Walden University Dissertation Timeline

As you begin thinking about your dissertation topic, you will work with your mentor to formalize a research topic and research questions.  To receive your mentor you will write a Premise document that will be used by your Specialization Coordinator to help find an appropriate mentor.  You will receive your mentor when you have completed your first three research courses and when you only have six courses or two KAMs to complete.  Our expectation is that you will write your prospectus outlining your dissertation topic with your mentor before you finish your course work and KAMs.

When you and your mentor think you have a solid topic and research questions that are grounded in current research, you will invite a second member to join your committee.  Your committee will have two members initially: a chair and a second.  These two faculty members will represent your content area and your methodology.  Either the content expert or the methodologist can serve as your chair, with the other being the second member of your committee. 

You and your mentor can identify an appropriate methodologist in one of several ways…

When your committee and prospectus have been approved, you will be clear to take the advanced methods course in the methodology you have selected for your dissertation.  At this point, you are ready to begin writing chapters 1 and 2.

Return to: Final Projects 

The final phase of study for Walden Ph.D. students begins with the preparation of a dissertation proposal, which is affirmed in an oral presentation and then followed by the execution of a research study. Walden does not favor any particular research approach or methodology, but does require that the dissertation reflect a high level of conceptual manipulation and contribute original knowledge to the field. Through the dissertation, students demonstrate their knowledge of research design and their ability to interpret research findings, both orally and in writing.

For more details on the dissertation, refer to the dissertation information pages at the Center for Research Support.

For help writing the dissertation, visit the online Walden Writing Center.

Dissertation Timing

Doctoral students who want to graduate in a specific quarter must plan their program carefully as follows or their graduation date will be delayed:

  • Begin planning for program completion at least 13 months in advance of the anticipated graduation date
  • Adhere to the recommended timing for submitting forms and information

The dissertation process requires Ph.D. students to participate in a learning platform classroom. Students need to complete the process by the close of business (5 p.m. Central time) on the final business day of the quarter in which they intend to graduate. Completing the process means that the dissertation has received final approval from the chief academic officer of the university.

The following table can be used to plan the final months of the dissertation process, based on the quarter in which the student intends to graduate.

Quarter of Intended GraduationSubmission to Form and StyleDissertation Oral PresentationFinal Dissertation and Rubric SubmittedAbstract Submitted for Chief Academic Officer Review
SpringMarch 1March 15April 1May 1
SummerJune 1June 15July 1August 1
FallSeptember 1September 15October 1November 1
WinterDecember 1December 15January 1February 1

Note on commencement deadlines: Students who want to participate in the summer commencement ceremony must have their dissertation approved by the chief academic officer no later than the last business day of the spring quarter. Students who want to participate in the winter commencement ceremony must have their dissertation approved by the chief academic officer no later than the last business day of the fall quarter.

Registering for Dissertation Credits

Students enrolled in a KAM-based program (AMDS, EDUC, HLTH, HUMN, or PPPA) will automatically be placed in SBSF 7100 Research Forum with the chair of their dissertation committee. They will remain registered in SBSF 7100 for the duration of their dissertation process. The registrar’s office will assign all 30 dissertation credits when the final academic audit is complete.

Students enrolled in a course-based program (PSYC or PUBH) must register for a total of 30 dissertation credits. Registration for dissertation credits takes place during the regular course registration period. Once students initially register for the dissertation course (PSYC/PUBH 9000), they are automatically registered for the course until the dissertation is formally approved by the chief academic officer. Students who have an approved dissertation supervisory committee may register for dissertation credits during any quarter in which they are working on the proposal and dissertation. Students who have only a committee chair may register for the dissertation course, but they will not be able to submit their proposal for review until they have an approved committee.

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