Uwm Graduate School Dissertation Format Template

1. Program of Study

The student and advisor prepare a Program of Study, which specifies all required and elective coursework, completed and proposed, that will be offered in fulfillment of degree requirements in the major field and in the minor. The Program of Study also specifies the foreign language, technical, or research skill requirements, if any, that will be offered in fulfillment of the program requirements.

Each academic unit has its own deadline for submitting the program of study. Submitting a copy to the Graduate School is not required, although in some cases it is helpful.

2. Doctoral Preliminary Examination

Doctoral preliminary examinations, or “prelims,” as they are commonly called, are designed to assess a doctoral candidate’s mastery of subject knowledge and application skills, and ensure adequate preparation for individual dissertation research. The Graduate School requires that you pass your prelims within five years of initial enrollment in your doctoral program.

Some program units require two or three prelims. Some may be written, others are oral, and many are a combination.

Your graduate program unit establishes the timing and structure of the prelims, as well as specific requirements and eligibility. Be sure to find out how preliminary exams are handled within your program unit. It may be helpful to ask other graduate students in your department about their experiences with prelims.

At the beginning of the semester that you are eligible to take the prelims, you must complete the electronic Application for the Doctoral Preliminary Examination, located in the online Doctoral Milestones System. After you electronically submit the form, your program unit will be notified to submit their approval, then eligibility is validated by the Graduate School. After the exam, the program unit will enter the results and submit their approval online. It then goes to Graduate School for final processing.

Online Doctoral Milestones System

Using the System

If you fail the prelim, your graduate program unit must provide you with its written policy regarding continuation. If you miss the scheduled prelims, you must file a new application for the next semester.

Test results are kept in your graduate record. After you pass the prelim(s), you are considered ready to undertake independent research.

During the semester that you are preparing for doctoral prelims, you may enroll for a minimum of 1 graduate credit and still be considered full time for financial aid or grant purposes. International students should check with the Center for International Education for more information. This status is available for one semester only, and does not fulfill residence requirements. To request this option, you must have already submitted your online Application for the Doctoral Preliminary Examination.

3. Dissertator Status

You are eligible to become a dissertator when you have:
  • Completed all major and minor course requirements.
  • Passed the doctoral preliminary examination.
  • Submitted an online dissertation topic summary or online proposal hearing form in the online Doctoral Milestones System.
  • Met residence requirements.
  • Cleared incomplete and “progress” grades/reports in non-research courses.
  • Achieved a 3.0 or higher cumulative GPA.
  • Completed the language requirement (if required).
  • Completed other departmental requirements (if any).
You must submit an online Application for Doctoral Dissertator Status, located in the online Doctoral Milestones System, for this information to be verified and approved by the Graduate School and your graduate program unit. You must submit the online form before the semester begins.

Online Doctoral Milestones System

Your dissertator status is confirmed with an e-mail from the Graduate School doctoral specialist to you and your department’s graduate representative.

Continuous Registration
Doctoral students with dissertator status must maintain continuous registration. See Doctoral Dissertator Enrollment for more information.

4. Dissertation Proposal Hearing

The dissertation proposal must be approved by your doctoral committee. Committee approval of the dissertation proposal establishes agreement on your chosen research and indicates that you have adequate preparation to complete the research.

Complete the online Doctoral Dissertation Proposal Hearing Form, located in the online Doctoral Milestones System. The form is forwarded to Graduate Student Services for final processing.

Online Doctoral Milestones System

You can hold your proposal hearing before or after you achieve dissertator status.

Any significant changes to the dissertation as presented in the proposal hearing must be approved. A new proposal and proposal hearing are required.

5. Dissertation

The dissertation is the report of an original investigation you have carried out under the direction of your major professor. The dissertation must be your own work. Although it may be the result of collaboration with others, it must reflect your own style, and a substantial portion must represent your own creative contribution.

Dissertation format requirements are published in Master’s Thesis and Doctoral Dissertation Format Requirements. Also, every semester the Graduate School holds a workshop on thesis/dissertation formatting and graduation requirements.

6. Dissertation Defense & Graduation

First, complete and submit Part I of the Application for Doctoral Graduation, no later than the end of the second week of the semester you expect to graduate. You must also pay a non-refundable $40 graduation processing fee, which will be billed by the Bursar’s office during the semester. If you do not graduate when anticipated, another application must be submitted; an additional fee is not required. The Graduate School then completes Part II of the application and sends it to your program unit for completion of Part III.

At the same time you submit Part I of the application, send a draft of the dissertation to your major professor, who is responsible for determining the readiness of your dissertation for defense and scheduling a tentative defense date.

