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APCE Dissertation Planning Sheet

Congratulations on your progress through the journey of your doctoral studies. Each item listed below represents a significant moment in your dissertation process and shows you the key phases of the process. Your dissertation chair will be your primary resource and advisor in planning and conducting your dissertation study.

NOTE: All forms below require original faculty signatures (copies or scanned signatures cannot be accepted). Once forms are completed and signed, submit to the Program Director by leaving the original with Christina, the APCE administrative assistant. Forms are located on the Graduate College web site.



Appoint APCE Dissertation Chair – Submit Form A

* Should be submitted once you have confirmed a Chair and MUST be submitted BEFORE you may take the Comprehensive Examination or take ED 7341 Dissertation Proposal Development. The Chair must hold Core Doctoral faculty status and may be an APCE or SI professor.

Appoint Dissertation Committee Members – Submit Form B

* Consult with your Dissertation Chair BEFORE selecting committee members. A minimum of 2 members (including the chair) must be APCE faculty. SI faculty are eligible to serve on your committee. You may appoint a faculty member from other departments/Colleges at Texas State, or one member external to the university - in these cases, the APCE Faculty is required to review the proposed committee member’s curriculum vitae and approve the appointment. Final approval comes from the Graduate Dean through the Program. These reviews are done ONLY September –November, and mid-January to mid-April. Your Chair will coordinate this process as needed.

Submit Form B shortly after the Comprehensive Examination and before the proposal defense. 

Changing Chair/Committee Members – Submit Change Form

* In accepting an appointment your committee faculty have made a serious commitment. Changes should only be made for serious reason and in consultation with the Dissertation Chair and any committee members involved. Changes may not be made to the composition of the committee within 60 days of the dissertation defense.


Enroll in Dissertation Hours:

Once you have completed all courses, you will ordinarily, enroll in 7399A (3 hours). Students must take a minimum of 12 dissertation hours to graduate. Students must enroll in dissertation hours any semester after coursework that they are receiving dissertation supervision from their chair; they must enroll every semester after the proposal defense (including summer). Exceptions to enrollment in ED 7399A are explained on the Dissertation Hours Registration Info sheet (separate document). APCE students must enroll in dissertation hours that end in “A” (“B” is for SI). Enrollment in ED 7199A or 7299A in Fall or Spring semesters requires approval of Dissertation Chair and Program Director, in that order. To request that approval of the Program Director or to request a section of dissertation hours that you need, but is not on the class schedule, use the Class Registration Override Form.

* Please note that the criteria for taking ED 7199A in any semester is that the student will be working on the dissertation minimally and/or receiving minimal supervision from the dissertation chair. It may be taken in any summer semester and a maximum of 3 Fall/Spring semesters (Fall/Spring semesters require program approval; please use the Class Override link). 

Comprehensive Examination:

The Comprehensive Examination is usually administered in early January and early August. It may be taken after the completion of the 6 Core Courses, 4 Major Courses, and two introductory research courses. It requires prior submission of Form A, the Dissertation Advisor Assignment Form and must be completed and passed prior to the Proposal Defense and Advancement to Candidacy. Students who do not pass the examination must re-take it within one year; a second failure results in removal from the PhD program.


At defense complete Form D

·         Proposal defenses must be announced at least 2 WEEKS before the defense. Send the following information in an announcement format to APCE Administrative Assistant: Your name, proposal title, date/time/room of defense, name of dissertation chair, and names of dissertation committee members. 

* Have Form D typed and ready at the defense. They will be used if the committee rates the proposal a "pass." Hold these forms – do NOT submit yet. *AFTER the committee passes the proposal, submit your IRB application for review and work on revisions to your proposal document. Move on to the following step IMMEDIATELY AFTER you receive approval from the IRB.


Immediately after receiving IRB approval, submit the following to the Program Director in ONE hard copy packet:

Form D (Dissertation Proposal and Proposal Defense Form); Form E (Application for Advancement to Candidacy); the Full Text of your Final Proposal, in APA Format and including revisions requested by the committee; and Certificate of IRB approval. 

* Students have a maximum of 5 years from admission to the program to advance to candidacy. Students who go beyond this deadline may request an extension from the Graduate Dean by contacting the Program Director. Extension requests must be accompanied by a work plan for timely completion of the proposal and final dissertation. This work plan must be approved by your dissertation chair.


At your dissertation defense, you will need to complete and submit Form F (Dissertation Defense Report Form) and Form G (Dissertation Submission Approval Form) for committee members.

* Dissertation defenses must be announced at least 2 WEEKS before the defense. Send the following information in an announcement format to APCE Administrative Assistant: Your name, dissertation title, date/time/room of defense, name of dissertation chair, and names of dissertation committee members. 

* Have Form G and Form F  typed and ready at the defense. It will be used if the committee rates the dissertation a “pass.” Submit this form to the program administrative assistant immediately after the defense. 

* Make final revisions and submit the dissertation to the Graduate College according to the requirements in the Guide to Preparing and Submitting a Theses or Dissertation.


Forms: Required Doctoral Program Forms as referred to above are posted here under Students - Doctoral.

Dissertation Format: Follow the specific formatting and submission requirements of the Graduate College, as presented in the Guide to Preparing and Submitting a Thesis or Dissertation (see link above). The Graduate College will return any dissertations that have formatting or grammatical errors.

Application for Graduation: Review all deadlines and requirements prior to the semester in which you intend to graduate. Complete the application for graduation in Self-Service Banner by the deadline, which is usually early in the semester. This information is updated each semester at, click on “Candidate Information & Graduation.” Please review all links and information for PhD students on this page. The dissertation must be received by the Graduate Dean by the deadline posted (usually several weeks before the end of the semester). If this deadline is missed, the student enrolls in ED 7199A in the following semester (even if it has already been taken in 3 Fall/Spring semesters) and defers graduation to that semester.

Credit Hours: Minimum credit hours for degree completion are 63. Students who exceed 99 credit hours begin paying out of state tuition rates for all hours after 99.

Years: Students have a maximum of 5 years from admission to advance to candidacy and a maximum of 10 years from admission to successfully defend the dissertation. The expectation is that PhD students will reach both of these benchmarks years before the maximum deadlines allowed.