Learning Goals of the Dissertation: In the Economics Program the dissertation stage assesses students’ written and oral communication skills, the depth of their knowledge of the research area, and their mastery of the quantitative skills as applied to their research. The learning goals and their assessment occur in four stages.
The dissertation process includes: the dissertation proposal, oral defense of the dissertation proposal, the dissertation, and the oral defense of the dissertation.
The process starts within one month after successful completion of the Second Examination, or earlier, when the student speaks with the Executive Officer about his or her research interest for a dissertation.
Students should follow the following steps.
1. Forming a Temporary Committee
The Executive Officer will appoint, with student’s approval, two faculty members to serve as a temporary committee and to work with the student in preparing a dissertation proposal.
2. Dissertation Proposal and Oral Defense of Proposal
Learning Goals of the Dissertation Proposal: The written proposal demonstrates the student’s mastery of the field, quantitative skills, and written communication skills.
Learning Goals of the Oral Defense of the Dissertation Proposal: The oral defense assesses the same skills and prospective contribution as the written proposal in addition to the oral communication skills of the student.
The proposal is a document that describes the intended content of the dissertation. It defines specific research hypotheses, demonstrates a familiarity with the relevant literature, outlines the contribution to the literature, and describes relevant data sources, the econometric methodology and theoretical context proposed to conduct the research. If the dissertation will comprise several essays, each proposed essay will be defined in these terms, and the proposal will offer motivation as to how the essays will jointly constitute a dissertation.
In regard to the dissertation proposal, the following procedures are observed:
(i) In consultation with the temporary committee, the student works to develop a dissertation proposal.
(ii) While working on the development of the dissertation proposal, the student must obtain a completed Human Subjects Research Approval form to be submitted to the Economics Program at the time of the defense of the proposal.
(iii) Within 12 months after the completion of the Second Exam and 2 months prior to the oral proposal defense (or earlier), the student requests the formation of a permanent advisory committee. The members of the permanent advisory committee must be CUNY doctoral faculty, and one of them will be the student’s Dissertation Advisor. The student can also invite faculty outside the Graduate Center faculty to the proposal defense. The intention of the defense is to show the examiners that the subject builds and significantly contributes to the existing literature, with an up-to-date methodology.
(iv) When the dissertation proposal is complete, the student presents his/her proposal to the permanent advisory committee for evaluation. The dissertation proposal defense is open to students and faculty. If the proposal is accepted, the student moves to the next stage. If the proposal is rejected, then the student must start over with work on another dissertation proposal on a new topic under a new temporary committee.
3. The Dissertation
Learning Goals of the Dissertation: The written dissertation process helps to assess the student’s mastery of the field, quantitative skills, and written communication skills.
After a successful defense of the dissertation proposal, the student continues his research towards the completion of the dissertation under the guidance of the Dissertation Advisor and, more broadly, the permanent advisory committee. All committee members should be continuously informed about the progress of the research.
Once each semester, the student should submit a written report to the committee outlining his or her progress during that semester. It should be noted that the NRP (No Record of Progress) grade is available to be used by the dissertation adviser if the student has not maintained contact during the semester, has not made progress during the semester, or has not submitted a written report of progress.
The permanent committee is appointed for a period of three years. If the student has not submitted a dissertation by the end of these three years, a new permanent committee may be appointed.
At any point in time between the approval of the dissertation proposal and the constitution of the oral examining committee, the student and/or the Dissertation Advisor may make a request for a change in the membership of the permanent committee to the Executive Officer. The Executive Officer will consult with the student and all members of the permanent committee and rule on this request.
- A part of the submitted dissertation may be coauthored, subject to the following restrictions: (i) the dissertation must contain at least one sole-authored essay; (ii) the dissertation may contain at most two essays coauthored with a member of the doctoral faculty, with the restrictions that (ii.a) only one essay of which may be with the dissertation advisor, and (ii.b) these essays may not be coauthored with the same faculty member; (iii) at most one essay may be coauthored with another student who has the same advisor; (iv) for any given coauthored essay, the student may have only one coauthor, who must be a member of the Doctoral Faculty of the Economics Program or another student who is enrolled in or has graduated from the Economics Program; (v) if the dissertation contains more than three essays, the previously mentioned rules apply only to the first three essays of the dissertation; (vi) essays coauthored with individuals outside the Economics Program are not accepted for inclusion in the dissertation. There are no exceptions to these requirements unless specifically approved by the Executive Officer.
A part of the submitted dissertation may be coauthored, subject to the following restrictions: (i) the dissertation must contain at least one sole-authored essay; (ii) the dissertation may contain at most two essays coauthored with a member of the doctoral faculty, with the restrictions that (ii.a) only one essay of which may be with the dissertation advisor, and (ii.b) these essays may not be coauthored with the same faculty member; (iii) at most one essay may be coauthored with another student who has the same advisor; (iv) for any given coauthored essay, the student may have only one coauthor, who must be a member of the Doctoral Faculty of the Economics Program or another student who is enrolled in the Economics Program; (v) For any co-authored essay, the student’s contribution must be at least as great as that of the co-author (vi) if the dissertation contains more than three essays, the previously mentioned rules apply only to the first three essays of the dissertation; (vii) essays coauthored with individuals outside the Economics Program are not accepted for inclusion in the dissertation. There are no exceptions to these requirements unless specifically approved by the Executive Officer.
While preparing the dissertation proposal, if any part of the dissertation is going to be coauthored, the student must include a clear description of this co-authorship in the dissertation proposal and must ensure that the co-authorship is permitted under the rules stated in the previous paragraph.
4. Oral Defense of the Dissertation
Learning Goals of the Oral Defense of the Dissertation:The oral defense is the final confirmation of the depth of the student’s knowledge in his/her chosen field, the original contribution to the literature, and the student’s oral communication skill as a prologue to job market interviews.
When the dissertation committee confirms that the dissertation manuscript is suitable for an oral defense, the Executive Officer will schedule a date for the oral defense at least four weeks in advance, as mandated by university regulation (see Student Handbook). The Provost’s Office must be notified of the upcoming oral defense at least four weeks prior to the scheduled date.
The student must provide the Executive Officer with a complete acceptable draft of the dissertation at least two weeks prior to the defense. Failure to provide an acceptable draft will lead to postponement of the oral defense, in which case a new four-week scheduling period must be observed.
The oral examination committee has the authority to: (i) accept the dissertation as presented; (ii) accept the dissertation subject to specified minor revisions that are subject to review by the Dissertation Advisor; (iii) accept the dissertation subject to specified major revisions that are subject to review by the oral examination committee; (iv) request a new oral examination of a revised draft of the dissertation that addresses specified concerns about the described research; or (v) to reject the dissertation and dismiss the student from the program.
Before the degree is granted, the dissertation must be deposited in the Mina Rees Library of The Graduate Center. Instructions for preparing the final dissertation may be secured from the Registrar’s Office.