In order to graduate in the semester you applied for, the dissertation defense must be held at least two weeks before the graduation ceremony date. The Spring and Fall semesters are the best for scheduling defenses; scheduling during the summer may be very difficult.

Next, submit a draft of the dissertation to each member of the doctoral examining committee, which is your doctoral committee. All committee members must read the dissertation in its entirety. The time allowed for members to read the dissertation is determined by the individual program units. A member cannot keep the dissertation for an inordinate amount of time because of the press of other duties. Service as a doctoral committee member is an integral part of a faculty member’s teaching assignment, fully comparable to conducting classes.

After the committee members have read the dissertation, they advise your major professor on its readiness for defense. If substantial revisions are necessary, they must be completed before the defense date is confirmed. Your major professor contacts you to confirm this date.

The subject of the doctoral defense is the dissertation itself. The dissertation defense provides an opportunity for you to demonstrate your expertise after several years of preparatory coursework, research, and writing. You also will demonstrate your ability to explain ideas and methods embodied in the dissertation and to defend the implications and conclusions of your research.

The defense allows your committee members to verify your independent scholarly contributions. They may offer guidance regarding publication possibilities for the dissertation, and encourage further research efforts in your area of academic specialization.

All committee members are responsible for reading and voting on the dissertation.

At the conclusion of the defense, the committee may vote either pass or fail, or it may decide to defer the decision. The warrant (indicating pass or fail) or the deferral form must be returned to the Graduate School within 10 working days of the defense or a deferral is automatically assigned.

Pass. To pass the defense, a majority of the committee must vote to pass. No absentee ballots are allowed.

Fail. If you fail the defense, you may re-defend once after a waiting period, to be determined by the committee and communicated to you in writing. The Graduate School requires that this second defense take place within one calendar year of the original defense. A new application and warrant are required for the second defense. In the case of a four-person committee, if the vote is a tie, the defense is failed.

Defer. If the committee determines that you need more than 10 working days to complete revisions to the dissertation, a deferral form must be so marked and submitted to the Graduate School within 10 working days of the defense.

Your major professor must notify you and the Graduate School of the specific reasons for the deferral action and the completion date required by the committee (not to exceed 4 months from the original defense date). If satisfactory changes are not made within 4 months, the deferral turns into a fail. You then have 8 months from the deferral deadline to pass a second defense.

You cannot graduate in deferral status and must register for the next semester if the deferral is not changed to a Pass by the Graduate School dissertation submission deadline.

The entire committee is responsible for verifying that the dissertation revisions have been made to their satisfaction. At this point, the committee passes or fails the dissertation and the major professor returns the signed warrant to the Graduate School.

7. Graduation

To graduate in the semester you applied for, you must meet these deadlines:
  1. During the first two weeks of the semester: Submit the Application for Doctoral Graduation to the Graduate School.
  2. At least two weeks before the graduation ceremony date: Hold the dissertation defense.
  3. Submit your final dissertation by the posted submission deadline. Submission to the Graduate School must include:
    1. An electronic submission of the thesis through ProQuest ETD Administrator. More information on the submission process can be found on the UWM ETD Web Page.
    2. Thesis & Dissertation Approval and Publishing Options Form with an original signature from you and your major professor.
    3. Complete the online Survey of Earned Doctorates.
If any of these deadlines are not met, you must apply and graduate in the next semester. You will not be required to register for the next semester if the dissertation has been defended, passed, and accepted by the Graduate School before the first day of classes for the next semester. The date of graduation, however, will be the next semester.

If you want your name to appear in the commencement bulletin, be sure that your directory information with the University is not restricted. If you restricted the release of your address, phone number, and other limited information, contact the Registrar’s Office Information Center, Mellencamp 274. This should be done by the second week of the semester in which you expect to graduate to ensure that your name will appear in the bulletin.

Removal of the restriction will allow your directory information to be released for all publicity purposes, as well as the commencement booklet.

Graduation ceremonies are held in May and December. August graduates attend the December graduation ceremony.

About one month before graduation, all eligible degree candidates will receive a letter from the Secretary of the University’s office containing the date, location, and time of the ceremony, as well as information on ordering caps and gowns. Any questions about the commencement ceremony should be directed to the Secretary of the University.
By mid-semester, the defense date should be set. Your major professor returns the application for defense and graduation to the Graduate School, confirming the date.

Before your defense, send an e-mail attachment of the draft version of your dissertation to the Doctoral Specialist (gs-doctoralservices@uwm.edu) to review your dissertation for the necessary formatting requirements.

