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Dissertation Research and Writing

All doctoral students are required to complete a dissertation. The dissertation must be an original contribution to scholarship and the result of independent investigation in a significant area. Preparation of the dissertation must follow the Annals of the Association of American Geographers or the latest edition of Kate L. Turabian's A Manual for Writers.

Dissertation Enrollment Requirements

Enrollment -  After being admitted to candidacy, students must be continuously enrolled each long semester for at least one dissertation hour. The student must be enrolled for dissertation hours during the semester in which the degree is to be conferred.

Hours - Students must complete a minimum of 15 semester hours of dissertation research and writing credit.

Fee Reduction

Qualifications - A doctoral degree candidate for graduation may be eligible for a one-time fee reduction under V.T.C.A., Education Code, Section 54.051, if the student is registered for dissertation credit only and provided such credit is the final credit-hour requirement for the degree in progress. Only Texas residents can qualify for this fee reduction.

Procedure - If you meet the above qualifications, these are the steps you must follow during registration:

1. Register by phone. Immediately after completing the telephone process contact the Graduate College to request a "Fee Reduction Verification of Enrollment" form.
2. The Graduate College will verify student eligibility to obtain reduction and then forward the "Fee Reduction Verification of Enrollment" form to the Accounting Office, which will adjust the bill.
3. The adjustment must be made BEFORE paying fees since the University policy does not allow for refunds.

Dissertation Time Limit

Students are expected to complete the dissertation within three years of advancement to candidacy. The Geography Graduate Committee will review the student's progress annually.

Ph.D. Advisory Committee

The Ph.D. Advisory Committee must be formed to oversee the research and writing of the dissertation. The Ph.D. Advisory Committee will include a Ph.D. advisor and a minimum of three additional committee members (two of whom must be from the Department of Geography (one member of the committee must be Ph.D. core faculty) and one from outside the department). The members must be chosen from qualified Ph.D. faculty. The Ph.D. advisor and the Advisory Committee will be selected in consultation with the student and through mutual agreement with committee members. The Ph.D. advisor will chair the dissertation committee and must be from the major department. The advisor and advisory committee must be approved by the Graduate Program Coordinator, the Department Chair, as listed on the "Ph.D. Research Committee Membership Form" and submitted to the Dean of the Graduate College for final approval.

Committee Changes

Any changes to the Advisory Committee must be submitted for approval to the Advisory Committee Chair, the Graduate Coordinator, the Department Chair, and the Dean of the Graduate College. Changes must be submitted no less than sixty days before the final oral comprehensive examination. The "Ph.D. Research Advisor Committee Member Change Request Form" may be obtained from the Graduate Program Coordinator.

Dissertation Proposal

You must submit a copy of the official "Ph.D. Dissertation Proposal Form" to your advisor. Copies of the proposal form may be obtained from the Graduate Staff Advisor.

Defense of the Dissertation Proposal

You must defend the dissertation proposal in an oral examination with your Ph.D. Advisory Committee. The examination will address the proposed dissertation topic (problem definition and scope), research method, and relevant literature. The Advisory Committee must sign the "Defense of the Dissertation Proposal Form" and then submit it for the signature of the Department Chair. The original must be sent to the Graduate College for final approval. Your dissertation proposal must be approved before you can be advanced to candidacy.

Final Dissertation Defense

You must pass the final dissertation defense that covers the dissertation and the general field of the dissertation. To schedule the final dissertation defense, apply to your Ph.D. Advisor the semester before completing the dissertation. A completed "Final Dissertation Defense Form" must be submitted to the Dean of the Graduate College.

Approval and Submission of the Dissertation and Abstract

The approval of the dissertation and abstract requires positive votes from the Ph.D. Advisor and from a majority of the members of the Ph.D. Advisory Committee. Once the committee has approved the dissertation, one copy of the dissertation and the dissertation abstract must be submitted to the Graduate College for final approval. All dissertation abstracts must be published in Dissertation Abstracts International. Refer to the Graduate College Dissertation Packet for specific guidelines.