Frequenty Asked Questions
Everything you always wanted to know about dissertator status but were afraid to ask
Q: What is a dissertator?
A: A dissertator is a student who has completed ALL requirements for a PhD degree except for the dissertation. To be eligible for dissertator status, students must:
- Pass the preliminary examination.
- Satisfy the PhD residence requirements.
- Complete all minor requirements, if the major program requires a minor.
- Complete all program requirements except dissertation.
- Clear all incompletes or grades of “P” in non-research courses.
- Return the signed preliminary exam warrant to the Graduate School.
Q: Must all grades be cleared before students are eligible for dissertator status?
A: Outstanding grades in research (usually 990) may remain. All others must be cleared.
Q: Is there a deadline date by which these requirements must be met?
A: Yes. All requirements must be met BEFORE the first day of classes to be a dissertator for any given semester.
Q: What if all requirements are completed before the first day of classes but the prelim warrant does not get to the Grad School in time to process it by then?
A: That’s ok, get it in as soon as possible. Students can go ahead and register for exactly 3 credits.
Q: What about fees?
A: Fees are due by the end of the first week of classes. If paperwork is not processed by then, students should pay regular graduate fees and then will be refunded the difference when dissertator status is indicated on the in the enrollment system.
Q: Where do students check on their dissertator status?
A: Students may contact their department. Dissertator status is found in SARA or ISIS.
Q: I know students who tried to register before they were dissertators and they were told that they were not eligible to register for that course. How come?
A: The enrollment system does not "care" if a student is a dissertator. If a student had problems getting into a course, it is probably because the course is a conference course and s/he forgot to obtain instructor's permission. All individualized study courses, like research and thesis, require instructor's permission and online authorization before enrollment is possible. If students have trouble with enrollment, they should contact the Registrar's helpline, 262-0920.
Q: For how many credits do dissertators register?
A: Dissertators must register each fall and spring semester for exactly 3 credits to maintain continuous registration. Courses must be 300 level or above and related to students’ dissertation or major. Courses cannot be taken for audit or pass/fail.
Q: Do dissertators have to register during the summer?
A: The Graduate School does not require that dissertators register during summer to maintain continuous registration. However, Research Assistants, trainees, and fellows, and dissertators using university facilities such as labs, libraries, or faculty time, must register for a minimum of three credits (in the 8-week general DHH session) of course work related to their research. Teaching Assistants and Project Assistants need not register for the summer unless their major professor and department chairperson determine that the student is making regular use of university facilities and needs to be registered.
Q: What happens if a student fails to maintain continuous registration after achieving dissertator status?
A: Dissertators who do not maintain continuous registration will be assessed a completion fee equal to twelve times the current per-credit dissertator rate. The fee is assessed at the time students bring their thesis to the Graduate School for final review. The completion fee is based on the resident or non-resident status students had at their last term of registration. Students who break registration and then re-enter and register for less than four continuous terms before completion will pay the 12-credit fee MINUS all continuous registration credits paid since the time of re-entry. If registration is broken but a student re0enters and registers for at least four continuous terms, then a completion fee is not assessed.
Q: What if a student wants to pursue a second master’s degree?
A: Dissertation status will be discontinued if an individual is pursuing a second master’s degree.
Q: Must dissertators register during the semester they earn their degree?
A: Yes. Students may wish to consult the Graduate School’s current list of deadline dates, available at their department or at the Graduate School.
Last updated: November 24, 2009