduate School does not accept paper documents. A dissertation is required to be read by the Graduate Reader/Editor for quality control and professionalism. A dissertation will not be approved by the Graduate School until the Reader/Editor and Formatter's comments are addressed and resolved by the student and the final approved document has been uploaded.

Copyright ownership of a dissertation is retained by the student, but the student must grant TWU royalty-free permission to reproduce and publicly distribute copies of the thesis or dissertation. In circumstances where the research for the thesis or dissertation has been done in conjunction with other policies discussed in the Texas Woman’s University Policy on Intellectual Property, those policies will apply with regard to the students.

All dissertations are uploaded to the Texas Digital Library (TDL), and dissertation abstracts are included in Dissertation Abstracts International. The student pays for digitizing at the time of filing the dissertation and abstract. Details concerning submission, copyrighting, and fees are available on the Graduate School website.

Students are urged to consult the Graduate School publication Thesis, Dissertation, & Professional Paper Technical Manual for additional information. (See also Policies and Guidelines for Graduate Students: General Requirements and Regulations for Doctoral Degrees, Committees on Dissertations, Theses, and Professional Papers.)

Dissertations Written in Languages Other than English

Doctoral dissertations or theses written in languages other than English may be accepted only by those graduate programs that have made a formal request to and received approval from, the Dean of the Graduate School to allow dissertations or theses to be written in a language other than English.  This request should be submitted to the Dean of the Graduate School by the student's committee chair with endorsement by all committee members, the academic component administrator, and dean of the college, prior to Admission to Candidacy for the degree sought.  Such requests may be granted only if the language in question is recognized by the program's faculty as an accepted language of critical or theoretical discourse within the program and for which there is a justified academic rationale and benefit.  Moreover, there must be sufficient faculty to support the reading of theses or dissertations in said language.  The committee chair and a least two additional TWU faculty members for dissertations and one additional TWU faculty member for theses must be biliterate and bilingual in the target non-English language at an advanced level (e.g. B2 level on the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR)).

For all such dissertations or theses, an abstract in English should be included in the manuscript submitted for deposit with the Graduate School (in addition to the abstract in the corresponding language).  This abstract should be of sufficient length to provide an account of the principal argument, as well as of the work's constitutive parts. The Department/Graduate Program will consult with the Graduate School to identify an outside Reader to proof the final product.