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Dissertation Calculator

based on the Dissertation Calculator (University of Minnesota) -- "breaks down the dissertation process into manageable deadlines and provides you with important resources and advice"

Why is this stage important?

The key to a good relationship with your advisor, your department, and the University is to understand what they expect of you and what you can expect of them. Norms for behaviors, attitudes, and roles exist and your goal is to work with your advisor to agree on what they are (or at least understand the constraints under which you will be working). You will also need to explore what a dissertation means to your advisor, your department, your discipline, and to the University. Without a clear-cut sense of the mutual expectations and responsibilities, you may find your dissertation process derailed before it has even begun.

General Information on Understanding Expectations

Step 1: Seek out & establish necessary support.

  1. Facilities and Equipment
    1. Desk
    2. Office/room
    3. Equipment
    4. Computing facilities
  2. Intellectual support
    1. Setting standards
    2. Determining feasibility of plans
    3. Guidance in formulating a topic
    4. Guidance on research methods
    5. Guidance on analytical methods
    6. Discussion of ideas, theory, and results
    7. Editorial support
    8. Formatting, graphics, style, and other support in dissertation/manuscript preparation
  3. Emotional support
    1. Encouragement
    2. Open to questions
    3. Comfortable with mistakes, ill-formed or preliminary ideas, ignorance
    4. Open to discussion of work-life balance issues
  4. Professional support
    1. Promoting you in department, institution, and discipline/field
    2. Helping you find and apply for positions
    3. Writing letters of recommendation
    4. Nominating you for awards and prizes
  5. Material and Monetary Support
    1. Funding for Graduate School (UCF College of Graduate Studies)
    2. Graduate Teaching (GTA) Information (UCF College of Graduate Studies)
    3. UCF Career Services - Graduate Students
    4. Fellowships (UCF College of Graduate Studies)
    5. Assistanceships (UCF College of Graduate Studies)
    6. Tuition Remission (UCF College of Graduate Studies)
    7. Health Insurance (UCF College of Graduate Studies)
    8. Travel Support (UCF College of Graduate Studies)
    9. Funding Opportunities (UCF Office of Research & Commercialization)
    10. UCF Office of Student Financial Assistance
    11. Finding Off-Campus or On-Campus Employment During Graduate School (UCF College of Graduate Studies)
    12. Conference funding
    13. Funding for field work
    14. Photocopying
    15. Postage
    16. Office supplies
    17. Secretarial support
    18. Laboratory assistance
    19. Outside consultants - editorial, statistical
  6. UCF Graduate Student Association
  7. GradShare -- Where graduate students help each other succeed -- ""offers guidance on the full breadth of the graduate experience, such as dissertation topic selection, grants, financial aid, and work-life balance. Moreover, students can find and share advice on research, writing, publishing, job search, and other topics that help them become more effective in their work."

Step 2: Negotiate with your advisor/department about what they seek/expect from you.

  1. What your advisor may expect from you
    1. Motivation and enthusiasm
    2. Independence
    3. Academic competence and willingness to work on areas of weakness
    4. Ability to express yourself in written and oral formats
    5. Academic integrity -- UCF Academic Integrity Training
    6. Timely updates on progress and difficulties
    7. Organization, time management, self discipline, ready to seek help if needed
  2. Advising & Mentoring (UCF College of Graduate Studies)
  3. Rights & Responsibilities (UCF College of Graduate Studies)
    1. Rights
      1. The Right to Change Advisers
      2. The Right to Change Committee Members
      3. The Right of Notice with Regard to a Graduate Assistanceship
      4. The Right to Request an Appeal
      5. The Right to Change Your Graduate Catalog Year
      6. The Right to Full Information about Financial Aid Programs
    2. Responsibilities
      1. General responsibilities of UCF students
      2. Specific responsibilities of UCF graduate students
      3. Office of Student Rights & Responsibilities
      4. Conflict of Interest & Commitment Statement
      5. Research Conduct

Step 3: Discuss expectations for the dissertation with your advisor/ department.

