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Graduate School Policy
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Your A doctoral dissertation must be developed following these guidelines:

Dissertation Committee

The dissertation committee will be composed of:1)

  1. Dissertation Advisor


  1. Two Committee members (minimum of 2)


  1. Oral Exam Chair, who comes in for the final dissertation oral examination.

At a minimum, the dissertation defense committee consists of four faculty members, including the Oral Exam Chair and the student’s Dissertation Advisor. The Oral Exam Chair must be a tenured or tenure track faculty member at Syracuse University from outside of the student’s program of enrollment.


Three committee members (Dissertation Advisor, two additional committee members) participate in the proposal approval process and the Oral Defense Chair joins the committee before the final dissertation oral defense. In the event that a change in committee composition takes place after the proposal defense, a notice (using a Petition to Faculty form) should be sent by the faculty advisor to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.

Dissertation Proposal

Once your committee is in place, candidates must develop a dissertation proposal that is discussed with and approved by the three members of your committee (Dissertation Advisor, two additional committee members) through a dissertation proposal defense meeting. The student should submit a signed cover sheet of the dissertation proposal to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.

What constitutes acceptable doctoral research is a question that can be addressed only with respect to specific fields of inquiry and with the guidance of scholars in those fields. Your Dissertation Committee has the ultimate responsibility for approving the design and execution of the study, as well as the dissertation itself.

Dissertation Styles

The conventional format of dissertations submitted to the faculty in education at SU follows the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. Manuscript form detailed in the Chicago Manual of Style also is approved for use by School of Education students.


You may refer to the Graduate School website Preparing Your Thesis/Dissertation for more guidance on dissertation styles.

Request for Examination

Once the committee agrees that the dissertation is ready for final examination, the candidate will work with the dissertation advisor to communicate the details of the upcoming oral examination, including date, time, location, and format to the Graduate School via submission of the request for examination form: .