Dissertation Research

Ph.D. studies culminate in a doctoral dissertation. The dissertation reflects original research that is conducted by the candidate and uniquely adds to the body of knowledge. Following completion of course work and passing the comprehensive exam, students begin work on a dissertation proposal. All dissertation research must be directed by a major advisor who is a member of the core faculty in the Giftedness, Creativity, and Talent Development program. Preparation and acceptance of the dissertation proposal should follow current Department and University guidelines. Students work with their major advisor and committee members to craft their dissertation proposal. The proposal is a written document outlining the intended scope of the dissertation research. Prior to defending the proposal, the student must initially obtain preliminary approval from the major advisor and then from the student’s associate advisors. The student will then orally present and defend the proposal to his/her advisory committee, plus two additional faculty who serve as outside readers. Other faculty and students are invited to attend the oral defense. Family members do not attend the oral defense. Upon successful completion of the written dissertation proposal and oral defense of the dissertation proposal, the student is admitted to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree.

The final doctoral dissertation describes the students’ original research and its unique contribution to the body of knowledge. Upon approve of the written dissertation by the major advisor and advisory committee, the final oral examination or dissertation defense is conducted. The content of the final examination is primarily related to the student’s dissertation. At least five faculty members, including all of the student’s advisory committee, must participate in the final examination. However, the decision regarding the student’s performance rests solely with the advisory committee.

Note: The Department of Educational Psychology has specific guidelines regarding dissertation procedures.