Readiness for defense does not indicate acceptance of the dissertation; it means the committee agrees that you have met the terms of your proposal and that the dissertation is defensible. The decision to hold a doctoral defense, moreover, is not solely that of the committee. If you insist on defending the dissertation before the committee believes it is ready, you may defend.

At least a week prior to the defense, the Graduate School sends a warrant to your department’s graduate representative. This is the document the committee will sign on the day of the defense. If committee membership or the defense date changes, the Graduate School must be notified, and a new warrant will be issued.
An Electronic Thesis or Dissertation (ETD) is simply the digital (electronic) representation of your thesis or dissertation. It is the same as its paper counterpart in content and organization, and it meets the formatting requirements described on our Thesis and Dissertation Formatting Web Page.

You created an ETD when you wrote your thesis or dissertation on a computer.

UWM ETD implementation is a joint effort of the Graduate School, ProQuest, and the UWM Libraries.

This site outlines the steps to submitting your thesis or dissertation electronically and reviews the choices you will be confronted with during the publication process.

The ProQuest “ETD Administrator” Website is where you will submit your thesis or dissertation.

The role of UWM Libraries is to provide access to and long-term archiving of ETDs.

NOTE: There are 2 important ETD Websites:
  1. The UWM site, where you are now, has information that you should review first.
  2. The ProQuest “ETD Administrator” Website is where you go next.

    Here you will find detailed information on ProQuest guidelines on formatting for digital submission, publishing, copyrighting, binding, etc.

All master’s and doctoral students submitting an ETD must sign a ProQuest/UMI Publishing Agreement form.

ProQuest is a private company that has acted for more than 60 years as the publisher and distributor for the majority of theses and dissertations written in the United States. Published theses and dissertations are listed in the ProQuest Dissertations & Theses (PQDT) database. Online access to the available full text of theses and dissertations (including those written at UWM) is through a paid institutional subscription.

As you go through the submission process, you will be asked to make several decisions regarding publishing, embargoes, and copyright. It is important that you understand the ramifications of these selections (outlined below). To make informed decisions, you, your faculty advisor, and your committee should be aware of the publication practices in your field of study.

There are two ways to publish – traditional or open access. An embargo to delay publishing for a selected period of time may be used with either method.

What is traditional publishing, and what are the benefits?

Traditional Publishing makes your work available for purchase by others and enables you to receive royalties based on those purchases. However, the need for others to purchase your document means that it will not receive the widest possible dissemination. Your document is, however, listed in an online database. Those who choose not to purchase it have access online only to an extract consisting of the title page and the first few content pages.

What is open access publishing, and what are the benefits?

Open Access is the broadest possible method of disseminating your work. The full text of your electronic thesis or dissertation is freely accessible world-wide on the Internet after it has been approved by the Graduate School and submitted to ProQuest. Granting open access to your ETD results in more recognition of your research work, wider dissemination of scholarly information, and acceleration of research. Because your research is available free of charge, there is no income to ProQuest (or to you via royalties). For that reason, this is the more expensive choice of publishing for you.

If you choose to copyright your document, the copyright fee is $55, which is in addition to the publishing fee. The $55 copyright fee must be paid directly to ProQuest at the time of submission. This can be done on the ProQuest “ETD Administrator” Website where you submit your thesis or dissertation. (More information about copyrighting your work can be found below.)

You can choose to grant immediate access to your work or to block access in order to protect the work for patent and/or proprietary purposes for a designated period. You may choose to embargo (i.e., restrict access to) your work for six months, one year or two years. If you choose to delay access, your work will default to whichever publishing method you have selected (traditional or open access) after the embargo period ends.

Eighty to ninety percent of publishers of professional journals (e.g., Elsevier) have made the decision that theses or dissertations that are available online do not qualify as prior publication and therefore do not deter future publications. However, other publishers have reached the opposite conclusion. Therefore, the selection of whether or not to delay publication (an embargo) should be an informed decision.

Disclosing potential intellectual property in theses or dissertations published online may preclude patent rights in some areas of the world. If you have patent concerns or concerns that the posting of your ETD might prevent later acceptance of your research by professional journals or book publishers, it is your responsibility to consult with your committee and with possible future publishers to make an informed decision. Most professional journals publish “Instructions for Authors” on their website where they specifically address this issue. Some journals, however, do not. Many journals state that their policy is to deal with each submission on a case-by-case basis. To clarify the policies of a particular journal, you may need to contact the publisher.

Please make sure that you check over the final PDF document before you submit it. Do not assume that if the final Word document was fine, the PDF will be fine. In particular, double check your charts, graphs, and any graphic files in your document, and look for correct conversions of unusual fonts and diacritical marks such as accents.

