Thesis and Dissertation - Frequently Asked Questions

What steps are involved in completing a Thesis or Dissertation?

There are many steps involved in the thesis and dissertation processes. Some of the steps may vary by degree and discipline, but a general overview is offered to students on our website. The information is on the Thesis and Dissertation pages. 

How long does it take to complete a Thesis or Dissertation?

A thesis will take at least two semesters to complete. A dissertation may take a minimum of three or four semesters, depending on the requirements for your degree and your diligence in completing the dissertation process.

What are the deadlines for submitting my proposal, thesis, or dissertation to Thesis and Dissertation Services in the Graduate School?

The deadlines you need to follow are dependent upon your deadline for graduation. Visit the deadlines webpage for more information. Submission materials should be submitted by 5:00 pm on the day of the deadline. 

What should I include in my proposal?

Your proposal will contain the introductory chapters of your thesis or dissertation. The Thesis Template, Dissertation Template, Thesis Guide, and Dissertation Guide all provide instruction and guidance as to what should be included in each chapter. Your proposal must be formatted according to these templates in conjunction with the style guide you are using (APA, MLA, ACS, etc.). Your proposal will not be accepted unless it is formatted according to these templates.

Which style guide should I use to write my Thesis or Dissertation?

Some departments have specific style manuals for their students to follow. For instance, the Department of Literature and Languages requires its students to follow MLA style. Check with your department to see which style manual you are required to use. 

How do I submit my thesis or dissertation?

Your proposal, thesis, or dissertation (and accompanying forms) must be submitted via email to TDS@tamuc.edu. Visit the following web pages for further information on what forms to include when you submit your thesis or dissertation to the Graduate School for review. Please include in your email what type of computer you used (Mac or PC) and what version of Word you used to prepare your document. This will help us process your document more efficiently.

How long after submitting my proposal, thesis, or dissertation will I receive approval?

Reviews may take 15 to 20 working days to complete, depending on when in the semester the paper is submitted. However, approval depends on the condition of the document. Papers that follow the appropriate template, conform to the rules of the chosen style manual, and follow the rules for grammar, syntax, and mechanics take less time to approve since they require few (if any) revisions. Papers that do not follow the template, the rules of the chosen style manual, or the rules of grammar, syntax, and mechanics require multiple reviews, which require more time to complete. To ensure your paper receives approval quickly and within the desired timeframe, please make sure paper is properly formatted and edited before it is submitted to the Graduate School.

What happens after I submit my proposal, thesis, or dissertation for review?

Your paper will be reviewed for its formatting, conformity to your chosen style guide, and agreement with general rules of grammar, syntax, and mechanics. The reviewer will marks errors the first few times they occur in the paper and provide the feedback to you so you can make revisions. If 50 or more comments are made in a review, the reviewer will cease marking errors and return the document to the student for revisions. Students will be notified via LeoMail if the document is approved or if the paper is in need of revisions prior to approval. Each review may take 15 to 20 working days to complete.

Why do I need to complete research training modules?                                                                                              

All faculty, staff, and students of Texas A&M University-Commerce are expected to uphold the highest standards of research conduct and strictly adhere to all federal, state, and local regulations involving research. To ensure integrity and compliance in research, all faculty, staff, and students involved in research activities must successfully complete training in Responsible Conduct in Research and Scholarship. Additional training is required for individuals whose research involves animal care and use, biosafety, export control, or human subjects. Proof of completion must be submitted with the proposal and other required materials. 

How do I complete the required research compliance training modules?

The modules may be taken online or in-person through the Collaborative Institutional Training Institute (CITI) website. You may visit the Research Compliance webpage for further information.

When should I begin the training modules?

You should begin the training modules early in your program. You must have completed your research compliance training modules by the time you submit your proposal to the Graduate School. If your study requires approval by an institutional safety committee (IRB, IACUC, or IBC), the training should be completed before your application for approval is approved. 

Who do I contact regarding questions about research compliance training modules?

Please contact ResearchCompliance@tamuc.edu

Do I have to apply for research compliance approval?

If your research involves animal care and use, biosafety, export control, or human subjects, you are required to apply for research compliance approval. Please visit the Research webpage for more information. Data collection cannot begin until approval is received by the appropriate compliance committee. Proof of approval must be submitted with the proposal and other required materials. 

When should I submit my application for research compliance approval?

Once you have defended your proposal and gained approval by your committee, you should submit your application for approval. Your committee may request changes to your proposal, sometimes significant changes, thus you should obtain committee approval of your proposal before applying for research compliance approval. Compliance committees meet on a set schedule, so be sure to check the schedule to determine when your application should be submitted. 

Who do I contact regarding questions about research compliance approval?

Please contact ResearchCompliance@tamuc.edu

When can I begin collecting data for my study?

Students conducting studies not involving human subjects, animal subjects, or biological agents may begin collecting data after completing RCR training through CITI and after their advisor has granted them permission to do so. 

Students conducting studies involving human subjects, animal subjects, or biological agents are required to seek and receive approval from an addition institutional safety committee (IRB, IACUC, or IBC). Approval from the committee is required to begin data collection. 

When do I schedule my Dissertation Proposal Defense?

You must schedule your proposal defense with the Graduate School (Vicky Turner) by the 20th of the month prior to the month you defend your proposal before your committee.

For example, if you want to obtain proposal approval in the Fall, you must submit your proposal to TDS (TDS@tamuc.edu)no later than the 4th Friday in November. Thus, you have to defend your proposal sometime before then. Say you defend your proposal at the beginning of November; this means that you have to turn in your schedule form to the Graduate School by October 20th. Of course, you may defend earlier in the semester if you wish, but please be aware of the various deadlines involved with submitting your schedule form, defending your proposal, and then submitting your proposal to TDS in the Graduate School.

How do I schedule my Dissertation Proposal Defense?

Schedule your Proposal Defense with the Graduate School by completing and submitting the Schedule Form for the Proposal Defense to Vicky Turner (Vicky.Turner@tamuc.edu).

When do I schedule my Dissertation Defense?

You must schedule your dissertation defense with the Graduate School (Vicky Turner) by the 20th of the month prior to the month you defend your dissertation in front of your committee.

For example, if you want to graduate in the Fall, you must defend your dissertation by the 4th Friday in October. Thus, you have to defend your dissertation sometime before then. Say you defend your dissertation at the beginning of October; this means that you have to turn in your schedule form to the Graduate School by September 20th. Of course, you may defend earlier in the semester if you wish, but please be aware of the various deadlines involved with submitting your schedule form, defending your dissertation, and then submitting your final dissertation to TDS in the Graduate School.

How do I schedule my Dissertation Defense?

Schedule your Dissertation Defense with the Graduate School by completing and submitting the Schedule Form for the Dissertation Defense to Vicky Turner (Vicky.Turner@tamuc.edu).

As a Master’s student completing a thesis, am I still required to complete a comprehensive exam?

Yes, all Master’s students are required to complete a comprehensive exam covering all the work within their master’s degree. The comprehensive exam is independent of the thesis defense and final thesis.