The dissertation must be a scholarly work which makes a substantial contribution to professional knowledge and practice. It should encompass the skills and knowledge that participants have gained from their course work, readings, discussions, and review of the extant literature. Most often, a contribution to knowledge is best made after developing a thorough understanding of an instructional issue or practice as a result of reading the relevant research literature available, then posing a question to which the answer is not yet known. The candidate should have a passion to understand the issue or practice and to increase others' understanding of it through his or her research.
As a first step, students should select a Committee Chair. This is typically accomplished by presenting or discussing proposed dissertation research interests with a selected faculty member and making a mutual decision to work together. The Committee Chair will act as the main guide and mentor for the dissertation process. It is expected that the student will select a Committee Chair before approaching other prospective committee members.
Dissertation committees will be comprised of no fewer than three members and no more than five. The dissertation committee will be determined by mutual decision of the student and the Committee Chair, with the approval of the Program Director. Prospective committee members must possess earned terminal degrees in education, technology, or related disciplines. Committees must include at least one department (DILE) faculty member and at least one of the other committee members must be a full-time member of the Duquesne University School of Education faculty. A relevant and appropriately credentialed practitioner may also be added as the fourth or fifth member with the approval of the Committee Chair. Non-doctoral level individuals cannot serve on a dissertation committee or sign a dissertation; however, they can be a reader.
The dissertation guidelines provide a basic overview of the contents of a dissertation. The School of Education site also provides more comprehensive research and dissertation information including forms, templates, and other helpful resources.
The dissertation committee will evaluate the document presented by the student that represents the completed dissertation. The dissertation must be prepared in accordance with policies and procedures indicated in the dissertation guidelines and by the School of Education. The student must pay all graduation fees, notify the registrar of intent to graduate, schedule a dissertation defense, obtain faculty signatures, and meet deadlines for submission of drafts and final manuscript. The School of Education Dissertation Timeline for Graduation provides important dissertation deadlines required for graduation each semester. The student is required to submit at least one hardbound copy of the dissertation to the program office, at their expense. Hard copies can be acquired through UMI/Proquest. Students can request hard copies when they submit electronically.