Becoming a Dissertator
Early in the semester or summer in which a student intends to complete the Ph.D. degree, he/she needs to prepare a final version of the dissertation and plan for the dissertation defense, or final oral exam.
General Graduate School guidelines can be found on the Graduate School’s Web page titled “Guide to Preparing Your Doctoral Dissertation” (https://grad.wisc.edu/current-students/doctoral-guide/).
Information about formatting and depositing the dissertation can be found by scrolling down the “guide” page to “Formatting Requirements.” The dissertation must conform to these standards.
Deadlines that students must meet are at the link labeled “Graduate School Degree and Dissertator Eligibility Deadlines” (https://grad.wiscweb.wisc.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/329/2017/12/Degree-Deadlines-2018-2019.pdf).
Below are the departments’ procedures for arranging the Ph.D. oral exam:
- The student communicates with his/her committee members (the faculty advisor who chairs the committee, the two Sociology and/or Community & Environmental Sociology faculty members, the UW-Madison faculty member from the “outside” department, and the fifth member) and arranges a date and time for the two-hour final oral exam.
- The student gives the graduate program advisor the information required to submit a final warrant request and reserve a room for the exam:
* the student’s campus ID number
* the minor area of study
* the date and time of the final oral exam
* the dissertation title
* the names of the five committee members and their institutional affiliation and rank
(Note: the student must be registered for three credits or have permission to pay the degree completion fee [https://grad.wisc.edu/documents/degree-completion-fee/] in order to obtain approval for the warrant.)
- The graduate program advisor submits an online final warrant request to the Graduate School’s doctoral degree coordinator, asks the Sociology Department’s faculty services specialist to reserve a room for the exam, and notifies the student of the location. (Note: warrant requests must be made three weeks prior to the oral exam.)
- The Graduate School’s doctoral degree coordinator approves the warrant request and sends the warrant to the graduate program advisor via e-mail.
- The student writes an abstract for the dissertation, submits it to his/her faculty advisor for approval, and then e-mails it to the graduate program advisor. (Note: the graduate program advisor must receive the abstract at least two business days before the oral exam.)
- The graduate program advisor prepares an announcement of the student’s final oral exam, posts it on the department bulletin board, and circulates it via e-mail to Sociology and Community & Environmental Sociology faculty and students.
- The graduate program advisor gives the final warrant to the student’s faculty advisor.
- The student takes the final oral exam. (Note: this exam typically lasts for roughly two hours; questions may cover the general field of the major and minor studies as well as the dissertation.)
- The five committee members decide (a) whether the student passed the exam and (b) if so, whether the dissertation requires revisions. They then sign the final warrant and return it to the graduate program advisor. (Note: At times, the warrant will be returned unsigned, or signed by all members but the faculty advisor, and held in the student’s file until revisions are approved.)
- If necessary, the student makes required revisions to the dissertation and formats the final document, conforming to the guidelines posted on the Graduate School website (https://grad.wisc.edu/current-students/doctoral-guide/).
- The graduate program advisor makes a copy of the signed warrant for the student’s file and gives the original to the student to upload when he/she deposits the dissertation.
- The student pays the $90 dissertation deposit fee, completes the two doctoral exit surveys, and submits the dissertation electronically to the ProQuest/UMI ETD Administrator website.
- Optional: a student who wishes to confirm in person or via Skype that the dissertation submission has been accepted and all degree requirements have been met may meet for a ten-minute final review with the Graduate School’s doctoral degree coordinator.
- The Graduate School staff notifies the Registrar’s staff that the student has fulfilled all requirements for the Ph.D. degree
- The Registrar posts the student’s degree. (Note: This occurs approximately four to six weeks after the end of the semester.)
Becoming a Dissertator
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 at the link labeled “Graduate School Degree and Dissertator Eligibility Deadlines” (https://grad.wiscweb.wisc.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/329/2017/12/Degree-Deadlines-2018-2019.pdf).
Below are the departments’ procedures for becoming a dissertator:
- The student meets with the graduate program advisor to review Ph.D. requirements requirements—outlined here: https://sociology.wiscweb.wisc.edu/current-students/doctoral-degree/#degree-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 “Minor Agreement” form (https://sociology.wiscweb.wisc.edu/documents/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 (https://sociology.wiscweb.wisc.edu/documents/petition-to-beco…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 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.
Once a student has written the dissertation proposal, he/she needs to defend it at a hearing—i.e., a meeting attended by the student, his or her advisor, and two other Sociology and/or Community & Environmental Sociology faculty members who have agreed to serve as a dissertation advisory committee. The purpose of the hearing is to ascertain the quality and feasibility of the proposal.
Below are the departments’ procedures for arranging the hearing:
- The student communicates with his/her committee members (the faculty advisor and two Sociology and/or Community & Environmental Sociology professors) and schedules a date and time for the two-hour hearing.
- The student asks the Sociology Department’s faculty services specialist to reserve a room for the exam and notifies the committee members of the location.
- The student distributes the proposal to the committee members. (Note: it’s wise for students to ask committee members how much lead time they’ll need.)
- The student downloads the dissertation proposal hearing form (http://ssc.wisc.edu/soc/forms/Dissertation%20Proposal%20Hearing.pdf) and takes it with him/her to the hearing.
- At the conclusion of the hearing, the three committee members decide whether to approve the proposal as is, to approve it with agreed-upon revisions, or to withhold approval and schedule another hearing after additional work on the proposal has been completed. They then sign the hearing form.
- If the proposal has been approved or approved with revisions, the student gives the signed form along with a copy of the proposal to the chair’s assistant; the chair’s assistant keeps both documents in the department’s files. The student gives a copy of the signed form to the graduate program advisor, who places it in the student’s file. (Note: Once approved, the proposal serves as a contract between the student and the committee.)
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