  1. How is originality defined in your discipline?
  2. How long is a dissertation in terms of pages and chapters?
  3. Can it be a bound set of manuscripts/articles? If so, is a lit review required as well?
  4. What referencing conventions should be followed?
  5. Should there be a discussion section in each chapter or in a separate chapter?
  6. Should there be a Future Directions and/or Conclusions chapter?
  7. How or will credit be shared on any publications/presentations that arise from the dissertation?
  8. Review university thesis and dissertation policies within the UCF Graduate Catalog
  9. Review the UCF Graduate Students Policies and Procedures relating to thesis and dissertation students, including Dissemination, Enrollment, Human Subjects Research, Patent and Invention, and the Review for Original Work (via Turnitin.com)
  10. UCF Graduate Program Requirements
  11. Preparation of the thesis/dissertation -- UCF Thesis & Dissertation Service Site
    Some specific considerations include
    1. Format -- Formatting the ETD
    2. Published work included in or in lieu of the thesis
    3. Publication, copyright, and distribution of the thesis -- Publishing, Copyright, & Binding

Step 4: Generate and complete forms and timeline.

  1. What forms do you need to complete? Forms and Files (UCF College of Graduate Studies)
    1. Plan of Study -- A Plan of Study must be completed by the progam and must be on file with the College of Graduate Studies by the end of the third major term of enrollment.
  2. What steps are required in the process? Completing Your Thesis or Dissertation (ETD)
    1. Find/accept idea
    2. Find supervisor (order of these two steps may be reversed)
    3. Thesis proposal
    4. Submission timing
    5. Degree Audit
    6. Registration of candidacy
      1. Doctoral Committee/Candidacy Status Form must be completed and submitted once the student has passed the candidacy exam and before enrolling in dissertation hours
      2. Thesis Advisory Committee Form must be completed prior to a student enrolling in thesis hours
    7. Check your committee's status at myUCF Student Center > Graduate Students > Thesis and Dissertation Status page
    8. Use the Thesis and Dissertation Format Review Checklist before submitting your ETD to the Format Review area of the Thesis and Dissertation Services site
  3. What is the timeline?
    1. Graduate Catalog -- Policies and Graduate Handbooks
      1. The student has seven years from the date of admission to the doctoral program to complete the dissertation and complete the doctoral degree
      2. The decision to allow a student continuing progress toward a doctorate is made by the graduate committee of the program area concerned on the basis of the qualifying examination (optional by programs) and/or other criteria as specified by the individual program area. This exam is normally given within the first year of the doctoral program.
      3. The candidacy exam is takes place prior to admission to Candidacy Status. This is a written examination and is permanently filed in the student's permanent records. It is normally taken near the end of completion of course work, and must be passed before being allowed to enroll in doctoral dissertation (XXX 7980) hours.
      4. Students must have passed candidacy and have the candidacy and dissertation advisory committee documentation received and processed by the College of Graduate Studies prior to the first day of classes for the term in order to enroll in dissertation hours for that term
      5. After passing the general Candidacy Examination, the student will write and defend a Dissertation Proposal in an oral examination
      6. Students planning to graduate in the next term must complete the Application for Graduation (Intent to Graduate form) by the last day of classes in the term preceding the graduation semester to be listed in the Commencement Program
      7. Students who wish to complete their degree requirements in a given semester must take their oral defense and submit the final electronic copy of their thesis or dissertation by the dates shown in the UCF Academic Calendar
      8. The university requires all students submitting a thesis or dissertation as part of their graduate degree requirements to first submit their electronic documents through Turnitin.com for advisement purposes and for review of originality
      9. The thesis or dissertation must be submitted to the committee at least two weeks before the defense
    2. Departmental Requirements
      1. Are progress reports required?
      2. Is there a minimum or maximum time period between submission of the dissertation proposal and the final defense?
      3. Is there a specific time of year at which a defense must be held?

OLD LINKS BELOW THIS POINT

University of Minnesota Dissertation Calculator

UMN Stage 1 -- List of General Links on University of Minnesota Guide

UMN Stage 1 -- UCF Links for Steps 1 through 4

Step 1: Seek out & establish necessary support.

Step 2: Negotiate with your advisor/department about what they seek/expect from you.

Step 3: Discuss expectations for the dissertation with your advisor/ department.

Step 4: Generate and complete forms and timeline.