Dissertation, Thesis, Professional Project Timeline


Program Timelines

Timeline for development of a dissertation, thesis, and professional project includes: Committee development; comprehensive exam defense (for dissertation); dissertation, thesis, or professional project proposal development and defense; dissertation, thesis, or professional project defense; apply for graduation.

Students should begin thinking about committee members upon admittance into the program. Research bios have been provided in this Handbook and also appear on the school website. Below is a recommended timeline.

Ph.D. Program (Six-Semester Timeline)

  • Identify a committee chair no later than the third semester of your program.
  • During the third or fourth semester, the remainder of the committee from the School of Journalism and Mass Communications should be established. The majority of committee members must be tenured or tenuretrack faculty in the School of Journalism and Mass Communications. Committees generally include five members but can be larger. Each committee must include a Graduate Studies Representative. The Graduate Studies Representative must be a member of KU’s graduate faculty who is authorized to serve on doctoral committees by a KU department or school other than the School of Journalism and Mass Communications. All committee members should be members of the KU’s graduate faculty authorized to serve on doctoral exams.
  • The Graduate Studies Representative should be identified by the fourth semester in the program.
  • The Ph.D. comprehensive exam should be completed early in the fifth semester of the program.
  • The Ph.D. comprehensive exam oral defense should occur no sooner than 10 days following the written exam, but no longer than 30 days after. 9
  • The Ph.D. dissertation proposal should be approved by the committee within 30 days of the successful oral defense of the comprehensive exam.
  • The dissertation should be submitted to the committee no less than two weeks prior to its defense.
  • Defense of the dissertation should occur no later than May 1 in the Spring and December 1 in the Fall.

Master's Program (Four-Semester Timeline)

  • Identify a committee chair no later than the second semester of your program.
  • During the second or third semester, the remainder of the committee from the School of Journalism and Mass Communications should be established. All committee members must be members of the graduate faculty authorized to serve on master's examinations. The majority of committee members must be tenured or tenure-track faculty in the School of Journalism and Mass Communications. As long as the majority requirement is met, additional committee members may be, but need not be, members of the candidate’s department or program.
  • The master’s thesis or professional project proposal should be approved by the committee during the third semester in the program.
  • The thesis or professional project should be submitted to the committee no less than two weeks prior to its defense.
  • Defense of the thesis or professional project should occur no later than May 1 in the Spring and December 15 in the Fall.