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VI. Thesis/Dissertation Defense and Final Oral Examination

The Master’s thesis or Ph.D. dissertation must be prepared in accordance with the specifications described in The Graduate School Guide to the Preparation of Master's Thesis and Doctoral Dissertations, which is available from the MSU Graduate School Office and at http://grad.msu.edu/format.htm. This guide should be consulted during preparation. The Graduate School also provides a package of material including a Ph.D. checklist, an application for graduation, and information on distribution of the dissertation, microfilming fee, and copyrighting. More information can be found on the web at http://grad.msu.edu/graduation.htm.

Each EEBB student should consult his or her home department about the requirements and expectations for submitting drafts of the student’s thesis or dissertation to the major professor and the guidance committee. As discussed in Section III.A.9, graduate students will benefit by writing portions of their thesis or dissertation along the way, as parts of their research are completed, rather than leaving all writing to the end. These written components should be shared with the major professor, then discussed and revised as needed. Most major professors will want to read, and will suggest one or more rounds of revision to the various chapters of a thesis or dissertation, prior to their distribution to the guidance committee as a whole. The student must allow ample time for review of the thesis or dissertation by the major professor and guidance committee prior to the final oral presentation and examination.

The requirements and expectations for the public presentation of research and final exam are set by the EEBB student’s home department, and consistent with requirements of the MSU Graduate School. All EEBB students should submit an announcement to the EEBB Program Office giving the time, location, title of their thesis or dissertation presentation, home department, major professor, and guidance committee members at least one week prior to its scheduled time. EEBB Program faculty and graduate students are encouraged to attend these presentations.

Graduate students must be registered for at least one credit during the semester in which the final examination is taken. Students should consult the University Calendar in the MSU Schedule of Courses and Academic Handbook for relevant deadlines the semester before graduation is anticipated.

All doctoral dissertations submitted to the Graduate School Office must be microfilmed. MSU subscribes to a service whereby one microfilm copy will be deposited in the MSU Library and made available for interlibrary loan. The abstract will also be published in Dissertation Abstracts, which will announce the availability of the dissertation in film form. The microfilming and binding fees must be paid by doctoral students submitting dissertations. An extra fee will be charged if the dissertation is to be copyrighted. Microfilming is considered by the University to be a form of publication. Publication by microfilm, however, does not preclude the printing of the dissertation in whole or in part in a journal or monograph.

ProQuest also offers an optional publishing agreement for theses and dissertations that provides “Open Access” as an alternative to traditional publishing options. Any student considering this option must consider the pros and cons carefully, and should discuss the issues with his or her graduate advisor. If a student chooses the Open Access option, then he or she authorizes ProQuest to make an electronic version of the thesis or dissertation accessible to all via the internet, including accessibility to the work via search engines. Commercial retailers might even copy and sell the document, in which case a student selecting the Open Access option will not be eligible to receive royalties. A student who chooses to publish a thesis or dissertation in this manner must also ensure that Open Access publishing does not violate copyright agreements on any portions of the thesis or dissertation that have already been published, are in press, that have been submitted for publication, or that the student may wish to publish elsewhere in the future. For more information visit http://proquest.com/products_umi/dissertations/epoa.shtml. Again, any student interested in exploring this option should discuss it fully with his or her advisor.