Announcing New Dissertation Clearance Procedure
Over the last two years, the Dissertation/Doctoral Project Format Task Force has been working on a set of university-wide guidelines for the format of dissertations and doctoral projects, as well as a single, streamlined process for submitting the dissertation or doctoral project for acceptance by the university once the doctoral committee has approved the student’s final, successfully-defended document. The resulting Alliant International University Dissertation/Doctoral Project Style and Format Manual was approved by the Faculty Senate and the Academic Council in April, 2014.
Dissertations and doctoral projects submitted after September 17, 2014, must conform to these guidelines. For dissertations and doctoral projects submitted to the library between June 8 and Sept. 17, the student and the student’s committee may choose to follow EITHER the new guidelines or the existing program guidelines.
What is different about these guidelines from what we are currently doing?
Currently each program has its own format guidelines, set of forms students must complete, etc. This process creates a single university-wide format, so that all Alliant dissertations and doctoral projects will have a common “look and feel.”
The university also will now require only one form in order to submit the final dissertation or doctoral project to the library. The student and committee complete this form after the student successfully defends the dissertation and makes all required revisions.
The format and guidelines for the document are very similar to those of most programs in the university, but everyone is likely to notice some differences (many minor) from what they are currently doing. Here are the most important features to note about the guidelines:
- APA Style throughout (with minor exceptions)
- Standard front matter
- No signatures on title page
- All electronic submission; students not required to submit copy for binding
- 1” left margin (because no binding required)
- No binding fee
- Student submits a single form signed by committee and PD with the electronic dissertation after successful defense and after committee has formally approved any required revisions of the document
I am planning on turning in my dissertation so I can graduate this spring. Does this affect me?
No. Use your current program guidelines with regard to format.
The library will only require one form when the student submits the dissertation. What about all the other forms we currently use?
Many programs have their own forms that faculty sign as the student progresses through the doctoral process (e.g., a form indicating the student has successfully defended, etc.). These are program-specific forms and should be retained by the program to document that the student has successfully completed the program requirements for the dissertation or doctoral project. The library staff will not collect these forms.
Where can I find the new guidelines and forms?
They are located on this site.
Our program already has a manual or set of guidelines that covers the dissertation process. Is our manual now irrelevant?
Most program manuals cover the entire dissertation process – not just dissertation format and style. Most of the program manual is likely to still be applicable.
I can’t find material on how to cite references, create tables, etc., in this manual. HELP!
As indicated in the Alliant manual, dissertations and doctoral projects should use the style guidelines provided in the current version of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (current version: 6th edition, American Psychological Association, 2009). You will find this information in the APA Publication Manual. The Alliant manual focuses principally on parts of the dissertation/doctoral project document that the APA Publication Manual does not address.
My program manual says something different about the format of the dissertation than these guidelines. Which do I follow?
Over the summer, you may choose to follow your program style guidelines or the new university-wide guidelines. After Sept. 17, you must follow the university guidelines.
You may not mix and match guidelines over the summer—follow EITHER the your current guidelines (which requires a binding fee) OR the new ones (no binding fee).
I’m a PD. Does this mean our program guidelines should be revised?
For most programs, yes. The format and final clearance sections should be revised as needed to be consistent with the university guidelines.
I’m a PD and see that I now have to sign the final clearance form. Does this mean I have to read all the dissertations in my program?
Not unless this is already required as part of your program’s quality control process. Your signature means that the student has completed all program requirements for the dissertation (e.g., has held a successful defense, has submitted departmental forms related to the dissertation, has submitted any supplemental material the program requires for the dissertation [e.g., documentation of IRB approval]).
Do the new guidelines require that documents be reviewed by a professional editor?
No. The new guidelines do not stipulate HOW a student should ensure that the dissertation is formatted appropriately. They only state that the student is responsible for producing a document that is formatted correctly and that faculty are responsible for checking that the format is correct before they approve the final document.
Do the new guidelines cover what should be included in a dissertation or doctoral project, who can chair a project, etc.?
The new guidelines do not cover either: (a) matters related to the competencies assessed by the dissertation/doctoral project, (b) the specific content of the dissertation or doctoral project; (c) the process by which the faculty and program assess whether the dissertation or project meets the quality requirements of the program. Those decisions are part of the academic program and can differ depending on the program, field, degree, etc.
The new process is all-electronic. What about getting a bound copy?
Students are free to arrange binding for themselves, at their own expense, if they wish to have bound copies of their document. The university will no longer require a copy for binding.
