NOTE: This page refers to the process of a PhD dissertation defense and submission. For Master's Students, please refer to the guidelines for the MA Project.


Candidates preparing for their dissertation defense must register for ENGL 599 with their committee chair. A minimum total of 32 credits is required in order to graduate. Candidates must submit an Independent Study/Research form each semester they register. Students should attach a 100-150 word summary on the proposed work to the completed form.

All candidates are required to be registered for the term in which he or she defends.

At the start of the semester in which the student plans on defending his or her dissertation, the student must also file for graduation with the Graduate College.

Zero-Hour Registration

After the required amount of credit hours (32) has been met, candidates may register for ENGL 599 for zero hours, under Schedule Option A or Schedule Option B. Students must submit a Graduate Student Petition along with the required Independent Study/Research form. Both forms are available outside the English Department Graduate Studies office (UH2002).

Writing the Dissertation

Candidates for the doctorate English Studies write dissertations presenting research in such areas as rhetorical theory and history, literature and literary theory, pedagogy, and language and literacy. Candidates for the doctorate in Creative Writing are expected to produce as a dissertation one of the following: a novel, a volume of short stories or poems, a full-length book of creative nonfiction, or a collection of essays.

Some recent dissertation titles are available here.

The format of the completed dissertation must meet the minimal requirements set by University Microfilms and the UIC library for archival purposes.

These include:

  1. Maintenance of a 1" margins on the left side, and margins of no less than 1/2" on the other three sides. Proper margins are necessary for binding and microfilming purposes.

  2. 2. Consecutive numbering, within the prescribed text space, of pages, notes, and tables, with no missing numbers.

Students must also consult and follow the UIC Thesis Manual, available for download at the Graduate College website. Other formatting features are at the discretion of the dissertation director, in accordance with standards and practices of the discipline. If no other formatting changes are specified by the dissertation director, students are expected to follow the UIC Thesis Manual.

The faculty of the English department has agreed on the following formats:

  • Dissertations in English Studies should follow the Graduate College format, the MLA Style Manual, the APA Style Manual, or the Chicago Manual of Style. The dissertation director will decide which style is followed.

  • Dissertations in Creative Writing shall follow a format appropriate to the material, as determined by the director of the dissertation.

The necessary forms that accompany the completed thesis can be found on the Graduate College website's Thesis Page.


Candidates must download, type and print out a Committee Recommendation Form. It is due to the English Department's Office of Graduate Studies (2002UH) three weeks prior to the anticipated date of defense. It requires the signature of the committee chair and Director of Graduate Studies. The program code for the doctoral program in English is 20FS0311PHD.

Once the committee has been approved, the Graduate College will deliver the forms that must be present during the defense. This paperwork, the examination report, must be signed by the entire committee immediately after the successful defense of the dissertation. The examination report is returned to the Office of Graduate Studies (2002UH); the red border pages are submitted to the Graduate College (606UH).

Deadlines for submission are available on the Graduate College's Academic Calendar.

Committee & Defense

Candidates defend the completed dissertation before a committee of professors with graduate standing. The committee must be comprised of two full members of the graduate faculty, two tenured faculty, and one outside reader. Typically (but not always), the committee would be the four members of the Prospectus Defense Committee, plus a fifth reader. The Graduate College defines an outside reader as a full member of the graduate faculty with full-time appointment outside the English Department.

According to the Graduate College, Emeritus faculty cannot chair a committee without the approval of the Graduate College. However, Emeritus faculty can sit on committees, put together reading lists, submit questions for the Field exams, direct the Research Exam paper, and can be fifth readers. Emeritus faculty do not count as full or tenured members of committees in determining if the committee makeup satisfies Graduate College requirements.

Dissertation Submission

Effective immediately, submission of doctoral dissertations to the Graduate College must be done electronically, as a PDF. Visit the EDT Homepage for a complete breakdown of the submission process.

There are also changes regarding the publication fee:

  • Doctoral students who choose traditional publishing through ProQuest will pay $37.50, which includes the $25 ProQuest fee and a $12.50 library publishing fee. This represents a net decrease, from $65. NOTE: The decision to choose traditional or open access through ProQuest is separate from open access for the UIC Library.

  • Doctoral students who choose open publishing through ProQuest will pay $132.50, which includes the $120 ProQuest fee and a $12.50 library publishing fee. This represents a net decrease, from $160. NOTE: The decision to choose traditional or open access through ProQuest is separate from open access for the UIC Library.

  • It is recommended that traditional publication through ProQuest and open access through the UIC Library be chosen. The charge for traditional ProQuest publication is much lower and the document will be available as open access through UIC.

  • Until further notice, students should not pay any publishing fee at the cashier in the Marshfield building. There will be a link added by September 1, 2011 to allow for credit card payment. Students who submit an ETD now will be able to pay the proper fee online after that date. Students always have difficulty getting to the Marshfield Building since they are usually already out of town, so this will represent a significant improvement, in addition to allowing credit card payment for the publishing fee.

  • Candidates are asked who in the department should be emailed in regards to format approval. Those should go to Victoria Bolf (vicbolf@uic.edu).

Summer Defense

If a doctoral student is registered in spring (as he or she should be), and defends by June 20 or earlier, he or she does not need to register in summer (or fall). If on a visa, student should consult with OIS.

For a complete review of the defense process, please consult the Graduate College web page on Dissertation Defense.