Doctoral Closure Guidelines

A Doctorate of Public Administration degree will be awarded to students who have satisfactorily completed the dissertation closure requirements prescribed by the Public Administration program.

Entry into closure will occur after the student has passed qualifying exams, completed all course work, and complied with any other programmatic requirements, thereby permitting the student to enter the proposal and dissertation phases of study.  Students must be continuously enrolled from this point forward.  Generally, this is accomplished by enrolling in dissertation hours.

Dissertation closure exercises shall carry a minimum of 12 semester hours of credit. The dissertation closure exercises must include a written component prepared in accordance with the effective formatting and style guidelines of the Office of Graduate Education. Formatting and style guidelines are developed by the Associate Vice Chancellor for Graduate Education in consultation with the UIS Graduate Council and the Dean of the Library, or their designees. Upon final approval, a hard copy of the dissertation shall be housed in University Archives. An electronic copy may be submitted and made available through an approved online repository in accordance with UIS procedures and exceptions for restricting availability to external parties.

The dissertation closure exercises must also have an oral component in defense of the written component.

Approval by the dissertation committee members shall indicate passing of the dissertation closure exercises. The committee determination on substantive quality and acceptability of the dissertation is final. The student may appeal a negative committee decision based only on procedural issues. The appeal is made to the Dean of Public Affairs and Administration.

Dissertation Committee

All dissertation closure exercises must be approved by a Dissertation Closure Committee that will consist of at least three full-time (at the time the committee is constituted) faculty. The three faculty members shall meet the criteria of graduate faculty within the College of Public Affairs and Administration and include the student’s dissertation advisor and two or more additional faculty members. One of the faculty members must be appointed by the Dean of the College of Public Affairs and Administration after consultation with the closure advisor. (The dean’s representative shall serve the primary purpose of ensuring that the closure process is maintained. In addition, the dean’s representative may serve to provide additional disciplinary expertise important to the advising and review of the student’s dissertation.) In consultation with the dissertation advisor, a student may request additional committee members from within or outside the university representing disciplinary expertise important to advising the student on dissertation research.

Membership in the Dissertation Committee shall be for the entire dissertation process. A faculty committee member may become emeritus, move into an administrative position, or leave employment of the university and retain membership on the committee with the approval of the DPA program and the Dean of the College of Public Affairs and Administration. It is recognized that there may be circumstances meriting changes in the Dissertation Committee. Requested membership changes shall be made in writing to the DPA Director. Final committee membership and/or changes in membership shall be approved by the CPAA Dean.

Dissertation Closure Approval Forms

The Dissertation Closure Approval Form documents that the dissertation has been successfully completed by the student. The Closure Committee appropriate to the dissertation closure shall be documented on the Dissertation Closure Approval Form. Collectively, the committee members shall determine the quality of the dissertation and determine whether the dissertation has been satisfactorily completed.

Signatures required include:

  • Dissertation work – The Dissertation Closure Committee is constituted to approve the dissertation closure exercise in both its initial developmental stage and in its final form. The developmental work must be approved in writing by the Dissertation Closure Committee which shall meet prior to action. When all elements of the dissertation closure exercise have been satisfactorily completed, each member of the committee shall sign the Dissertation Closure Approval Form which is attached to the written portion of the closure exercise and submitted for archiving.

  • The committee-signed Dissertation Closure Approval Form shall then be processed administratively through the DPA Director who verifies that the form is completed accurately.

  • The written dissertation, along with the Dissertation Closure Approval Form signed by the committee and the DPA Director, shall then be sent to the College of Public Affairs and Administration Dean’s Office. Once that review is complete, the documents are sent to the Associate Vice Chancellor for Graduate Education, or designee, for final review of compliance with university dissertation copy standards. The dissertation is then sent to University Archives, and a copy of the Dissertation Closure Approval Form is forwarded to the UIS Office of Records and Registration for final processing.

Doctoral Closure and Continuous Enrollment Requirement

Doctoral degree candidates are required to complete a dissertation closure exercise.

UIS has a continuous enrollment policy which states that once the student begins a dissertation closure exercise, the student must continue to enroll in the closure exercise each fall and spring semester until the exercise is complete, including semesters in which the student “stops out” of other courses. Enrollment in the summer semester is not required unless mandated by the student’s academic program. If the student does not finish the dissertation closure exercise during the number of hours set forth by the student's program, the student will be required to enroll in the program's continuous enrollment course in all subsequent semesters (excluding summer) until the exercise is complete.  If a leave of absence is granted for a current or future semester, the student will be exempt from this requirement for that semester. Failure to obtain a leave of absence will, in most cases, require retroactive registration in the dissertation closure exercise (or continuous enrollment course) for each semester in which the student was out of compliance.