Each candidate for the doctoral degree is required to prepare and defend a Dissertation. The dissertation is a scholarly project that represents the results of original and significant research written in a literate manner, worthy of publication. The candidate must demonstrate the ability to conceive, design, conduct and interpret independent, original and creative research. The Dissertation is the culmination of the doctoral program.


After successful completion of the practicum and internship, students will:

  1. Register for either COUC 870 or COUC 871 [Advanced Quantitative or Qualitative Research Seminar (three hours)].
  2. Form their Dissertation Committee.
    • The student’s Dissertation Chair will guide him or her through the Candidacy Examination and research process.
    • The committee chair and other members must be from the graduate program department of the CCFS.
  3. Register for COUC 989 [Dissertation Proposal and Research (three hours)]
    • Continue to enroll for three credit hours of COUC 989 until their chair determines that they are ready to defend the dissertation (at least two terms).
    • International students who need to maintain 6 hours may take up to 6 dissertation hours per semester.
  4. When the chair gives permission to do so, the student will register for three credit hours of COUC 990 Dissertation Defense.
    • Any student who does not finish his/her dissertation using the designated credit hours (six), however, will need to register for COUC 989 until the chair of the committee has approved that the dissertation is ready to be defended.
    • Students must continually be registered during the doctoral dissertation process.
    • Failure to maintain continual enrollment could result in dismissal from the program.

Dissertation Defense

Students will be required to orally defend their dissertation proposal and their final project. The final oral dissertation defense is primarily an opportunity to share the research and address questions and challenges about the research.


  • All doctoral committee members have had an adequate opportunity to review the final draft of the doctoral dissertation and approve of moving forward with the defense.
  • Open to the public
  • Held on campus
  • Scheduled a minimum of one month following approval