Dissertation Overview, MSE

A Dissertation Overview Committee will be formed for each Ph.D. candidate as early in the research process as possible and should meet with the student on a regular basis. Meetings of the committee with the candidate will provide opportunities to offer suggestions and assess progress. This committee will be available to give the student advice throughout the completion of the dissertation.

While this mentoring process is to be on-going, a public discussion of the student's dissertation progress is to take place as outlined below and evidenced by submission of the Dissertation Overview Report form.

Enroll in MSE 8000, MSE Ph.D. Dissertation Overview

MATSCEN Ph.D. candidates are to enroll in MSE 8000, MSE Ph.D. Dissertation Overview, in the term in which the Overview takes place (note "Timing" below). This course requires the permission of the GSC Chair in order to enroll. Provide the MSE Grad Studies Coordinator with this permission--typically a forwarded email--in order to be enrolled in MSE 8000.

MSE 8000 is overseen by the MSE Graduate Studies Chair and provides the student with one graduate credit, graded S/U. To receive an S ("Satisfactory"), the student must provide the MSE GSC Chair with a signed Dissertation Overview form during the term in which the student has enrolled in MSE 8000. An S grade in MSE 8000 is required to receive a Ph.D. degree from the MSE graduate program.

Selection of the Overview committee members

Selection of the Dissertation Overview Committee members is the responsibility of the student's advisor. A minimum of three MSE graduate faculty, all category P, will comprise the committee, one of whom is the student's advisor. If the student is co-advised by two MSE faculty, the co-advisor is permitted to be a member of the committee. In other words, at minimum, three MSE faculty must be on the committee; if two are the student's co-advisors that is permitted. Additional members are permitted, within Graduate School guidelines. Since these committee members may also later act as members of the student's Final Oral Exam Committee, selection of faculty with a category "P" status is advisable.

Timing of the public Overview meeting

During the student's fourth year of study, and at least six months before dissertation defense, the student will make a public presentation of his/her research progress to the Dissertation Overview Committee. This presentation is open to the entire department and should be publicly announced one week before the Overview Committee meets.

This announcement--in the form of an e-mail to the MSE Graduate Student Distribution List and the MSE-WE Faculty--should include the student's name, dissertation title, brief abstract, the committee members, and the date and location (or video link) of the meeting. Thus the student is to arrange a date, time, and location (or video conference link) for the Dissertation Overview with his/her committee members before submitting the announcement.

Please use the form below to send the announcement.


The Overview is not an examination. It is a public presentation of the student's research results and dissertation development to date. The purpose of the Overview is to provide the student with feedback on the state of the dissertation and input to help the student focus the subject and writing.

There is not a set time limit, but the Overview will probably be less than two hours in length. The Overview is comprised of two general parts, the public presentation of research progress and the committee's feedback on the direction of the dissertation.

Dissertation Overview Report form

Submission of the Dissertation Overview Report is a Ph.D. degree requirement in the MSE department. This form verifies completion of this requirement by the student's Dissertation committee and must be received before a student is considered to have completed his/her degree requirements.

The student is to provide the information requested on the Dissertation Overview Report generation form. The information provided by the student will be used to generate a Docu-Sign form which will be forwarded by Mark Cooper to the student's Overview committee members for electronic signature. Once all committee member signatures and the GSC Chair signature are received, record of completion will be noted in the student's Department record.

Submission of the Dissertation Overview Report form is the basis of the grade in MSE 8000.


Rev: 4/5/20 effective for SP20; due to COVID-19 precautions, in-person meetings are discouraged. To address the signature needs of the DO form, a Docu-Sign option was developed.
Rev: effective AU15 (timing to occur in fourth year, previously was to happen within six months of Candidacy)
Rev: effective AU14 (MSE 8000)
Orig: 8/2/01

Questions and petitions

Please contact the Graduate Studies Coordinator, Mark Cooper, with any questions: email, 614-292-7280.

To deviate from any of these procedures requires the prior approval of the MSE Graduate Studies Committee (GSC). Please submit a petition to the MSE GSC Chair outlining any changes required and the rationale behind the petition.

Dissertation Overview Report

To generate a Dissertation Overview Report form that will be circulated to your committee for signatures, please complete the Dissertation Overview Report generation form. Mark will generate and forward the form to your committee for signatures.