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Table of ContentsIntroduction . 2Section 1: The Dissertation Process . 3Dissertation Course Overview . 4Dissertation Course Sequence . 4DIS-9901A Components of the Dissertation . 6DIS-9902A The Dissertation Proposal . 7DIS-9903A Institutional Review Board (IRB) and Data Collection. 7DIS-9904A The Dissertation Manuscript and Defense. 8Dissertation 8-week course learning outcomes and descriptions . 8DIS-9901B Components of the Dissertation Supplemental . 8DIS-9902B The Dissertation Proposal Supplemental . 9DIS-9903B Institutional Review Board (IRB) and Data Collection Supplemental. 9DIS-9904B The Dissertation Manuscript and Defense Supplemental . 10DIS-9901C Components of the Dissertation Supplemental . 10DIS-9902C The Dissertation Proposal Supplemental . 10DIS-9903C Institutional Review Board (IRB) and Data Collection Supplemental. 11DIS-9904C The Dissertation Manuscript and Defense Supplemental . 11DIS-9901D Components of the Dissertation Supplemental . 12DIS-9902D The Dissertation Proposal Supplemental . 12DIS-9903D Institutional Review Board (IRB) and Data Collection Supplemental . 13DIS-9904D The Dissertation Manuscript and Defense Supplemental . 13Dissertation Template . 14DSE Dissertation Grading . 14Dissertation Deliverable Rubric . 14Using the Deliverable Rubric . 15Submission Timeframes for Faculty Feedback . 15Doctoral Record turnaround times . 16Doctoral Record Submissions . 16Section 2: The Dissertation Committee. 18Dissertation Committee Composition . 18Selection of Committee Members . 19Committee Responsibilities . 19

1 PageThe Dissertation Chair – (12-week courses): . 20The Dissertation Chair – (8-week supplemental courses): . 20The Subject Matter Expert (SME) - (12-week courses): . 21The Subject Matter Expert (SME) - (8-week supplemental courses): . 21The Academic Reader (AR):. 22Working with a Committee . 22Changes in Committee Assignments . 23Section 3: Considerations and Policies . 24Time Limits . 24Academic Integrity . 24Code of Conduct. 24Satisfactory Academic Progress . 24Minimum Passing Grades . 24Assignment Deadlines and Final Course Grades . 25Incomplete Grades . 25ADA Course Accommodations . 25Unsatisfactory Grades for Dissertation Courses . 25Repeating Doctoral Sequence Courses . 25Maximum “RD” Grade Policy for Doctoral Sequence . 25Copyright 2019.Northcentral UniversityV. March 2019

2 PageIntroductionThis guide (and the documents referenced within) is a resource outlining major elements ofthe Northcentral University dissertation process. Candidates and faculty members involved inresearch and dissertation courses are strongly encouraged to read this Doctoral StudentExperience (DSE) Guide and associated documents (rubric and templates) before beginningwork on a dissertation. The terms Dissertation Chair and Chair are used interchangeablywithin this document.If you are a candidate and have questions not answered in this DSE Guide or in any of thesupplemental materials, please speak to your Dissertation Chair (academic issues) orAcademic and Finance Advisor (program or degree issues). Note: Candidates are responsiblefor staying current with changes to their program. Check with your Academic and FinanceAdvisor if you have questions about your program of study.If you are a faculty member and have questions not answered in this DSE Guide or in thesupplemental materials, please reach out to the Assistant/Associate Dean of faculty orDepartment Chair in your school.Doctoral Candidates are doctoral students who have successfully passed their ComprehensiveExaminations/ePortfolio/Prospectus course or end of program coursework as denoted in theirProgram curriculum outlined in the catalog. Candidates are encouraged to identify aresearchable topic and their preliminary methods approach by the completion of programcoursework. This process should be completed during the last course in a program’scoursework. Based upon the identified topic and methodology, an appropriate DissertationChair and Subject Matter Expert (SME) will be aligned with the needs of each individualcandidate and assigned accordingly.Copyright 2019.Northcentral UniversityV. March 2019

