Comparative Literature Ph.D. Dissertation Guidelines

Guide for Comparative Literature Ph.D. dissertation, defense, and electronic submission.

Overview

  1. Present completed Title, Scope, and Procedure (TSP) to the faculty advisor and Research Advisory Commitee (RAC) for approval and signatures for submission to the Office of Graduate Studies (OGS) before beginning the fifth year of full-time enrollment in the Graduate School.
  2. Confer with the Dissertation Director about procedures for submission of chapters and revisions during the dissertation writing process.
  3. Review the OGS Dissertation and Thesis Template and consult it for answers to all formatting questions.
  4. Submit complete dissertation manuscript upon approval by the Dissertation Director to the Dissertation Committee, approximately 4 weeks in advance of the scheduled defense.
  5. Complete the defense, then submit the dissertation to the OGS electronically.
  6. After the electronic dissertation has been accepted, submit approved OGS version to order copies from Thesis on Demand.

The Student is responsible for punctually completing and providing all of the necessary materials(^) for submission to the OGS, and for formatting the dissertation in accordance with its guidelines. 

The Dissertation Director is responsible for assisting The Student in assembling the full five member Dissertation Defense Committee for the defense, for assisting in arranging a defense date and location, as well as submitting all required signed paperwork and forms(^) to the The Coordinator for submission to the OGS via Portal(*), including the Dissertation Defense Committee and Examination Approval forms

The OGS provides a comprehensive Doctoral Dissertation Guide for all Ph.D. candidates. 

Title, Scope and Procedure (TSP)

By the time of completion of the Comprehensive Exams, students should have formulated a dissertation topic and selected a Dissertation Director, as well as two additional readers. The dissertation will need to be comparative.  Ordinarily, the Student submits a Title, Scope and Procedure (TSP) form for approval; this form requires the signatures of the Dissertation Director and two additional readers (collectively known as the Research Advisory Committee), as well as the Program Director.  The TSP form outlines the preliminary dissertation title, a brief abstract, and methodology. The Academic and Administrative Coordinator must receive your completed and signed TSP form to submit to the Office of Graduate Studies on behalf of the student.  The TSP must be completed and submitted to the Office of Graduate Studies at least six months before the month in which the degree is expected to be conferred OR before beginning the fifth year of full-time enrollment in the Office of Graduate Studies, whichever is earlier. 

The Student should work with the Dissertation Director to establish an effective and efficient calendar for submission of work, allowing time for revisions. Once the Dissertation Director has approved a chapter, the student should submit it to the other two readers.  The Student is expected to respect the suggestions for revision from all three of their readers for each chapter as they go along. This process ensures that the dissertation is sound from their different perspectives before the Student submits the completed dissertation to the larger Dissertation Committee for the "defense."

Intent to Graduate

The Student must file an Intent to Graduate form for the semester in which they intend to graduate. Deadlines for filing the Intent to Graduate form for each semester are listed on the Office of Graduate Studies’s online calendar. Complete this form by logging onto WebSTAC and clicking on “Intent to Graduate” from the menu. Take note of the diploma pick-up and mailing dates that are included in the form because the diploma will be mailed to the address entered. If the graduation semester changes, a new form must be filed.

Preliminary Paperwork

Survey of Earned Doctorates

Completed by The Student

Students are encouraged to complete their Survey of Earned Doctorates prior to the dissertation deadline. Do this as soon as possible so that OGS has a record of its arrival in time for graduation requirements to be met. OGS will be notified automatically once the survey is complete. 

The electronic submission of the dissertation will not be processed or approved until this email arrives to OGS. 

Survey of Earned Doctorates

Completed by The Student

Students are encouraged to complete their Survey of Earned Doctorates prior to the dissertation deadline. Do this as soon as possible so that OGS has a record of its arrival in time for graduation requirements to be met. OGS will be notified automatically once the survey is complete. 

The electronic submission of the dissertation will not be processed or approved until this email arrives to OGS. 

Dissertation Defense

Dissertation Defense Committee

Completed by The Student and The Dissertation Director, submitted by The Coordinator to OGS

The Defense Committee consists of at least five members, who normally meet two independent criteria:

  1. Four of the five must be tenured or tenure-track Washington University faculty; one of these four may be a member of the Emeritus faculty. The fifth member must have a doctoral degree and an active research program, whether at Washington University, at another university, in government, or in industry.
  2. Three of the five must come from the student's degree program; at least one of the five must not.

All Dissertation Committees must be approved by the Dean of the Graduate School or by their designee, regardless of whether they meet the normal criteria. Approval requires completion of the Dissertation Defense Committee form^. The Coordinator must receive the completed and DGS signed Dissertation Defense Committeee form to submit to OGS on behalf of The Student via Portal.

This form and Defense Committee must be approved by the Graduate School before the scheduling of the dissertation defense can occur; this MUST be completed and approved at least 3 weeks ahead of your desired defense date. 

Dissertation Defense Notification

Completed by The Student, submitted by The Coordinator to OGS

Once the Defense Committee is approved via an email from the OGS, The Coordinator can help The Student in securing a time and location for the defense if needed. After approval of the Defense Committee and at least 15 days before the defense, The Coordinator will submit a Defense Notification* to the OGS via Portal stating the time, date, and location of the defense, as well as attach an updated CV of The Student^. The Student is required to provide the Coordinator with the Dissertation Defense Information (date and location of defense, title of dissertation) and a copy of the Student CV in a .pdf format for submission.

