Thesis, Plan B Papers, Dissertations-Preparation and Approval
Guide for Graduate Students, available online or from the USU Campus Store, and the style manual or journal approved by the supervisory committee and/or department. These documents will guide the student in the proper preparation of his or her manuscript. Theses and dissertations may be prepared in either traditional or multiple-paper format. One article or article-manuscript may not be submitted as a thesis or dissertation.
Preparation of a thesis, Plan B paper, or dissertation is the culminating learning experience for a graduate student. The quality of the product, which should represent the student's own best work, is the responsibility of the student. Monitoring the quality of the thesis, Plan B paper, or dissertation and mentoring the student in writing are responsibilities of the major professor, with the assistance of the supervisory committee. Editing by anyone other than the major professor and the supervisory committee should be limited to mechanics, such as spelling and grammar.
Drafts of sections should be submitted periodically to the major professor for critique. Committee members should be consulted, especially on sections that involve their special expertise. Upon request, the School of Graduate Studies assistant dean (in Main 164) will review an early draft for format and style. Students may also attend a thesis workshop.
Oral Examination and Defense
The final defense should be scheduled by the student after all courses and the thesis, Plan B paper, or dissertation are completed. Changes in the membership of a supervisory committee cannot be made during the six weeks prior to the defense without a written request from the department head and approval of the graduate dean.
At least four weeks prior to the defense, the student shall give a copy of the thesis, Plan B paper, or dissertation to each member of the supervisory committee for approval or corrections. An Appointment for Examination form must be completed by the student and committee, indicating approval of the proposed time and place for the examination and defense, and submitted by the student to the School of Graduate Studies a minimum of ten working days prior to the exam.
The deadline for completing degree requirements is the last day of the semester. When the defense is scheduled during a semester break, the student must enroll for at least 3 credits the following semester.
No committee member should agree to proceed with a defense until he or she has carefully read and approved the thesis, Plan B paper, or dissertation. If any member of a committee believes that the document is not ready to be defended, he or she should notify the student and major professor and not sign the Appointment for Examination form. The defense should then be rescheduled.
The oral examination of the thesis, PlanBpaper, or dissertation is a defense of a final document. Only minor changes, usually editorial, should be required following the defense. If major changes are required, a defense of the revised document should be held.
The chairperson of the examination is appointed by the graduate dean. At the examination, the student defends his or her thesis, Plan B paper, or dissertation and answers questions about the area of specialization. The results of the defense and any additional requirements are recorded on the Record of Examination Completion form, which is submitted to the School of Graduate Studies.
All members of the supervisory committee must approve and sign the thesis, Plan B paper, or dissertation. In the event of lack of unanimity, the matter is taken to the dean of the School of Graduate Studies.
Any final examination held without following the proper procedures is invalid. Graduate students failing to complete all degree requirements within one year of a successful defense will be required to redefend. Students must register for at least 3 credits the semester of redefense.
The student is responsible for proofreading the thesis/dissertation and having it read and approved by the department before submitting a final committee-approved and signed copy to the assistant dean in the School of Graduate Studies. The assistant dean will review the paper for proper format and conformity to departmental and School of Graduate Studies standards. The assistant dean will attach a checksheet of format, stylistic, and mechanical problems and will mark examples of needed changes on the paper.
Format corrections and required rewriting must be completed before the assistant dean will submit the thesis or dissertation to the graduate dean for approval. The graduate dean examines each thesis and dissertation before approving and signing it. Any thesis or dissertation may be selected for further review by members of the faculty not on the student's supervisory committee or by expert reviewers at other institutions before being accepted by the dean.
The student may reserve a processing date for the thesis/dissertation by completing the appropriate form after the thesis/dissertation defense. The final committee-approved and signed thesis/dissertation should be submitted to the assistant dean by at least the day before the reserved processing date. If a processing date has not been reserved but the student would like to finish by the end of a semester, he or she must submit the final committee-approved and signed thesis/dissertation to the assistant dean at least seven weeks before the last day of the semester. At other times, the signed thesis/dissertation must be submitted at least four weeks prior to anticipated program completion.