3 PageSection 1: The Dissertation ProcessThe dissertation is the capstone accomplishment in the doctoral candidate’s degree program.The PhD dissertation has a research focus, and the applied degree (e.g. DBA and EdD) ispractice based. The doctoral dissertation is a substantial, scholarly work conductedindependently by a candidate under the guidance of faculty members comprising thecandidate’s Doctoral Dissertation Committee. Committee roles include the DissertationChair, Subject Matter Expert (SME), and the Academic Reader (AR). More information onthe Committee roles and responsibilities can be found in Section 2 of this guide. In thedissertation process, the candidate: Identifies a researchable problem substantiated through evidence.Summarizes, analyzes, and integrates recent (generally five years or less)scholarly literature and research relevant to the topic under study, and writeschapters 1, 2 and 3 of the Dissertation Proposal (DP)(Ultimately) Presents original research in an area related to their program andspecialization. (While PhD dissertations contribute to the body of research, theapplied doctorate dissertations typically contribute to practice).Receives NCU IRB approval to conduct research, collects and analyzes the dataand reports the research findings in chapters 4 and 5 of the DissertationManuscript (DM).The final manuscript is comprised of five Chapters: Chapter 1: Introduces the problem and the evidence substantiating theexistence of the problem; outlines an initial review of literature on the studytopic; articulates the purpose of the study; presents the research questionsand theoretical foundation (PhD) or conceptual framework (EdD) andprovides an overview of the research methods to be employed. Chapter 2: Provides a detailed analysis of the theory/conceptual frameworkused in the study and a detailed synthesis of the available, current,scholarly literature on all aspects of the topic, including all points of view. Chapter 3: Provides substantiation for the choice of methods and includesdetails on the planned research approach, design, and analysis. Chapter 4: Presents the study findings. Chapter 5: Summarizes the research study and presents the researchimplications and suggestions for future research.The Dissertation process is generally divided into three broad stages: preparation andapproval of the Dissertation Proposal (DP) which includes Chapters 1, 2, and 3; NCU IRBapproval to conduct research and conducting the study’s research; and preparation andapproval of the final Dissertation Manuscript (DM) which includes all elements of the DP, withthe addition of Chapters 4 and 5 to complete the manuscript including the dissertationdefense.The Dissertation process is arduous and iterative. As candidates proceed through thedissertation process, they will be required to understand and apply faculty/committee feedback.Successful engagement with faculty requires a high level of conceptual understanding.Dissertation Committee Members review and substantively evaluate work submitted bycandidates. Regular, iterative reviews of dissertation sections and drafts are a common - andCopyright 2019.Northcentral UniversityV. March 2019

4 Pageimportant - practice in the process.Dissertation Course OverviewAfter doctoral candidates have successfully passed the last course in their scheduled programcoursework (e.g. Comprehensive Examination, ePortfolio, Prospectus), they will be enrolledinto the dissertation course sequence. There are specific deliverables required for eachcourse. Each course deliverable represents a portion of the overall dissertation process. Inorder to progress successfully into a subsequent dissertation course, each final deliverablemust be completed and meet the minimum standards on the rubric assessment as completedby the committee.Remember, scholarly research is iterative and non-linear (however uncomfortable this maybe while you are going through the process). Making a change in a later version to correct anissue in a previous version may reveal new issues that need to be addressed in thesubsequently, approved, version. Ultimately, Northcentral University wants all candidates tosucceed, but we also have to ensure that our terminal outcomes meet quality standards. Tothat end, below are the steps of the Dissertation review process designed to facilitatecandidate progress.1. Northcentral University’s Chairs and SMEs provide constructive feedback prior to theDP stage. This is to ensure the candidate has a feasible and realistic plan to develop awell-conceived, substantive, quality dissertation. Individual chapter reviews,throughout the development of the DP, serve to assess if the topic is appropriate andthe planned research is sound and practical within the scope of a doctoral program.The Dissertation Proposal ensures the problem is substantiated with evidence, theresearch methods and design are in alignment and serve the purpose and addressthe problem of the topic under study. In addition, the proposal allows the candidate tocomplete an exhaustive review of current scholarly literature addressing all points ofview on the topic under study including the theory or conceptual framework used tosupport the study.2. The DP must meet the minimum standards on all rubric criteria assessed by theDissertation Chair and Subject Matter Expert to proceed to the next course in thedissertation sequence and begin the NCU Institutional Review Board (IRB) applicationprocess.3. Upon final approval of the DP, the candidate applies to NCU IRB for approval tocollect data. No data may be collected until IRB approval is obtained. Failure toobserve this rule may result in dismissal from Northcentral University.4. Following IRB approval, the candidate conducts his/her research and writes the DMin the required manner. The DM is approved by the Dissertation Chair and SME.The approved DM is then sent to the AR for review against the checklist, which mayresult in the candidate having to make changes for improvement.5. Upon final approval of the DM, the Oral Defense is scheduled. To pass this oralexamination, the candidate must be able to explain and justify what wasaccomplished by the dissertation research.Dissertation Course SequenceThe dissertation courses have been structured into discrete courses with specificdeliverables at the end of each course. Additionally, each course requires weeklyengagement between the candidate and the Chair through weekly assignmentsubmissions, similar to the current coursework requirements. These weekly submissionsare scaffolded to build the entire deliverable to meet the minimum standards of theCopyright 2019.Northcentral UniversityV. March 2019