Distribution of Dissertation

Completed by The Student

Once the Dissertation Director has approved the content and the style of the entire dissertation, The Student must distribute copies of the full document to all members of the Defense Committee, including external readers, in preparation for the oral defense. The Student should allow a minimum of three (3) weeks for the Defense Committee members to read the thesis. The Student is responsible for giving copies of the dissertation to the Defense Committee. According to the OGS, the Defense Committee members may request rescheduling of the defense if the dissertation is not made available at least 1 week in advance.

While certain critiques and suggestions from the larger Defense Committee during the defense are to be expected, indeed encouraged, The Dissertation Director, by signaling approval The Student's submission of the dissertation to the Defense Committee, is indicating the support of the Research Advisory Committee (RAC) members, i.e., that they stand by the work and are prepared to support its content and form at the defense.

OGS provides a Dissertation and Thesis Template for all Ph.D. candidates.

Defense of Dissertation

Completed by The Student and The Defense Committee, 

From Graduate School Information on Defense of the Dissertation:


"Attendance by a minimum of four members of the Dissertation Defense Committee, including the committee chair and an outside member, is required for the defense to take place. This provision is designed to permit your defense to proceed in case of a situation that unexpectedly prevents one of the five members from attending. Do not plan in advance to have only four members in attendance; if one of those four cannot attend, your defense must be rescheduled. Note that the absence of all outside members or of the committee chair would necessitate rescheduling the defense.

"Members of the Dissertation Defense Committee normally attend in person, but one of the five (or, in case of an emergency, one of the four) members may attend virtually instead.

“Faculty and graduate students who are interested in the subject of the dissertation are normally welcome to attend all or part of the defense but may ask questions only at the discretion of the committee members. Though there is some variation among degree programs, the defense ordinarily focuses on the dissertation itself and its relation to the student’s field of expertise.”

Examination Approval Form

Signed by The Defense Committee, delivered to The Coordinator by The Dissertation Director, submitted by The Coordinator to OGS

The Dissertation Director is responsible for gathering signatures of the committee on the Examination Approval Form^*. The Coordinator will then submit it on behalf of The Student via Portal.

Submission of Dissertation

Completed by The Student

Visit the OGS calendar for the Dissertation/Thesis Final Submission Deadline. The following items must be completed by this deadline or Graduation and degree dates will need to be delayed.

Creating ProQuest Online Account

After successful defense of the dissertation and completion of any committee requested changes, OGS requires that The Student create an online account at ProQuest (http://www.etdadmin.com/wustl) to submit the final approved text. ProQuest is this country’s most widely used commercial archiving service for dissertations and theses.

 

Checklist for Electronic Submission

The Student must have completed all items below before the electronic submission of the dissertation to ProQuest.

Checklist for Electronic Submission

 

Filed Intent to Graduate for the semester planned to complete degree?
  Does the title page indicate the correct administrative unit?
  Is the committee alphabetized by last name, after chair/co-chair?
  Is The Title in Upper and Lower Case, as in This Quest?
  Does the title page indicate the month and year in which the degree is being conferred?
  If including an abstract page, does it use the required heading found in the Dissertation & Thesis Template?
  Is the front matter numbered correctly, starting with ii?
  Does the page numbering on the Table of Contents correspond to the correct page location?
  Does the Table of Contents include a bibliography/references/works cited?
  Completed the Survey of Earned Doctorates?
  Completed the Post-Graduation Job Survey?
  Has the OGS received the Examination Approval Form?
  Any requisite copyright permission letters?

Electronic Submission of Dissertation

The OGS is notified when you submit your dissertation to ProQuest. When reviewing submission, they ensure that the Examination Approval Form and Survey of Earned Doctorates have been completed and check the submitted PDF to ensure that all formatting requirements have been followed. The amount of time needed to review the manuscript, and the number and nature of any changes that may be required to make, are generally determined by how carefully the work has been prepared. Do not wait until the deadline day to submit the dissertation! Work must be formatted correctly and approved by the OGS in order for graduation. Once the OGS review is complete, they will send you an email through ProQuest saying one of the following:

  1. Submission has no revisions and is being accepted.
  2. Submission has no revisions, but there is missing required paperwork.
  3. Submission has a few revisions that must be made before accepting.

Ordering Bound Copies and Degree Certification

After the dissertation has been approved by the OGS, The Student should forward The Coordinator the OGS dissertation approval email for ordering of bound copies from Thesis On Demand.

The Student may need to present proof of completion of degree to a prospective employer before receiving a diploma. In that case, only after notification that submission has been approved, The Student may request a Degree Certification on the Graduate School website, on the Forms page.

Commencement and Hooding

Completed by The Student

Once the dissertation has been approved, The Student should contact The Dissertation Director for confirmation of the Hooding Ceremony for Commencement. Traditionally, The Dissertation Director will be present to present The Student with the Ph.D. hood during the Ph.D. Hooding Ceremony. 

Reservation to Ceremony

Registration for the Commencement ceremony is required and is separate from the ITG and ordering of regalia. Please register by the deadline online via the Wash U Commencement site.

Reserve Regalia

Please note that the deadline and process for ordering regalia will be announced on the Wash U Commencement regalia site and is taken care of by the Wash U Bookstore and NOT the Comparative Literature program. 

Questions from students may be addressed to the current Comparative Literature Academic and Administrative Coordinator (aka Graduate Program Assistant, or GPA) or the Comparative Literature program at: complit@wustl.edu.