Graduate Handbook - Dissertator Status

Students apply for dissertator status by filling out the Application for Doctoral Dissertator Status on the Graduate School's Doctoral Milestones system. To be eligible for dissertator status, doctoral students must have:

  • passed their preliminary exam and satisfied the second language requirement
  • fulfilled the residence requirement
  • achieved a 3.0 GPA in the doctoral program (Teaching Assistants must maintain a 3.33 GPA to remain eligible for the TA. (See 'Teaching Assistantships') )
  • cleared any incompletes
  • submitted either a brief summary of the dissertation topic to the Graduate School or have an approved Dissertation Proposal Hearing form on file there (see Dissertation)

A student should complete the Application for Doctoral Dissertator Status within three weeks of the beginning of a semester to be considered for dissertator status for that semester. Students with a Teaching Assistantship, Project Assistantship, or Research Assistantship appointment must attain Dissertator status before the start of the semester in order for pay increases to be effective for that semester. Consult the Graduate Studies Office for information on deadlines established by Human Resources for this purpose.

Once students attain dissertator status, continuous registration must be maintained. Students must register for three research/dissertator credits, i.e. English 990, each semester until the doctoral dissertation is completed, defended and filed with the Graduate School. During Fall and Spring semesters, dissertators must be enrolled for 3 graduate-level dissertation or research credits at the current per-credit dissertator rate. During any summers in which dissertators use University facilities or faculty time, are a fellow or research assistant, or plan to graduate, the dissertator must register for 3 graduate-level credits at the current per-credit dissertator rate in the regular eight week summer session. 3 is the minimum and maximum number of credits required per semester.

The Graduate School will monitor the dissertator's registration every semester to be sure continuous and proper registration is maintained. The Graduate School has the authority to remove from dissertator status any student not in compliance with dissertator regulations. The Graduate School will notify the student and the student's program unit of dissertator status requirements and of any registration problems. If continuous registration is not maintained, the dissertator will be placed in a default status.

If the dissertator is placed in default status, the Graduate School will assess a Doctoral Dissertation Degree Completion Fee equal to 12 times the current per credit dissertator fee/tuition rate. The fee is assessed by the Graduate School at the time the dissertation is submitted to the Graduate School.

The completion fee is based on the student's resident or non-resident status during the last term of registration. If the dissertator fails to register and then re-enters and registers for fewer than four continuous terms before completion, the dissertator must pay the 12-credit fee minus all continuous registration credits paid since the time of re-entry. If the dissertator fails to register and then re-enters and registers for at least four continuous semesters, a completion fee is not assessed.

Dissertators must sign up for three credits of English 990 (Research in English) and not English 888 (Candidate for Degree) or 999 (Independent Reading for Ph.D. Candidates).

Dissertators who wish to take a graduate course instead of dissertator credits may request an exception from the Graduate School. Interested students should contact the Graduate School Doctoral Specialist for further information about this option and the cost.