5 Pageevaluation process by the end of the course. A few times throughout each course,candidates submit assignments to the Chair and SME, as noted in the syllabus, to receivefeedback on these components based on the rubric criterion.The dissertation sequence of courses has been designed to assist the candidate inscaffolding the development of the individual chapters of the dissertation in a timely andscholarly approach. There are four 12-week courses. The deliverables to be evaluated at theend of each course include:Dissertation course DIS-9901A – Chapter 1Dissertation course DIS-9902A – Chapter 2, Chapter 3, and final DPDissertation course DIS-9903A – IRB approval, and final Study Closure Form after dataare collectedDissertation course DIS-9904A – Chapter 4, Chapter 5, final DM, and Oral DefenseCandidates not meeting the minimum standards on the required deliverable at the end of the12-week course will be assigned to an 8-week supplemental course. The 8-week supplementalcourse provides additional committee collaboration and support, University support, and ahigher ‘hands-on’ process to expedite the candidate through the areas needing to beaddressed in meeting the minimum standards for each deliverable. These supplementalcourses also allow for candidates to continue to work on subsequent chapters and deliverablesin advance of starting the next 12-week course once the minimum standards have been met onthe current course requirements.If the candidate does not meet the minimum criteria of the required course deliverable withinthe 8-week supplemental course, the candidate is allowed to retake the 8-week supplementalcourse two more times. The third retake of the original dissertation sequence course is the finalopportunity for the candidate to meet the minimum standards for the required coursedeliverable.Not meeting minimum standards on all rubric criteria for an end of course deliverable indicatescandidates must progress to a supplemental course to work on the criterion. As a reminder, theiterative process in developing a dissertation may require the candidate go back and revisepreviously approved chapters before a final DP or DM can be approved. This must be reiteratedto the candidate throughout the development of their dissertation.In the following diagram, the dissertation course sequences are displayed. Each coursesequence block has the required deliverable to meet minimum standards displayed to progressinto the next course sequence block.Copyright 2019.Northcentral UniversityV. March 2019

6 PageThe table below illustrates the course sequence:Candidates must complete a minimum of 12-credit hours of dissertation coursework with agrade of “B” or better to satisfy degree program requirements. Students may be eligible tooverlap the last 3-credit hours in order to meet the minimum required dissertation credit hoursafter they have achieved an approved Chapter 5. Please see the catalog for additionalinformation on specific degree program requirements. Candidates should contact theirAcademic and Finance Advisor if they need additional assistanceDissertation 12-week course learning outcomes and descriptionsBelow are the course descriptions and learning outcomes for the four 12-week courses.DIS-9901A Components of the DissertationStudents in this course will be required to complete Chapter 1 of their dissertationproposal including a review of literature with substantiating evidence of the problem, theresearch purpose and research questions, the intended methodological design andapproach, and the significance of the study. A completed, committee approved (againstthe minimum rubric standards) Chapter 1 is required to pass this course successfully.Students who do not receive approval of Chapter 1 to minimum standards will be able totake up to three supplemental 8-week courses to finalize and gain approval of Chapter 1.Course Learning Outcomes1. Justify a research-worthy topic with current, relevant literature relatedto professional interests and chosen Doctoral degree.2. Develop an evidence-based problem statement in need of furtherresearch, a related purpose statement, research question(s), orapplicable hypotheses.3. Formulate a research methodology and corresponding design toaccurately address the study’s research question(s) or applicablehypotheses.4. Integrate a theoretical foundation/conceptual framework with which to groundthe study.Copyright 2019.Northcentral UniversityV. March 2019

