Dissertation Evaluation

The committee must decide on one of three possible assessments: Pass, Incomplete, and Fail. The evaluation of the committee is recorded on a standard form and reported to the Department and the Academic Dean.


The dissertation is deemed acceptable subject to minor revisions. Supervised by his/her sponsor, the candidate corrects the dissertation in light of the committee’s comments. Upon completion of the required revisions, the candidate is recommended for the degree. All revisions should be completed and the final dissertation deposited no later than six months from the date of the dissertation defense.

A unanimous vote or a vote with only one dissent in a lower grade constitutes a pass. In case of a split vote, the voting sheet and dissertation are submitted to the director of doctoral studies and the Academic Dean for review and final decision.


The dissertation is deemed acceptable subject to major revisions. All revisions must be completed no sooner than three months and no later than one year from the date of the dissertation defense. Upon completion and acceptance of the required revision, the defense is considered successful.

Under this scenario, the committee chair shall delegate responsibility for the outcome of the revision to a subcommittee of from one to three members of the original committee. When completed, the major revisions must be submitted to each of the members of the revision subcommittee. If and when each member states in writing that the new text is satisfactory, letters are sent to the Academic Dean’s office to change the vote record from “Incomplete” to “Pass.”


The dissertation is deemed unacceptable and the candidate is not recommended for the degree.


The following guidelines concerning the question of the distinction should be followed in assessing the dissertation:

If the dissertation is deemed to have passed, the committee then votes on the question of distinction. The vote is by secret ballot and the decision to award “with distinction” on the degree must be unanimous. If an award of distinction is voted, a member of the examining committee other than the sponsor must prepare a letter to the Academic Dean outlining the qualities of the dissertation that merit the award of distinction. While there is no exact quota for the number of dissertations awarded with distinction, the standard of merit should be such that no more than ten percent of the dissertations receive such distinction. A student whose degree is awarded “with distinction” shall be annotated on the student’s permanent transcript and the commencement program. For more information please see the Student Handbook.