Department of History
Old Horticulture
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Room 256
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48824
Main: 517.355.7500
Fax: 517.353.5599
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Graduate Handbook

V – Dissertation/Thesis Defense and Final Oral Examination

Each student working toward a Ph.D. degree must conduct original research to be used in a dissertation which makes a significant contribution to knowledge. The research is to be under the guidance of and acceptable to the major professor and the guidance committee. All doctoral students must register at Michigan State University for and successfully complete a minimum of 24 semester credits of doctoral dissertation research (HST 999). It is the policy of Michigan State University to permit and facilitate dissertation research by students from developing nations in their home countries, whenever feasible.

The dissertation must be organized, typed, duplicated and bound according to regulations prescribed in The Graduate School Guide to the Preparation of Master’s Theses and Doctoral Dissertations, available from the Office of the Graduate School. An abstract of the dissertation not exceeding 350 words must also be prepared. Must be in compliance with the Graduate School, and the student must follow all the steps involved in submission of their dissertation -

Not later than the fourth Friday of the last term of a student’s program, the student must submit to the major professor at least four copies of the dissertation and abstract for committee review before the oral examination. The dissertation must be in completed form, typed with finished diagrams, etc., and acceptable to the major professor. It must not, however, be bound. When the guidance committee has reviewed and approved the dissertation and the student has passed an oral examination in its defense, the student shall incorporate in the dissertation any recommended changes and corrections before submitting it to the Office of The Graduate School. The student must submit to the Office of The Graduate School a final unbound copy of the dissertation and abstract, an additional copy of the abstract, the microfilming and binding contract, the microfilming and binding payment receipt, and forms required by The Graduate School not later than the twelfth Friday of the semester.

The final oral examination is conducted and evaluated by at least four members of the guidance committee, supplemented by a faculty member invited by the College Graduate Dean. A copy of the dissertation must be made available to the College Dean for this purpose at least four weeks prior to the oral examination. Other interested faculty or graduate students may attend. The dissertation and the performance on the oral examination must be approved by the members of the examining committee, with not more than one dissenting vote. A committee report is signed by the members, the department Chair, and the College Graduate Dean.

The oral examination will be scheduled for a date not earlier than two weeks after the dissertation and abstract have been submitted to the major professor and guidance committee. This should allow time for the members of the committee to review and evaluate the dissertation before the examination, and also allow sufficient time after the examination for the student to submit the unbound dissertation to the Office of The Graduate School before the specified deadline date. The student must be registered for at least one credit the term in which the final oral examination is taken.

All doctoral dissertations submitted to the Office of The Graduate School must be microfilmed. Michigan State University subscribes to the service offered by University Microfilms International. One microfilm copy will be deposited in the University Library and will be available for interlibrary loan. The abstract will be published in Dissertation Abstracts, which will announce the availability of the dissertation in film form. The microfilming and binding fee, required of all doctoral students submitting dissertations, will cover the cost of the library microfilm copy, binding, and the publication and distribution of the abstract. The student may order additional bound copies for the department, the school, the director, or others through University Microfilms International, or may make other arrangements for obtaining additional bound copies.

An additional fee is charged if the dissertation is to be copyrighted. Information about the amount of this fee and method of payment may be obtained from the Office of The Graduate School Microfilming is considered by the University to be a form of publication. Publication by microfilm, however, does not preclude the printing of the dissertation in whole or in part in a journal or monograph.

All dissertations and theses are on file at the MSU Library, and can be found through the on-line MAGIC catalog.