Formal Requirements

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The Doctoral Dissertation

1. The Doctoral Dissertation is expected to be an original empirical study, representing an independent research effort on the part of the student.

2. All research that involves experimental animals must be submitted to and approved by the Rutgers Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) prior to the collection of any data.

3. A formal proposal for the dissertation research must be presented to and approved by the student’s committee. A formal meeting of the dissertation committee is required for approval of the proposal, and all members of the committee must approve a written proposal.

4. Procedures and Regulations governing the Doctoral Dissertation:

  1. Ph.D. Dissertation Committee
    1. Complete the Dissertation Committee Form. This form may be obtained from the Graduate Administrator of the Psychology Department. The completion of the form includes the concurrence and signature (to indicate that concurrence) of the Area Coordinator. You will be notified of the approval of your Committee by the Graduate Director. The form is then filed in the Office of the Vice Chair for Graduate Studies.
    2. The Committee consists of four members: A chairperson who must be a member of the Graduate Faculty and two persons who may be either members or associate members of the Graduate Faculty. If less than two members of the committee are Psychology Department faculty, the chair must write a memo explaining why departmental faculty are not appropriate, and why selected committee members are appropriate. The fourth member of the Committee must be an "outside" member, defined as: a member or associate member of the Graduate Faculty in a program other than Psychology, or a qualified person from outside Rutgers University. In this case, approval must be obtained from the Graduate Director. Your Committee Chairperson must furnish a paragraph describing the qualification of the outside member, along with a vita and mailing address of the individual.
  2. Final Examination
    1. It is your responsibility to make sure you have completed the Area course requirements and that you have 48 course credits and 24 research credits for the Ph.D. degree.
    2. The date for the final defense must be cleared with the Behavioral Neuroscience Area Coordinator. Since dissertation orals are public, the Graduate Psychology Office must be notified at least 2 weeks before the scheduled orals (date, time, place, and title of dissertation) so that notices can be sent to faculty and students.
    3. Normally, the final draft of the Doctoral Dissertation is prepared by the student with the guidance of his/her advisor and then submitted to the remaining doctoral committee members at least three weeks prior to the date of the final defense. Students are allowed one retake of the doctoral defense. The Graduate School allows one dissenting vote on the doctoral defense.
    4. A booklet entitled "Thesis Form: Style Guide for Thesis Preparation" is available from the Graduate Administrator of the Psychology Department. You are also required to submit an abstract not exceeding 350 words.
    5. Obtain candidacy application from the Graduate School office (on which results of the Qualifying Examination were recorded). Submit to the Chairperson of your Committee. The Chairperson will record the results by signing Part II, A or B. It is then your responsibility to have it signed properly by your Committee.
    6. Return to the Graduate Administrator for processing prior to obtaining the Graduate Director's signature. Completed forms must be filed with the Graduate School office no later than three weeks before commencement (no later than announced deadlines for October and January).
    7. Two copies of the dissertation are required--one copy (original on 100% cotton paper) to the Graduate School, and one copy to the Psychology Department. Five copies of the title page are requested, plus three copies of the Abstract. It is necessary to bring the dissertation (along with the candidacy form) to the Graduate Psychology Office for approval before submitting it to the Graduate School.