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by Sonja Foss and William Waters - authors of Destination Dissertation: A Traveler's Guide to a Done Dissertation

In the context of this piece submission refers to the process of having your dissertation reviewed and approved. The submission process entails several other steps necessary to clear you for graduation at your institution. The exact elements of a submission and clearance process may vary from institution to institution. However, there are some pretty standard components of the process across institutions. These may include the following:

  • Verification that you have submitted an oral exam report. This document is an evaluation of your oral defense.
  • Verification that your dissertation has been approved and accepted by your dissertation chair and committee. You may be required to provide a signed approval page.
  • Certification that all degree requirements have been met and student has been approved for degree conferral.
  • Completion of the Survey of Earned Doctorates. A survey of all doctoral students eligible for graduation conducted by the National Science Foundation.
  • Completion of the school's on-line exit survey. Some schools use the survey as a satisfaction index and last effort to collect information about their students' overall learning experience at the institution.
  • A review of the dissertation manuscript. This would usually entail a staff member from the Graduate School, and sometimes from the library, scrutinizing your manuscript to be certain that it complies all of the institution's specified formatting requirements. Guidelines to these formatting requirements should be consulted before you start the first chapter of your manuscript. It should be consulted periodically to be sure that as the writing progresses your manuscript remains consistent with formatting requirements. Check to see if tables, charts, images, footnotes, margins, and pages numbers are all consistent with guidelines. Formatting guidelines can usually be found in the Graduate School and Library online resource pages. Campus writing centers can also guide you to these formatting materials.
  • Release of the manuscript for publication. Over 90% of dissertations produced by graduates of research institutions are published. For many institutions the submission process culminates with the submission of the manuscript and/or abstract and index to the historical and now global database. Scholars from around the world in 3000 research libraries are able to access the work. The manuscript becomes part of the institution's scholarly profile and record.
Sonja Foss and William Waters

About the author

Co-authors of Destination Dissertation: A Traveler's Guide to a Done Dissertation, Dr. Foss is a professor of Communications at University of Colorado, Denver and Dr. Waters is assistant professor of English at University of Houston-Downtown. They are co-directors of Scholars' Retreat, a program to support progress towards completion of your dissertation, thesis, or writing project.

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