Thesis submission (D.M.A. & Ph.D)

1. Complete Advancement to Candidacy Form

Students must advance to candidacy with the first 36 months of their program. If this is not possible, an extension must be requested by the Supervisor/Graduate Advisor to Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. Upon completion of all coursework, including comprehensive exams and any 512 courses, Recommendation for Advancement to Candidacy form submitted to Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies by your Research Supervisor. If your committee includes one or more senior instructors, adjunct professors or visiting professors, approval must be obtained immediately.

2. Review Deadlines

Review deadlines and plan your progress to degree completion.

3. Hold Final Lecture-Recitals (not applicable for composition majors)

DMA Final Lecture-Recitals must be held prior to submission of the External Examiner copy of the dissertation. Recital times are booked with the assistant to the director in the School of Music main office. The student must arrange with the control booth staff, via the reception desk, to have the lecture-recital recorded on DVD.  A copy of the DMA Lecture-Recital DVD must be handed in to Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies with the External Examiner copy of the dissertation, for forwarding to the External Examiner. Please note that the lecture-recital is the last recital to be held in the student’s program of study.

Note: If you are planning a March or April oral defense, book your lecture-recital date as soon as possible to ensure Recital Hall availability.

4. Obtain Copyright Permission

If any portions of your thesis require copyright permission, request it immediately (obtaining permission may take some time).

5. Submit External Examiner Form

Nomination of External Examiner for Doctoral Dissertation form must be submitted by the Research Supervisor (also signed by MUSC Graduate Advisor or School Director) to the Doctoral Exams Team.  The External Examiner is then selected and approached for availability by Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies from list of three candidates submitted (if additional candidates or information is required, Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies contacts the Research Supervisor). The thesis is sent for evaluation by the External Examiner who submits a written report to Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, which in turn forwards a copy to your doctoral committee. Note: External examiners have only your thesis title to rely on when deciding whether or not to participate on your committee, so choose it carefully.

Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies WILL NOT begin the process of confirming an External Examiner until they know the intended date of submission of the dissertation for External Examiner. As soon as you know your submission date, inform Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (see Step 7).

6. Apply for Graduation

Apply for graduation by February 24, 2017 for May graduation or September 15, 2017 for November graduation.

7. Notify Exams Team of Planned Dissertation Submisison Date

Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies WILL NOT begin the process of confirming an External Examiner until they know the intended date of submission of the dissertation for external examination. As soon as you know your submission date, inform Doctoral Exams Team. At least eight weeks prior to submission of your thesis to Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies for evaluation by the External Examiner, the Research Supervisor or student must notify Doctoral Exams Team of the expected thesis submission date. Subsequently, if there is a delay in your anticipated submission date, you must keep Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies informed as they are in regular contact with your External Examiner advising him/her when to expect your thesis and ensuring they are still available to review your thesis.

Useful links:

9. Submit Dissertation for Review by External Examiner

Refer to Submitting the Dissertation for up-to-date information.

Student submits to the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies the following:

  • DMA Lecture-Recital DVD, as it is also forwarded to the External Examiner for review; and
  • One (1) cerlox bound copies (double-sided pages with a clear front cover) of dissertation approved by Research Supervisor for review by External Examiner.
  • Electronic version of the dissertation (PDF) submitted via email to the Doctoral Exams Team as an attachment. Graduate Program Approval of Doctoral Dissertation for External Examination departmental memo signed by MUSC graduate advisor (or director of school) - speed chart no. DDDA.
  • Dissertation Review Sheet or printout of e-mail confirming that the formatting of the dissertation has been reviewed and approved by the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.  Refer to item 7 above.

10. Arrange for Exam Committee, Date & Program

Refer to University Examiners for up-to-date information.

  • Two (2) University Examiners (at least one from outside students/supervisor's graduate program) must be confirmed by Research Supervisor. Approval of University Examiners for Doctoral Dissertation Form to be submitted by Research Supervisor to Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies a minimum of four weeks prior to the scheduled Final Oral Defence. 
  • Copies of dissertation are distributed to examining committee members by Research Supervisor or student.
  • Complete the draft Program template and submit to Research Supervisor for approval, then e-mail it here. Template:
  • Availability for three proposed exam dates and times for all exam committee members (Supervisory Committee, University Examiners and External Examiner) must be confirmed by Research Supervisor to the student. The student then books the exam through, Doctoral Exam Coordinator at Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies as per Scheduling the Final Oral Defence.
  • Note: when scheduling your doctoral exam, leave enough days after the exam to make any required revisions before the last date by which you must submit your FINAL thesis.  Also, many doctoral exams take place in April. Submit your exam date requests early to get the date you want.

Blackout periods are August and mid-December to mid-January. Due to limited availability of external examiners, university examiners, and examination chairs, there are two blackout periods each year for Doctoral Exams (August, and mid-December to mid January). Examinations are normally not scheduled at these times. Candidates on extensions ending August 31 or December 31 must complete their examinations before the applicable blackout period.

Deadline for all above: four weeks prior to confirmed exam date.

11. Prepare Dissertation Approval Form

  • External examiner's report and final exam Programme received via e-mail by Research Supervisor and Examining Committee from Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.
  • Student prepares the Doctoral Dissertation Approval Form to be brought to the final exam. To save time, committee members may want to sign it there.

12. After Your Exam

  • Chair of exam submits Chair Report Form to Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.
  • Student completes any required revisions to dissertation then submits to supervisor (and exam committee members, if applicable) for final approval.

13. Submit Final Version of Dissertation

Student submits the following documents to Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies:

  1. One copy of the Thesis/Dissertation Submission Cover Sheet
  2. A signed Doctoral Dissertation Approval Form. Fax or PDF scan accepted - original signatures not required.
  3. Thesis
    • DMA students must submit the final version of their dissertation electronically. Submit all other completed forms to Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, in person or by mail.
      The DMA portfolio has four components:
      -- the DMA thesis
      -- a DVD recording of the candidate's lecture-recital
      -- copies of programmes for all of the candidate's required performances, and;
      -- a selection of recordings, between 50 and 75 minutes in total length, representing the candidate's achievements in the required performances.
    • PhD students must submit the final version of their dissertation electronically. Submit all other completed forms to Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, in person or by mail.
  4. Completed Thesis License Agreement (for DMA only): DMA License Agreement to be printed and submitted. PHD License Agreement is completed during thesis submission to cIRcle.
  5. If applicable, a completed Request for Delay in Publication of Thesis/Dissertation Form.
  6. If applicable, a completed Bibliography of Theses Related to BC Form.

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