Becoming a Dissertator


A dissertation is an independent investigation that results in a book-length document involving original research and creative scholarship.

Being a dissertator, being admitted to candidacy, and being ABD (all but dissertation) are the same thing.  These terms mean that a student has completed all required major and minor coursework and passed both preliminary (or qualifying) examinations.  The only requirement left before earning the doctoral degree is writing and defending the dissertation.

In the term prior to the term in which the student would like dissertator status to begin, he/she needs to request that status.  Deadlines that students must meet are available here.

Procedures for becoming a dissertator:

  •  The student meets with the graduate program advisor to review Ph.D. requirements and ensure that they have been met. The student’s transcript must be clear of incompletes (I), progress grades (P), and notations of no report (NR). (Note: students have eight semesters plus a summer to complete the requirements for attaining dissertator status.)
  •  The student fills out a “Ph.D. Minor Agreement Form”, obtains the necessary signatures, and gives the form to the graduate program advisor.
  • The student fills out a “Petition to Become a Dissertator Form”, obtains the faculty advisor’s signature, and gives the form to the graduate program advisor.
  • The graduate program advisor submits an online dissertator warrant request to the Graduate School’s doctoral degree coordinator.
  • The doctoral degree coordinator approves the request and sends the warrant to the graduate program advisor via e-mail.
  • The doctoral degree coordinator sends an e-mail containing a link to the Doctoral Student Experience Survey (DSES) to the student.
  • The student completes and submits the survey; doing so generates an e-mail to the Graduate School.
  • The graduate program advisor fills out the warrant, obtains signatures of the faculty advisor, the minor advisor, and the department chair, makes a copy of the signed warrant for the student’s file, and returns the original to the doctoral degree coordinator via campus mail.
  • The Graduate School’s doctoral degree coordinator confers dissertator status effective with the beginning of the subsequent semester and sends an e-mail to the student verifying this.