Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership Policies:

7.1 Dissertation Enrollment

APPROVED: DSC 10/14/04; DTF 3/04/05; DTF 4/08/09


A student must earn a minimum of 24 semester hours of dissertation credit at the University of North Florida . The dissertation is a supervised, original research project, carried out independently by the student with oversight and guidance provided by the candidate's designated chairperson and faculty committee.


A student may enroll for dissertation credit in the semester in which he or she expects to be admitted to candidacy. However, if the student is not advanced to candidacy during the term of concurrent enrollment for dissertation credits, the dissertation credits may not count toward the minimum required for the doctoral degree.


A student enrolled in dissertation credit is required to participate in a three credit hour seminar in one of the first two semesters of dissertation enrollment. The regularly scheduled research design seminar is conducted by the doctoral faculty. The candidate's committee chair may request that the seminar attendance requirement be waived. This waiver is recommended for students who have substantially completed their proposals and are planning the proposal defense.


 Once enrollment in dissertation credits is initiated, continuous registration for at least three semester hours each term (fall and spring) is required until the dissertation has been approved. Enrollment during the summer term is optional. With the support of the dissertation chair and the approval of the program director, students may be permitted to register for one credit hour of dissertation for a limited number of semesters.


A student who has not defended a dissertation proposal after completing nine semester hours of dissertation credit will not be allowed to register for additional dissertation hours until the chair of the student's dissertation committee recommends continuance and specifies the conditions for continuance.


A student must be enrolled for a minimum of three dissertation credits during the term in which she or he successfully defends the dissertation proposal and the dissertation.

7.2 Dissertation Committee

APPROVED: DSC 12/08/03; DTF 3/04/04; DTF 4/08/09


Selection of the Dissertation Committee is the joint responsibility of the student and faculty research mentor. The Dissertation Committee is composed of a minimum of four members of the UNF graduate faculty.


The overall committee consists of a minimum of four faculty members. Each committee will begin with a minimum of three members. The fourth member must be added prior to the defense of the dissertation. Normally, the committee will consist of 1) A Chair, who must hold chair status; 2) Two additional members of the Graduate Faculty who may or may not hold chair status; 3) A fourth member of the dissertation committee must be a UNF graduate faculty member from outside the College of Education and Human Services.

APPROVED: DSC 12/08/03; DTF 3/04/04; DTF 4/08/09


One member of each committee must be a faculty member with an academic appointment in the Educational Leadership Program


At the discretion of the Chair in consultation with the student, one of committee members may serve as Co-Chair.


At the discretion of the Chair, the committee may include a fifth member who will serve as the Clinical Committee Member. The fifth member will serve as a resource and may assist in the review of the dissertation document and participate in the formal defense of the dissertation. Students are encouraged to select a fifth member of the committee who is a qualified practicing leader outside the University.

7.3 Dissertation Proposal

APPROVED: DSC 12/08/03; DTF 3/04/04


Recommended procedures for dissertation proposal development are attached in Appendix C.


The dissertation proposal must be approved unanimously by the primary (three-member) dissertation committee and will generally be defended in a formal meeting of the committee. If the fourth member of the dissertation committee has been selected prior to the proposal defense, then the full four member dissertation committee shall approve the proposal. The dissertation committee chair must secure a copy of the Dissertation Proposal Signature Page from the Departmental Office before the proposal defense. Once the dissertation proposal is acceptable to the committee, the chair must secure signature from each committee member. The completed Signature Page with original signatures must be attached to a copy of the approved proposal and filed with the Doctoral Program Director. The chair should make copies of the signature page for the Chair and for their personal files.


 If human subjects are involved in the proposed research, a Request for Review by Institutional Board for the Protection of Human Subjects must be completed. This form and instructions for its completion are available on the webpage of the University's Office of Research and Sponsored Programs. The doctoral candidate should sign the request and submit it to the Dissertation Committee Chair for signature. The Doctoral Program Director acting as the Department Chairperson should also sign before submitting to the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs for transmittal to the Institutional Review Board (IRB) for approval.

7.4 Dissertation Completion


Generally, the doctoral candidate will work with the chairperson to complete the study and will consult other committee members as needed. It is the student's responsibility to keep the chairperson apprised of the progress of the work. A schedule of regular contact between student and chairperson should be maintained.


The doctoral candidate is responsible for obtaining current information regarding dissertation preparation and binding from the Carpenter Library prior to final formatting of the document. The doctoral candidate is also responsible for ensuring that the dissertation is prepared in accordance with style guidelines of the American Psychology Association (5th edition, 2001) and the APA guidelines for electronic references (2007).

7.5 Dissertation Defense and Approvals


When the student and chairperson determine that the dissertation has reached the final draft stage, the candidate must distribute copies to all committee members for review and comment.


The dissertation defense must be completed prior to the deadline established for the term in which the candidate intends to graduate. This deadline is generally not later than one month before the graduation date. The dissertation defense should not be scheduled until the committee chair has determined that the dissertation is complete and accurate. When approval is secured it is the responsibility of the candidate to schedule the defense. The defense must be announced to the university community and scheduled in a manner that permits interested observers to attend The defense is generally scheduled with the Doctoral Program Department at least two weeks prior the date on which it will occur. The deadline for dissertation processing is found on The Graduate School website.


The dissertation must be approved unanimously by the dissertation committee. The committee's approval of the dissertation will be indicated by completion of the approval form included in the dissertation itself.


Once the committee has approved the dissertation and the candidate has made final corrections in the document, the dissertation will be forwarded for approval to the Doctoral Program Director, the Department Chair, the Dean of the College of Education and Human Services, and the Dean of the Graduate School for the University of North Florida . Additional document corrections and clarifications may be requested of the candidate in this approval process.

7.6 Filing the Dissertation

When the signatures in 7.5.4 have been obtained, the department will notify the candidate, who is responsible for retrieving the document from the department office, preparing the required number of finished copies on bond paper, filing the completed dissertation with Carpenter Library, and filing an application for ProQuest/UMI publication with the Graduate School .


APPROVED: DSC 12/08/03; DTF 3/04/04; DTF 4/08/09

7.7 Graduate Certification

The award of degree is not complete until the Graduate Dean has approved the document, so that the department chair may certify graduation. There is a published deadline each semester for securing approval of the Graduate Dean. Failure to meet this deadline may result in a change in the official date of the award of the degree. The deadlines are established in each academic year and generally fall in the second week immediately following commencement. A procedural guide for the filing process is available on the Web page of the Graduate School . Library requirements may be found at the following URL: Students should review both sets of requirements carefully.


REVISED: DTF 4/08/09