Doctor of Philosophy

The Dissertation

A dissertation is required and is graded under M810 and G901. The number of credits granted under M810 often varies since the credits should bring the student’s total hours to 90. Only one credit hour of M810 or G901 is required for acceptance of the dissertation; no more than 15 credits hours of dissertation research may be included in the minimum of 90 credit hours required for the doctoral degree. The grade of “R” is automatically awarded for work on the dissertation until it is defended and accepted.

Besides being a contribution to scholarship, the dissertation represents the culmination of the student’s course work. Translations are normally not acceptable projects for dissertation. In line with current Graduate

School policy, no dissertation may be published prior to its formal acceptance by the committee in charge; however, portions of a dissertation-in-progress may be submitted for publication with the permission of the committee.

A dissertation proposal should be presented to the student’s dissertation director shortly after admission to candidacy. It should be three to five pages in length (excluding bibliography) and include the following elements:

  1. Title of dissertation
  2. Description of topic
  3. The rationale behind the choice of topic, and the anticipated contribution of the proposed research to knowledge
  4. Current state of research on the topic and basic bibliography
  5. Method and plan of work, including the general approach

The above elements should be presented in narrative form. The proposal need not present the actual arrangement of chapters, although in some cases this may be feasible and desirable. Students doing a dual Ph.D. with another department should be aware that that department may have specific requirements for the format and/or defense of the dissertation proposal.

Once the director has signed it, the proposal will be sent to the Department Chair for approval of the topic and the composition of the committee. Upon approving the proposal, the Chair will routinely ask the dissertation director to convene a meeting of the candidate and the dissertation committee for a detailed discussion of the project.

Candidates are advised to consult with their dissertation committee chair concerning all procedures to be followed in preparing the dissertation. Early involvement of all members of the committee in the ongoing work is strongly recommended. All members are required to submit reader’s reports.

It is recommended that students use the most recent edition of the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers unless the dissertation committee suggests the use of another manual more appropriate to the subject matter. The following website, Guide to Preparation of Thesis and Dissertations, will provide additional information.

The dissertation defense is an oral examination held after the dissertation has been completed but before it has been bound. The student must arrange the time and date of this defense with the dissertation director and the members of his or her committee at least five weeks in advance. Any member of the Graduate School faculty at Indiana University may attend the defense, as well as interested graduate students.

An announcement of the defense of no less than 150 words must be submitted to the Graduate School Bloomington. The Dissertation Defense Announcement is submitted through the IU Graduate School Bloomington (GSB) ONE.IU portal. The announcement should be informative and contain a brief statement of the principal results and conclusions. The announcement edoc must be received by the IU Graduate School Bloomington at least 30 days prior to your defense. To accommodate this timeline, please submit the eDoc no later than 45 days before your defense date.

While committee members should not place inordinate constraints on their availability, the student also bears responsibility for considering the time limitation of the faculty. We discourage holding defenses during breaks when faculty and students would be unable to attend. Similarly, students should plan appropriately if they are aware their committee members have summer research obligations or are on appointments that do

not require them to be on campus during the summer. All doctoral defenses should be held on the campus in which the degree is awarded.

All candidates must fulfill the following requirements, regardless of the chosen submission method.

  • You must defend your dissertation publicly.
  • You’ll need to decide if you want to register your copyright. Copyright registration is optional, and the fee is $75 through ProQuest. You should pay the fee directly to ProQuest electronically.
  • You may also make your dissertation available via open access for free through IU Libraries’ IU Scholar Works site.

    For more information contact the Doctoral Recorder, Shelly Oberdier at

    You must also submit the Defense Signatures e-doc, located on the Graduate School Bloomington One. IU task page. For more information regarding submitting your dissertation and formatting requirements, please visit the Graduate School Bloomington website regarding Theses and Dissertations.

You may submit your dissertation online through ProQuest. Make sure you read all submission instructions before attempting to submit through ProQuest. The link to the submission page can be found on the Graduate School Bloomington website.

Once at the site, select “Submit my dissertation/thesis,” and follow the instructions. When creating your account, enter the email address you use most. Once you’ve completed the final step, you will receive an email confirming your submission. You’ll learn by email whether your dissertation requires any formatting changes within about a week. If so, the email you receive will contain instructions for making these.