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Dissertation Requirements for PhD/DBA/AvD Students

Effective Date: October 17, 2019

(Graduate Policy 2.6)

Dissertation Proposal

(Graduate Policy 2.6.1)

Subsequent to successful completion of the comprehensive examination, a dissertation proposal must be submitted to the doctoral committee, which will ascertain that the subject of the dissertation is of doctoral quality, and that completion of the dissertation is feasible. If the proposal is approved by the doctoral committee, a Dissertation Proposal Conference Report, approved by the academic unit head, will be forwarded to the Office of Graduate Programs and then to the registrar to be made a part of the student’s permanent record.

Dissertation Registration

(Graduate Policy 2.6.2)

The doctoral student who has been admitted to candidacy must normally register each academic term thereafter for at least three semester credit hours of dissertation throughout the remainder of his or her program. A written waiver of the requirement for continuous registration is required and is granted only if the student is not making use of university facilities or personnel. Such waivers must be approved in advance by the major advisor and academic unit head. The waiver must then be forwarded to the Office of Graduate Programs.

All doctoral dissertation credits will bear the numerical designation 6999, preceded by the three-letter program designator.

Students may register for fewer than three semester credits of dissertation in the semester of graduation only. (See graduate policy “Thesis/Design Project/Dissertation Registration in the Semester of Graduation” for limitations).

Dissertation Grading

(Graduate Policy 2.6.3)

The student’s dissertation performance is evaluated in each term of registration and grades of S (Satisfactory) U (Unsatisfactory) or I (Incomplete) are assigned. When the dissertation is completed and the signed Signature Page and the archival copy are accepted by the Office of Graduate Programs, grades of S corresponding to the number of required dissertation semester credit hours will be changed to grades of P (Pass). Grades of U cannot be replaced or removed and no credit is earned.

S and U grades do not affect the grade point averages or semester credit hours attempted or passed, and remain on the transcript as grades of S and/or U in the semester(s) of registration. Grades of P do not affect grade point averages. They are, however, included in credit hours passed but not included in quality points and credit hours attempted.

In the case of a failed dissertation defense, no replacement grades are recorded. Previously assigned grades of S and U remain in place, with zero semester hours of credit. A properly signed examination form marked “FAILED” must be forwarded to the Office of  Graduate Programs any and every time a student fails to pass. On the third failure by a student of his or her dissertation defense, the Office of Graduate Programs will notify the registrar of the need to annotate the transcript as follows:


Dissertation Preparation and Defense

(Graduate Policy 2.6.4)

The dissertation must demonstrate critical judgment, intellectual synthesis, creativity and skills in written communication. It is expected that research at the doctoral level will make a material contribution to knowledge in the student's discipline and that it will demonstrate the student’s ability to develop and carry out independent research. There are no upper or lower limits on length, but students are required to follow the formatting instructions specified in the Florida Tech Thesis Manual and Style Guide. Some academic units have additional formatting requirements and students are strongly urged to check with their major advisor or the Office of Graduate Programs before proceeding with the writing of the dissertation. COPIES OF THE DISSERTATION MUST BE SUBMITTED TO THE DOCTORAL COMMITTEE AT LEAST ONE MONTH PRIOR TO THE PROPOSED DATE OF THE DISSERTATION DEFENSE. The candidate should verify, by contacting each member of the doctoral committee, that the dissertation is generally acceptable before scheduling the defense. The Office of Graduate Programs must be notified at least two weeks in advance of the defense by the committee chair. The examination specifics will then be included in the appropriate weekly schedule of oral examinations that is published by the Office of  Graduate Programs and sent to all members of the graduate faculty.

The dissertation defense will be administered by the doctoral committee. The defense may be partitioned into two components: an optional "Open" component that is open to anyone and a mandatory "Closed" component that is open only to members of the graduate faculty. If an academic unit requires a candidate's defense to include an open component, then this must be stated as a degree requirement in the university catalog entry for that Ph.D. program. The entire committee will be present for the full duration of the defense. The candidate will be questioned on the subject of the dissertation and any additional topics related to the candidate’s ability to organize and conduct research. The dissertation must have the unanimous approval of the committee and also be approved by the academic unit head.

An examination report must be submitted to the graduate programs office. “Passed” or “Failed” must be marked on the form. Failed defenses must be submitted to the graduate programs office as well as those that are passed.

Requirements for the degree are not completed until the signed Signature Page and archival copy are accepted by the Office of Graduate Programs. All dissertations will be added to the Scholarship Repository of Florida Institute of Technology.  Dissertations will also be submitted to the  appropriate dissertation subscription database.

Academic Unit Requirements

(Graduate Policy 2.6.5)

The requirements specified above comprise the minimum requirements for the doctoral degree at Florida Tech. Academic units may specify additional specific requirements for the doctoral degrees in that discipline. However, it is essential that such additional requirements be clearly defined in the University Catalog.

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