The University requires that a PhD candidate be registered as a regular degree student in residence on the Boulder Campus for at least five and no more than ten dissertation credit hours each semester after passing the comprehensive examination. A student not in residence at the University may register for 3 dissertation hours and will be considered to have "off campus" status. The use of certain University facilities (e.g. the library, recreation center, etc.) is prohibited to off campus students. The candidate must accumulate thirty dissertation credits.

The dissertation is to be based upon original investigation and must demonstrate mature scholarship and critical judgment, as well as familiarity with tools and methods of research. Dissertation research and writing are directed by the candidate's advisor assisted by a second reader, chosen by the advisor and student.

Dissertation Prospectus

Prior to undertaking dissertation research, PhD students must prepare and defend a dissertation prospectus. Students should work closely with their major advisors, and other committee members if possible, in preparing the prospectus. A guideline for preparing the prospectus is available from the Graduate Secretary. Students may schedule their prospectus defense once the major advisor agrees that the prospectus is in acceptable shape. The prospectus defense is usually an hour long and must involve at least three members of the dissertation committee (including the major advisor). The purpose of the prospectus defense is to give students the chance to convene their committee, explain their project, and receive final feedback and suggestions. Students should bring a clean copy of the prospectus title page to their prospectus defense, which the major advisor and other committee members will sign as proof that the defense has successfully occurred. Students should then submit both the signed cover sheet and a clean copy of the final version of the prospectus to the Graduate Secretary, who will then submit the prospectus to the Graduate Studies Committee for final approval. Students will have six months from the time they pass their comprehensive exams to submit a dissertation prospectus.

Defense of Dissertation

Upon completing the dissertation, the candidate will undergo a final oral examination (the defense) focusing upon the dissertation and the candidate's major field of specialization. For the defense, one member of the five-member committee must be drawn from the University's graduate faculty outside the Department of History. The four departmental members shall consist of the advisor, the second reader, and faculty related to the student's major areas of study (generally those who were members of the comprehensive oral examination committee). All committee members must have current graduate faculty appointments. Three of the five members must be Boulder campus resident faculty. The chair and outside member must have tenure and/or a regular appointment. In case any of these members is unable to be present at the defense, including the advisor or second reader, the advisor may substitute faculty from related fields with the express approval of the Director of Graduate Studies.

Fireworks over LibraryThe University or outside faculty representative should be from a discipline related to the dissertation topic or the candidate's major area of study.

The second reader must be consulted by the advisor at all stages of the candidate's dissertation work. The oral defense shall not be scheduled until both readers have approved the dissertation. The advisor shall then submit to the Director of Graduate Studies the names of committee members for approval, after which the departmental office will schedule the examination and contact the committee members.

All members of the committee shall have at least thirty days prior to the oral defense to examine a complete and finished copy of the dissertation. A finished copy is defined as a legibly typed copy that is complete with bibliography, though not necessarily in polished form. Rough drafts and patched-together copies are not acceptable.

Only after full assurance that the foregoing steps have been completed shall the Director of Graduate Studies authorize the actual holding of the oral defense of the dissertation. The purpose of this oral defense is to ascertain that the dissertation is an original contribution to scholarly knowledge in the field.

The above departmental rules with respect to the Doctor of Philosophy degree supplement, but in no way supersede, the requirements of the Graduate School of the University of Colorado as set forth in the latest University Catalog.