Doctor of Philosophy in Health Science

Dissertation Process

The dissertation experience will start with the Ph.D. Dissertation Seminar (included in the overall 12 credits for dissertation, completed within the first semester of dissertation registration, delivery is web-based). The content of the dissertation seminar focuses on formulating research questions and writing the concept paper and later on the proposal. The committee chair and member roles are discussed as well as the IRB process.

The dissertation is scheduled as 6 courses over 2 years. For any additional semester after the initial 6 courses, students will register for a dissertation continuation course with a continuing service charge to maintain the students’ full time enrollment.

Appoint a Chairperson

The Dissertation Chair will be a faculty member at NSU with full time or part time appointment at the Health Professions Division, and will have published in scholarly journals within the past six years. With input from the program director, the student must select a dissertation committee chairperson with approval from the Dean of the College of Health Care Sciences prior to initiating the dissertation proposal process. This occurs following successful completion of the comprehensive exam, a non-credit measurement of the student's preparedness for undertaking the project.

The dissertation committee chairperson shall hold an earned doctorate of philosophy (Ph.D.) in health science or a related discipline. This individual possesses expertise in the student's area of interest. The chairperson will act as the student's primary advisor and advocate throughout the dissertation process. All communications with the committee should be directed through the committee chair unless otherwise specified by the committee chair.

Form a Dissertation Committee

The dissertation committee will consist of three members, including the chairperson. All members must hold earned doctoral degrees, culminating in the completion of a formal dissertation and have expertise in the student's area of interest. Two committee members must be faculty from NSU. The list of committee members must be filed with the Department of Health Science at NSU. All committee members must be approved by the Dean of the College of Health Care Sciences.

Proposal Hearing

Upon completion of proposal for dissertation, the candidate will defend his/her proposal before the entire dissertation committee and department chair in person, via teleconference or via chat room technology. The dissertation committee will then deliberate using the faculty/student research center private discussion boards or emails. Feedback will be given to the students via the student/faculty research center email.

The candidate must receive written approval of the proposal from the dissertation committee chair and the NSU Institutional Review Board before undertaking the research phase of the dissertation. Upon written approval, the candidate may progress in to the research and dissertation phase. The candidate will continue to register for Dissertation Advisement until the dissertation document has been fully approved and accepted by the Dissertation Committee and the document has been successfully defended in the open dissertation defense. The successfully completed dissertation is a 12-credit award.

Dissertation Defense

Upon approval of the Dissertation Chair, the Ph.D. student will defend the dissertation in person before the dissertation committee and the university community. The Chair will notify the Vice President for Academic Affairs of the upcoming defense so it can be announced to the university community. The candidate must submit to all committee members a completed dissertation four weeks prior to the scheduled oral defense of the dissertation. Students must submit the request for Dissertation Defense along with their dissertation document. A dissertation will not be considered approved until all members of the committee are satisfied that all portions of the dissertation have been accomplished in accordance with the requirements for dissertation content as well as acknowledging a successful defense.

The defense will include a summary of the proposal, a thorough description of the results of the dissertation research and the implications of the findings. After the defense, the committee will deliberate. Any feedback will be given to the student by the Chair on the same day as the defense.

Upon approval by the committee, the Chair for the Department of Health Science will review and approve the dissertation. Candidates must adhere to all dissertation guidelines as established by the Department of Health Science.

After 4 semesters, students will be charged 1 credit hour continuing service fee until the 7th year after matriculation into the Ph.D. program.

Approval of Final Dissertation

The final dissertation will include the revised proposal, a results section, a discussion section and a signature page with approval signatures of all dissertation committee members obtained by the graduate student.

The final approved dissertation will be bound according to the guidelines set forth by the Vice President of Academic Affairs and will be submitted by the student for publication in University Microfilms Inc. Dissertation Publishing. A copy of the dissertation will be distributed to the Dean of the College of Allied Health and Nursing, the Chair of the dissertation committee and the University Library.

The 12 credits for dissertation will be awarded upon completion of all dissertation requirements including successful defense and dissemination. There will be no partial credit awarded for completion of the preparation seminar, concept paper or proposal.