A. Dissertation Proposal
Following the requirements of the Graduate Catalog of East Carolina University, each Candidate will prepare a dissertation proposal. The dissertation proposal must meet the guidelines specified in The Graduate Catalog, Section 7, School of Medicine, Doctoral Dissertation, including:
- a review of the literature pertinent to the research
- a short statement on the nature of the project and the objectives of the proposed research
- an outline of a feasible research program
The dissertation proposal must be approved by the student's Graduate Advisory Committee and a copy must be forwarded to the Graduate Program Committee. The dissertation proposal may be modified as needed by the student's Graduate Advisory Committee. The dissertation proposal should be completed before the end of the semester following completion of the doctoral candidacy examination.
B. Dissertation Requirements
The student will write a dissertation under the direction of their Advisor. The dissertation must reflect original, independent research which contributes new knowledge to the candidate's major field. A high quality of experimental design, research technique, and communication must be demonstrated along with a clear perception of historical foundations, strengths, weaknesses, and implications of the results. At least one manuscript, based on the dissertation research and first-authored by the candidate, must have been submitted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal by the time of the dissertation defense.
With the Graduate Advisory Committee's approval, the student will submit a complete typed draft of the dissertation to each Graduate Advisory Committee member. The Committee will have a minimum of two weeks to critique the dissertation draft and return it to the student. The student will prepare and distribute a complete, revised draft that reflects consideration of the Graduate Advisory Committee's critique. After reviewing the revised draft, each committee member shall convey to the student's Advisor whether the dissertation is of sufficient quality to schedule the oral defense. The Advisor shall inform the Graduate Program Committee by submitting the "Request to Schedule Student Defense" form (GPC-11) and submitting an announcement of the date, time and location of the oral defense. With the written approval of the Graduate Program Committee, the announcement will be distributed via Email from the Office of Research and Graduate Studies to all School of Medicine faculty. Simultaneously, the Department of Microbiology and Immunology will distribute hard copies to all Microbiology & Immunology faculty and other pertinent faculty. The announcement must be distributed no less than 1 week prior to the oral defense.
Details pertaining to the preparation, binding, and distribution of the dissertation are specified in the Graduate Catalogue. Bound copies of the dissertation will be provided for the Advisor and the Department.
C. Dissertation Defense
The dissertation defense will consist of an oral presentation of the dissertation research in a publicly-announced Departmental Seminar to which all interested persons are invited. The candidate should successfully defend the research findings by responding to all questions and criticism. Time will be allowed at the end of the presentation for all faculty and students to ask questions. Immediately following the open question session, the student's Graduate Advisory Committee will convene with the student to ask additional questions and to vote in the absence of the student whether or not to approve the student's dissertation. Voting shall be a roll call vote with no abstention. A successful defense requires no more than one negative vote. The vote will be recorded.
Recommendation to award the degree will be made by the Graduate Advisory Committee to the Graduate Program Committee on the form "Report of Defense of Ph.D. Dissertation and Recommendation to Award the Degree" which will be provided by the Office of Research and Graduate Studies. The Graduate School's representative will bring this form to the dissertation defense. The Dissertation Advisor is responsible for signing the form and for transmitting the form to the Chair of the Graduate Program Committee on the same day as the defense. The Chair of the Graduate Program Committee will forward the recommendation to the Departmental Chair who will submit the original and copies to all required persons.
If the dissertation defense is unsatisfactory, the defense will be re-scheduled. If the research findings contain major weaknesses, the candidate will be offered an opportunity to obtain additional data before re-scheduling a defense. The Dissertation Advisor is responsible for communicating the negative decision to the chairman of the Graduate Program Committee. A letter describing the reasons for the decision, remedial efforts recommended by the Graduate Advisory Committee, and a proposed date for the re-scheduled examination should be delivered to the Chair of the Graduate Program Committee on the next working day after the defense.
The doctoral degree program must be completed before the end of the twelfth semester following initial enrollment, excluding summers. Under special circumstances, a student may request an extension from the Graduate Program Committee with endorsement from their Graduate Advisory Committee. The Graduate Program Committee will review the request and make a recommendation to the Departmental Chair. Only one extension of not more than two semesters, summers included, will be approved.
The doctoral degree program is considered complete when the dissertation has been successfully defended, approved by the Graduate School, and a copy of the signed, final version has been forwarded to the Graduate School. This process is verified by completion of the form "Report of Final Submission of Dissertation" (GPC-12).
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