Dissertation Requirements

Public Health PhD Student Handbook

The dissertation may be presented in the traditional thesis format or may consist of a minimum of three manuscripts of publishable quality with respect to peer-reviewed journal requirements. The specific requirements for both are to be established by the dissertation committee in accordance with Graduate School requirements.

The manuscript format typically follows the chapter outline below:

  1. Introductory chapter to include the overarching theme(s) and hypotheses which tie the papers together
  2. A comprehensive literature review
  3. Methods chapter
  4. The manuscripts
    1. Paper #1
    2. Paper #2
    3. Paper #3
  5. Conclusion to include a full discussion section that ties the findings from the individual papers together and outlines implications for future research.
  6. Appendices to include, as appropriate, such items as survey instruments, foundational tables, organizational charts, additional tables, and other items not appropriate for a journal article nor the body of the thesis document.

Additional Dissertation guidelines are available from UNR's website: Dissertation and Thesis Submission Requirements.

Review the Dissertation Filing Guidelines and the Dissertation Title Form.

Oral Defense of Dissertation

Upon completion of the dissertation, the student must pass a final oral examination which involves the successful defense of their dissertation study. It is the student's responsibility to schedule the defense with the entire advisory committee. The committee will question the student following presentation of the study. Revision and/or further oral defense may be required.

Once the committee approves the dissertation and defense, students must submit a Notice of Completion form and Final Review Approval form.

Graduation and Hooding

Students must purchase a graduation application by the designated deadlines:

  • May Graduation Deadline: March 1
  • August Graduation Deadline: June 1
  • December Graduation Deadline: October 1

The Graduate School will review each application and email the student within 3-8 weeks with the result of their graduation review. All candidates for graduation should communicate with their advisor to confirm expectations for the final semester. Important dates, deadlines, and milestones are located on UNR's website: Graduation and Deadlines.

Doctoral students are accorded special recognition during spring or winter commencement exercises by participating in a Hooding Ceremony. To participate in the Hooding Ceremony, students must file an application for graduation, have successfully defended their dissertation, and filed the completed Notice of Completion with the Graduate School at least two weeks prior to the commencement exercises. Students who complete their degree during the summer session are eligible to attend either the fall or spring commencement exercises.