The dissertation must meet all of the requirements of the Graduate School. The research must be a significant, unique contribution to the field of engineering, and should provide an important creative experience for the student.

The Dissertation Defense is the final examination for the Ph.D. degree. It is a public, oral examination that is administered by the candidate's Dissertation Committee.

The dissertation advisor and the focus area's home department are responsible for preparing and distributing the Dissertation Defense announcement. Announcements, including the abstract, must be posted in engineering departments and e-mailed to College faculty and students at least one week prior to the defense. Announcements may be produced in the form of a flyer. The defense should also be announced on Russ Center TV.


The purpose of the Dissertation Defense is to examine the candidate's depth of engineering knowledge, mastery of research techniques, and the application of both in conducting the research.


After successfully finishing the Research Proposal, the candidate must devote at least six months to research before being eligible for the final examination; the Dissertation Defense cannot take place until six months after the Research Proposal.

Required Actions

The candidate is required to do the following:

  1. The candidate must complete and submit a Request for Dissertation Defense Form to the Program Coordinator no later than 30 days before the scheduled defense. The dissertation advisor and Program Director must sign this form.
  2. At least two weeks prior to the scheduled defense date, the candidate must submit the dissertation to all members of the Dissertation Committee.

Examination Format

On the day of the defense, the examination begins with a public presentation by the candidate, followed by a question period by the Dissertation Committee. At the conclusion of the examination, the dissertation advisor announces one of four decisions:

  1. The candidate passed the final examination and the dissertation is accepted as submitted. All members of the committee sign the Dissertation Certificate of Approval.
  2. The candidate passed the final examination but the dissertation will not be accepted and signed by the committee unless various specified corrections and revisions have been made.
  3. The examination is temporarily adjourned. The candidate must revise the dissertation, complete any additional independent study or research required by the Dissertation Committee, and be examined again. The second examination must take place within six months of the first.
  4. The candidate failed and will not be readmitted to another examination.

At the conclusion of the defense, members of the Dissertation Committee must sign a Record of Dissertation Defense Form.

Dissertation Submission and Binding

Students are responsible for the formatting and submission of their final dissertations to the Graduate School. Refer to the Graduate School's Graduate Policies and Procedures Manual for complete information.

The focus area's home department is responsible for ordering the advisor's copy of the dissertation as well as a copy for the Ph.D. in Engineering Program.

Dissertation Defense Assessment and Exit Interviews

The University requires a yearly assessment of the Ph.D. in Engineering Program, focusing primarily on coursework, dissertation research, and student learning. After a Dissertation Defense, the committee members are requested to complete Doctoral Dissertation Assessment Form to assess the quality of the research that was performed by the student. In addition, prior to when the student is ready to submit his or her dissertation to the Graduate School, the Program Director will conduct an exit interview with the student to gain information about the student's learning outcomes and complete an Exit Interview Form.