Rather than printing your manuscript dozens of times as you make changes and progress through the various stages of review, you will be able to make corrections to the electronic file, convert the final version to a PDF file, and submit that file.

You may include additional information (e.g., audio or multimedia files) that may not be possible or appropriate to incorporate into a paper document. Such files typically are included, however, only if they are an integral part of the thesis or dissertation.

Whereas paper copies can spend months waiting to be bound and distributed, your electronic document can be available much more quickly and, if you so choose, to a much wider audience.

You may be able to reduce or eliminate the costs of printing and binding. Committee members may still require a paper copy for their part of the review process and/or for departmental archives.

It is important to recognize the distinction between electronic submission and electronic publication:
  • Electronic submission means that rather than printing your thesis or dissertation and submitting paper copies to the Graduate School, you will submit your final document electronically as a PDF file.
  • Electronic publication refers to the ways in which your electronic thesis or dissertation will be made available to others. For further discussion, see Publishing Your ETD with ProQuest and Copyright Information below.
The process of submitting a thesis or dissertation electronically includes the following:
  1. Writing the document and saving in Word or other appropriate format.
  2. Go to the ProQuest “ETD Administrator” Website.

    You will create a new account the first time you log on. (This is not part of the UWM PAWS system, and therefore it will not accept your PAWS login information.)

    Here, you will be walked through the process of:
    1. Embedding the fonts.
    2. Converting your document to PDF format. You may need assistance in preparing a PDF for submission. ProQuest has a very helpful Resources & Guidelines site.
    3. Uploading the document to ProQuest.
    4. Ordering personal hard copies (optional).
    5. Registering the copyright through ProQuest with the Library of Congress (optional).
    6. Submission.
  3. ProQuest automatically sends you an e-mail confirming that your submission is complete. Please print and keep that e-mail. It is your proof that you submitted online and before the deadline expired.
  4. ProQuest will then notify the UWM Graduate School of your submission.
  5. The Graduate School will review your document to make sure the formatting is according to the above mentioned Thesis or Dissertation Formatting Guidelines. If changes are needed, you will be requested by the Graduate School to make the appropriate changes on your original work and re-upload to ProQuest.
  6. When approved by the Graduate School, we will submit your document to ProQuest who will log, index and publish your thesis or dissertation.
  7. The Libraries provide free, long-term, full-text access to UWM ETDs on and off campus through UWM Digital Commons. The Libraries receive a copy of the PDF file for access and archiving once the thesis or dissertation is submitted and approved by the Graduate School.
There are two possible publishing options. You are responsible for one of the following:
  1. Open Access through the UWM Library: Free;
    Traditional publishing through ProQuest: Free.
  2. Open Access through the UWM Library: Free;
    Open Access Publishing through ProQuest: $95—paid to ProQuest at time of submission.
To avoid the potential of signatures being stolen and misused, NO signatures are permitted anywhere in an ETD. For example, you first must remove signatures from the IRB approval notice if you include it in an appendix.

The following items are not part of your electronic submission, but they are still due in the Graduate School by the dissertation or thesis deadline:
  1. Thesis & Dissertation Approval and Publishing Options Form with an original signature from you and your major professor.
  2. The Survey of Earned Doctorates (doctoral students only).
The author of the thesis or dissertation already owns the copyright to the electronic work as soon as it is published. International copyright law provides full protection and establishment of the author’s rights.

However, ProQuest offers an additional copyright registration service that registers your copyright, establishes your claim to copyright, and provides certain protections if your copyright is violated.

The cost to have ProQuest register your copyright with the Library of Congress is $55. This fee is between ProQuest and the student, and is not administered through UWM. The additional fee for copyright registration must be paid via credit card to ProQuest at the time of the electronic submission. For more information regarding copyright registration and the advantages, please visit the ProQuest site.
ProQuest can bind your document. Follow the directions at the ProQuest Website regarding their full range of binding options. You select the binding option you prefer at the “Order Copies” step of the submission process.

Each volume is rendered with respect for the scholarly research, featuring:
  • Brilliant white 32 lb. paper stock: acid-free and archival-grade, this photographic-quality stock is brighter and more opaque for better ink contrast and readability.
  • Any color graphics included in the digital copy of the thesis or dissertation received by ProQuest can be reproduced in color—at no extra charge! Photographs, charts, and other illustrations are printed as they were provided electronically.
  • Durable hardbound copies are 8½”x11″ with elegant black covers made from 2.5 mm-thick board covered in washable linen. Titles are embossed in gold foil on the spine. Handmade thread-sewn bindings and generous margins enable volumes to be opened flat.

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