The successful completion of the written and oral examinations results in formal admission to the dissertation stage. The student’s dissertation committee is generally but not always composed of the professors on the student’s preliminary examination committee. At the discretion of the director of the dissertation, members may be added to the committee or dropped from it in search of the most suitable fit for the topic and for the student’s professional interests. The committee must be composed of at least four professors, three of whom must be members of the Graduate Faculty. Outside readers may be invited to be on the committee, but their suitability must be approved by the Graduate College.
At the dissertation stage, students no longer have to take any seminars, courses, or independent studies. Instead they sign up for at least 24 and preferably 32 credits of CWL 599 (thesis credits). The 599s are graded as deferred (DF) until the dissertation is completed and has been successfully defended.
A student who has left the University for whatever reason shall comply with the Graduate College’s regulations upon returning for the dissertation defense.
It is assumed that all members of the student’s dissertation committee will have read at least one draft of each major chapter prior to being given the defense copy.
The final steps in this process are the dissertation defense and the deposit. Upon completion, a clean copy of the entire dissertation shall be submitted to each member of the dissertation committee at least three weeks before the date of the scheduled defense. The defense itself is open to the public. The deposit copy of the dissertation shall reflect the revisions recommended by the dissertation committee. Almost all dissertations are revised after the defense. The student is urged to become thoroughly familiar with the requirements of the Graduate College concerning the proper format of the deposit cop(ies) of dissertation and to use that format for the defense copy.
The director of the dissertation is the chair of the defense committee and is responsible for seeing that the requested revisions are carried through. In rare cases, the director may request a second joint meeting of the student with the committee in order to discuss the revisions made before the final version is copied and deposited. The deposit copies require the assenting signatures of the dissertation committee as well as the Director of the Program in Comparative and World Literature.