Is there still a dissertation fee?
Students who follow the new format guidelines and process will not have to pay a dissertation fee. The fee covered binding, which is being discontinued.
What about the dissertation/doctoral project proposal process?
This manual only covers the dissertation/doctoral project format and the final university clearance processes. The academic program determines the procedures students should follow in proposing their projects.
INFORMATIONAL MEETING WITH A.A.S DEPARTMENT
STEP 1. After successfully defending the dissertation/doctoral project and completing any required revisions, the student contacts Academic and Administrative Support Services (or another relevant program official) to review any questions about the program and university requirements for completing the dissertation/doctoral project clearance process.
POST-DEFENSE INFORMATIONAL MEETING WITH LIBRARY
STEP 2. After (a) successfully defending the work, (b) completing all post-defense revisions required by the committee, (c) ensuring the proper formatting of the manuscript, and (d) obtaining chair and committee member approval of the revised document in writing on ‘Library Dissertation/Doctoral Project Clearance Form’ (and any forms required by the department or program), the student contacts the Library Dissertation Clearance Representative (DCR) to schedule a preclearance meeting. This meeting may take place in person or by telephone. Library staff request that appointments be scheduled at least seven business days in advance.
The student meets with the Library DCR. The student arrives with (or has emailed or faxed):
- Signed ‘Library Dissertation/Doctoral Project Clearance Form’ (scanned copies are acceptable)
- Completed Alliant Library Dissertation/Doctoral Project Cataloging Form
Note that ‘Section 1’ of the Library Dissertation/Doctoral Project Clearance Form’ must be signed by the dissertation/doctoral project committee and the Program Director after all final edits have been made and approved. Committee signatures on this form indicate that the student has successfully defended the dissertation and that the final written dissertation/doctoral project as submitted to the library is acceptable in content and format. The Program Director signature indicates that the student has successfully completed all program requirements related to the dissertation (e.g., submitted departmental forms or any supplemental documentation the program requires for the dissertation/doctoral project).
During this meeting, the DCR verifies that the ‘Library Dissertation/Doctoral Project Clearance Form’ has been signed by the dissertation/doctoral project committee and the Program Director. If the form is not signed, the student is ineligible for final library clearance. Scanned or faxed copies of original signatures are acceptable.
FINAL CLEARANCE WITH LIBRARY
STEP 3. Student uploads the manuscript to UMI/ProQuest for initial review. ProQuest automatically notifies the library that this has been done.
STEP 4. The DCR verifies that the manuscript has been uploaded. The DCR reviews the formatting of the manuscript and provides feedback/comments if the document does not meet requirements for submission. The DCR e-mails a copy of the feedback to the student and the Chairperson.
The DCR will ordinarily complete this review within three business days of receipt of information from ProQuest that the manuscript has been uploaded. If this three-day period must be extended due to unusual circumstances, the DCR will notify the student about when he or she can expect feedback.
The student repeats this process until the document is acceptable. Allow three business days for review of any revised, reuploaded version of the manuscript. The time frame for completing the entire clearance process will vary depending on the time of year (e.g., allow more time as graduation or other due dates approach), the extensiveness of problems, responsiveness of the student to initial feedback from the DCR, etc.
STEP 5. The DCR officially verifies that the electronic version has been uploaded to ProQuest and cleared as acceptable. Library DCR completes ‘Section 3’ of the Library Dissertation/Doctoral Clearance Form and sends the form to the Registrar, retains a copy, and e-mails a copy to the student, the dissertation chair, the Academic Affairs Staff member associated with the Program, and the student’s Program Director.
STEP 6. The Library DCR approves and delivers the electronic copy of manuscript to UMI/ProQuest.
Who to Contact for Help
Additional Personal Copies of your Dissertation
Want additional personal copies of your dissertation?
- You can purchase bound copies through ProQuest/UMI (University Microfilms). Note that this copy will not have signatures on the signature/approval page.
- You can make copies on any paper of your choice and find a local bindery to do the binding.
- Alliant Campuses use the following binderies. If you want your copy to look like the one in the library collection, you can use your campuses bindery. You must work with them separately from Alliant. We do not request copies on your behalf:
FRESNO & SACRAMENTO:
Valley Library Bindery
1203 E Divisadero St Fresno, CA 93721
(They can work with you by mail and accept electronic files that include the signed approval/signature page.)
Golden Rule Bindery
242 Bingham Dr. #101, San Marcos, CA 92069