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Section 7.8 of the Graduate School Handbook

The dissertation is a scholarly contribution to knowledge in the doctoral candidate’s area of specialization. By researching and writing a dissertation, the doctoral candidate is expected to demonstrate a high level of knowledge and the capability to function as an independent scholar. 

Dissertation Committee. The dissertation committee is composed of the advisor who must be a Category P graduate faculty member in the doctoral candidate’s graduate program and at least two other authorized graduate faculty members. Additional graduate faculty members also may serve on the dissertation committee. The advisor serves as chair of the dissertation committee. Selection of the committee members is the responsibility of the advisor and is subject to the rules of the Graduate Studies Committee. Non-graduate faculty members may be appointed to the dissertation committee as additional external members (Section 12) by approval of the Graduate Studies Committee in the doctoral candidate’s home program and by petition to the Graduate School. 

The dissertation committee is established at a time thought appropriate by the doctoral candidate and the advisor. Doctoral candidates are responsible for making certain that committee members are on duty in the autumn or spring semester or summer term of the defense. 

External Members. With the approval of the Graduate School, faculty from other universities or persons with special academic or technical expertise may be appointed to the dissertation committee. Adjunct appointments are not needed for those members.

Format Review. The doctoral candidate must submit a complete and defensible dissertation or DMA document draft to the Graduate School for format review at the time the Application for Final Examination form is submitted. The dissertation must conform to Graduate School format requirements as described in the document preparation guidelines available on the Graduate School website. Students are responsible for ensuring that their final document conforms to all applicable University digital accessibility policies before submitting to OhioLINK. Format reviews for PhD dissertations can be done remotely or in person. All reviews will require the student to upload a complete and defensible draft copy of the document as a PDF to In person reviews are conducted at the Graduate School office on a walk-in basis during normal university business hours.

All dissertations submitted for format review and defense must be of a caliber similar to that expected of an article submitted to a journal for review. Documents that are missing tables, graphs, citations, chapters or sections, etc., are considered incomplete and cannot be reviewed or defended. The student is responsible for ensuring that the information contained within the dissertation is original, complete and does not include material that could be deemed as academic misconduct.