Dissertation

Dissertation Committee

A dissertation chair/co-chairs will be selected by the student no earlier than the semester in which the Comprehensive Examinations are scheduled to be taken. The dissertation chair/co-chairs and the student will select committee members collaboratively. Students may not begin their research until the committee is approved via completion of the committee will be composed of at least four, but no more than five, members. Upon selection, the Dissertation Committee form.

All faculty serving on dissertation committees must be approved members of the Valdosta State University Graduate Faculty and the Dewar COE Doctoral Faculty. The approval process for graduate faculty status is managed by the Graduate School. Faculty submit specified materials and undergo a review by a panel of designated graduate faculty prior to applying for doctoral faculty status. The approval process for doctoral faculty status is managed by the Dewar COE Doctoral Program Coordinator. Doctoral Faculty applications and criteria are posted on the Dewar COE Doctoral Program Faculty Resources web page.

The committee will be composed of at least four, but no more than five, members. Upon selection, the Dissertation Committee form must be submitted to and accepted by the doctoral coordinator who forwards it to the graduate dean for final approval.

Composition of the Dissertation Committee:

  • The chair/co-chairs of the committee must hold Dissertation Committee Chair/Co-Chair status.
  • One member of the committee must hold Doctoral Research Faculty Member status.
  • A minimum of two additional committee members will be selected based on the candidate’s area of study. The additional committee members must meet Graduate Faculty and Doctoral Faculty requirements for service.
  • One of the four committee members may be selected from another academic institution or professional association. Any non VSU faculty committee member would be required to obtain temporary Graduate Faculty and temporary Doctoral Faculty status.

Requirements for Chairs of Dissertation Committees

  • Recommendation by Department Head (signature on application form)
  • Associate or full professor rank
  • Full member of the Graduate Faculty
  • Prior experience serving as a dissertation/thesis committee member or prior experience serving as a dissertation/thesis chair at another institution
  • Evidence of primary responsibility or authorship of peer reviewed research

Primary Functions of the Chair/Co-Chair

  • Assist the student with the administrative aspects of the dissertation;
  • Ensure compliance with American Psychological Association Publication Manual (most current edition), and all other Graduate School format requirements;
  • Review and complete graduation applications;
  • Assist with proof reading process;
  • Assist with proposal development and preparation
  • Determine readiness of dissertation for defense; and
  • Announce and preside at final defense.

Primary Functions of the Dissertation Committee

  • Work closely with the student so that the student receives appropriate advisement, guidance, and support;
  • Guide the student’s work to ensure that the dissertation is consistent with both the goals of the program and the professional needs of the student;
  • Evaluate the student’s oral presentation of a dissertation proposal; and
  • Evaluate the student’s final, public dissertation defense; and approve the final submitted dissertation.

Dissertation Credit Guidelines for Curriculum and Instruction and Leadership Programs

Doctoral candidates will be required to register for a minimum of 2 semester hours of dissertation credit for each fall and spring semester in which written materials are to be submitted for feedback from their chair and/or committees. Candidates who are not actively engaged with their chair and/or committee would continue to register for a minimum of 1 hour credit for fall and spring.  

Registration for summer is dependent upon candidates' active engagement with their chairs and/or committees. Candidates will be required to register for a minimum of 2 semester hours of dissertation credit during the summer if written materials are to be submitted for feedback from their chairs and/or committees.

Extension Guidelines

Doctoral students may take up to five years from the term in which comprehensive exams are taken and passed to complete their dissertation work. A one year emergency stop-out may be requested by the student. During the stop-out the student must register for a minimum of 1 hour of dissertation credit per term. An additional extension of two years beyond the 5+1 year limit would require successful completion of a second comprehensive exam that is scheduled, taken, and graded within one term of the expiration of the 5+1 year limit. The two years will begin in the term after the second comprehensive exam is passed. Failure to pass the second comprehensive exam will terminate the dissertation process.