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Dissertation requirements

The dissertation must 

  • be written on a subject approved by the candidate’s doctoral program committee,
  • embody the results of original and significant investigation and
  • be the candidate’s own work.

Every candidate should

Dissertation defense

  • Dissertation defenses are typically open to any faculty or students.
  • Academic programs are encouraged to announce dissertation defense dates to academic program colleagues.
  • The candidate must be enrolled to defend the dissertation, which can only be defended when MU is officially in session.
  • A report of the examination, carrying the signatures of all members of the committee, is sent to the Graduate School before the deadline preceding the anticipated date of graduation.
  • For the dissertation to be successfully defended, the student’s doctoral committee must vote to pass the student on the defense with no more than one dissenting or abstaining vote.

Continuous Enrollment

  • Candidacy for a doctoral degree is established by passing the comprehensive examination.
  • Continuous enrollment begins the term after the term in which the student successfully completes the comprehensive exam and ends after successfully defending the dissertation.
  • To maintain candidacy, students must enroll in 9090 Research (or 9990 Research for some Engineering students) for 2 credit hours each fall and winter semester and for 1 credit hour each summer semester up to and including the term in which the dissertation is defended.
  • Continuous enrollment provides access to:
    • an advisor’s support
    • doctoral program committee guidance
    • University research facilities for completion of the dissertation
  • Failure to continuously enroll in 9990 Research until the doctoral degree is awarded terminates candidacy.
  • Candidacy may be reestablished by paying the registration and late fees owed and completing the requirements specified by the student’s doctoral program committee.
  • Registration fees owed may not exceed the amount owed for 7 terms, regardless of the number of terms beyond 7 for which the student failed to continuously enroll.
  • The committee’s requirements may include a second comprehensive examination or evidence of currency in the research field as suggested by publications in refereed journals.
  • Candidacy is reestablished when the student’s advisor and the departmental, area program or divisional director of graduate studies submits a written request to the Graduate School explaining the basis for the decision.
  • Once approved, a Request to Re-enroll form must be completed by the student and sent to the department/program for processing.


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