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PhD Dissertation, Seminar and Final Oral Exam

The culminating experience for a BMMB PhD student is the preparation of a formal PhD dissertation, first author manuscript, public dissertation seminar, and final oral examination. The Graduate School has specific deadlines and formatting guidelines that must be followed both for the written dissertation and completing graduation requirements.


Ph.D. Dissertation

BMMB students must prepare and electronically submit a formal PhD dissertation that meets the format, style and semester deadline requirements of the Graduate School. A polished, draft dissertation must be turned in to the dissertation committee, at least two weeks prior to the oral examination to allow the committee time to review the dissertation. If a committee member finds that there are serious problems with the content or format of the dissertation, they should notify the adviser immediately (at least a week before the oral examination) and the Graduate School recommends postponing the oral examination until the dissertation is in acceptable draft form.

First Author Manuscript

BMMB students are required to demonstrate the ability to collect, organize and present the results of their research in writing in a professional manner. This is accomplished by preparing a manuscript based on the PhD dissertation research. The manuscript must be primarily written by the student, approved by the dissertation adviser, and submitted for publication in a refereed journal before the committee can approve the dissertation.

Public PhD Dissertation Seminar

Prior to the final oral examination, the student must give a public PhD dissertation seminar to the department. This seminar may be given at any time within a two-week period prior to the scheduled examination, but may also be done as an integral part of the actual final oral examination if the seminar and the examination can be so coordinated. The final oral examination is only presented to the student’s dissertation committee.

The Dissertation Seminar should be held in a room within easy walking distance of Frear and Althouse that seats at least 50 people. BMB does not have any department controlled seminar rooms. However, on Tuesdays and Thursdays BMB does have a room reserved from 12:05 PM to 1:20 PM as well as Mondays from 3:35 PM to 5:30 PM. Students should contact the Graduate Program Coordinator to confirm whether the room is available for the desired date. Students may also schedule the seminar themselves through CollegeNET. A smaller conference room may be reserved for the final oral examination and this is suggested to ease scheduling a room for the seminar.

Students must inform the Graduate Program Coordinator of the title, date, time, location, committee members, and the student’s PSU ID# at least 3 weeks in advance so the Graduate School can process the needed paperwork.

  • Date:
  • Location:
  • Time:
  • Student's Name:
  • Student's Advisor:
  • Dissertation Committee Members:
  • Seminar Title:

Note: The seminar title MUST be submitted in correct title format with capitalization or Science Seminars will not accept it.

Required Paperwork

The Graduate School will mail the “Report on the Doctoral Final Oral Exam” form to the Coordinator and the Coordinator will make three copies of the paperwork and pass the paperwork on to the student’s adviser along with a copy of the student’s transcript. Following the examination, two completed forms must be returned to the Coordinator so the report can be sent to the Graduate School. The adviser should keep the third copy for their records.

Final Submission of Dissertation and Signatory Page

Following the oral examination, the student must electronically submit a final dissertation to the Graduate School with all revisions as suggested by the committee at the time of the oral exam. The student is also responsible for downloading and collecting signatures from the adviser and committee members for the “Doctoral Signatory Page”. Please see the Graduate School website for details on dissertation formatting, forms, and deadlines.

Graduate School Thesis and Dissertation Information