Dissertation & Final Examination


The Ph.D. dissertation in Chemistry is a comprehensive report of a piece of original research done under the direction of a member of the faculty and representing not less than an academic year's work. The dissertation should include a comprehensive survey of the literature on the subject and should be written so as to be understandable without supplementary study by chemists not familiar with this special field.

Ph.D. dissertations are expected to contain new information that will be published in a reputable chemical journal, or the equivalent. All doctoral dissertations will be published electronically through ProQuest/UMI Dissertation Publishing, a comprehensive electronic service for publishing, archiving, and disseminating graduate research. Dissertation and theses will be available on DukeSpace, in addition to ProQuest, once any embargo term placed on the document by the student author has expired

A guide for the preparation of Theses and Dissertations is available at the Graduate School web address:

Final Examination

The final Ph.D. examination is given when the dissertation has been completed to the satisfaction of the research advisor and after the dissertation has received preliminary approval by the Graduate School at the format check meeting. The examining committee is usually the same as for the preliminary examination, although an appropriate faculty member from another department may replace the minor area representative if desired. In addition, a one-page abstract of the dissertation should be given to the DGS Assistant in the main office at least one week before the exam for publicity purposes. Additional arrangements for the final Ph.D. examination are described in the Appendices to this handbook.

The final Ph.D. examination is the culmination of the doctoral program, and consists of a public seminar followed by a closed examination (generally one to two hours in duration) of the candidate and the candidate's dissertation work by the Ph. D. supervisory committee. In the public seminar the candidate has the opportunity to explain the essence of his/her work to the examining committee and the public in general, and in the closed portion to defend the dissertation in more specific detail before the Ph.D. committee alone. The review and examination of the dissertation and the candidate's work is a serious task taken on by the student's committee, and careful and thorough review is expected. So that sufficient time can be had to carefully read the dissertation, it should be submitted to the examining committee no later than two weeks before the scheduled final examination; failure to do so may result in the examination having to be rescheduled, possibly to the following semester. Additional details and instructions for preparing the dissertation, for its submission, and for setting up the defense can be found at the Graduate Student web address: