Completing the Dissertation

Within one semester of the qualifying oral examination, students should submit a written dissertation proposal to the dissertation advisor.  (See for GSBS guidelines and required format.  Students who are not admitted to candidacy within one year of the date they pass their qualifying examinations are dismissed from the Graduate School unless the Dean grants a waiver.) Upon entering candidacy, students and their mentor must read the “Compact between Medical Humanities Graduate Students and Their Research Advisors” (see appendix V).  Both the student and his or her advisor must sign the page at the end of this compact and submit to the graduate program coordinator, who will in turn submit the form to the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences.  The advisor, supervisory committee, and student will then meet to discuss the proposal and suggest revisions before the proposal is submitted to the graduate program director, who must review and approve the proposal before it goes to the dean of the Graduate School.  When the proposal is ready to submit, the chair of the student’s dissertation committee must complete a Dissertation Proposal Review Assessment form and turn it in to the graduate program coordinator.  This form is a requirement of the SACS accreditation review of UTMB in 2008.

Once students have completed their qualifying examinations and receive approval from the Dean for their proposal, they are admitted to candidacy, beginning in the term following the approval of their dissertation proposal.

Students and mentors should note that there is a deadline date, each term, by which students must apply to the Dean for candidacy.  This date is specified in the GSBS Academic Calendar.  Failure to apply by this date sets back a student’s admittance to candidacy by an entire term.

Students will also present a ninety-minute dissertation colloquium based on the proposed dissertation research. A maximum of five years may elapse between the dean's official acceptance of the proposal and completion of the dissertation.

Graduate students may take unlimited research hours before being admitted to candidacy.  GSBS policy states, however, that “after successful completion of the written portion of the Qualifying Examination . . . students will be allowed to register for Research (6097) a maximum of three (3) terms.  Failure to be admitted to candidacy by the end of the third term after successfully completing the Qualifying Examination is grounds for dismissal from the graduate school.”

When mentor and student agree that a dissertation is ready to be reviewed by the committee, the student should plan a tentative dissertation defense date.  SIX WEEKS before the tentative defense date, the student should submit a complete draft of the dissertation.  An electronic copy of the dissertation, in Word, shall be submitted at this time to the graduate program director, who will ensure that the dissertation is checked, through the currently adopted Graduate School software, for any problems with appropriate citation of research sources.  This procedure is in accordance with GSBS Policy adopted in 2011.  FOUR WEEKS before the tentative defense date, the supervising committee–having read the entire draft–should meet with the mentor and student to develop a consensus on what work remains before the dissertation is ready to defend.  After the dissertation has been accepted by the supervisory committee, an oral defense, announced and open to all members of the UTMB community will be held.

Beginning in July 2008, each committee member must submit a completed evaluation form for the dissertation defense.  These completed forms should be turned in to the graduate program coordinator immediately after the defense.  This form is a requirement of the SACS accreditation review of UTMB in 2008.

The UTMB Health Institute for the Medical Humanities 301 University Blvd, Primary Care Pavilion Ste 2.301, Galveston TX 77555-1311 (409) 772-2376. Copyright © 2014-15 The University of Texas Medical Branch. Please review our privacy policy and Internet guidelines.