7 PageDIS-9902A The Dissertation ProposalStudents in this course will be required to work on completing Chapters 1-3 of theirdissertation proposal and receive committee approval for the Dissertation Proposal (DP)in order to pass the class. Chapter 2 consists of the literature review. Chapter 3 coversthe research methodology method and design and to includes population, sample,measurement instruments, data collection and analysis, limitations, and ethicalconsiderations. In this course, a completed, committee-approved Chapters 2 and 3 arerequired and, by the end of the course, a final approved dissertation proposal (against theminimum rubric standards). Students who do not receive approval of the dissertationproposal will be able to take up to three supplemental 8-week courses to finalize and gainapproval of these requirements.Course Learning Outcomes1. Formulate an exhaustive, balanced, objective review of relevant andcurrent literature relative to the discipline under study which will resultin an approved Chapter 2.2. Demonstrate mastery of the current research base relevant to the disciplineunder study.3. Substantiate through current and seminal literature therelevant theoretical foundation/conceptual framework usedto frame the study.4. Formulate a detailed research design and methodology substantiating thealignment of the problem statement, purpose, research questions and/orhypotheses relevant to the discipline under study which will result in anapproved Chapter 3.5. Assemble all ancillary materials, appendices and references necessaryto complete their dissertation proposal.DIS-9903A Institutional Review Board (IRB) and Data CollectionStudents in this course will be required to prepare, submit, and obtain approval of theirIRB application, collect data, and submit a final study closure form to the IRB. Studentsstill in data collection at the end of the 12-week course will be able to take up to threesupplemental 8-week courses to complete data collection and file an IRB study closureform.Course Learning Outcomes1. Generate an IRB Application meeting federal requirements for ethicaltreatment of human subjects and all NCU IRB Guidelines.2. Develop materials and procedures to meet all levels of required sitepermissions, including non-NCU IRB approval, and DoD, military, VA, orinternational approvals, as required.3. Create appropriate materials and procedures for the ethical recruitmentof participants, informed consent, data collection, de-identified dataanalysis, and secure data storage including reporting any modificationor anomaly discovered throughout all phases of the research projectuntil it has been closed with the IRB.4. Conduct data collection upon approval of IRB Application.Copyright 2019.Northcentral UniversityV. March 2019

8 PageDIS-9904A The Dissertation Manuscript and DefenseIn this dissertation course students work on completing Chapters 4 and 5 and the finaldissertation manuscript. Specifically, students will complete their data analysis, preparetheir study results, and present their findings in an oral defense and a completedmanuscript. A completed, committee approved (against the minimum rubric standards)Dissertation Manuscript and successful Oral Defense are required to complete thecourse and graduate. Students who do not receive approval for either or both theirdissertation manuscript or defense can take up to three supplemental 8-week courses tofinalize and gain approval of either or both items as needed.Course Learning Outcomes1. Present study results aligned to the research design including the researchquestions and/or hypotheses, ensuring aligned with the doctoral degreediscipline.2. Compile study implications, recommendations, and conclusions based onstudy findings.3. Generate a final Dissertation Manuscript consisting of all requisitecomponents and revisions.4. Synthesize research study and design, findings, recommendations, andconclusions in oral defense of their completed study.An overview of the four 12-week courses and weekly expectations can be found in theindividual course syllabi.Dissertation 8-week course learning outcomes and descriptionsAn overview of the eight 8-week courses and weekly expectations can be found in theindividual course syllabi.DIS-9901B Components of the Dissertation SupplementalStudents enrolled in this course are required to complete Chapter 1 of their dissertationproposal, which includes the research problem to be investigated, its background thestudy’s purpose, and supporting evidence for the study’s significance. A completed,committee- approved (against the minimum rubric standards) Chapter 1 is requiredbefore student may advance to DIS-9902A. Students who do not receive approval ofChapter 1 will take DIS-9901C to finalize and gain approval of Chapter 1.Course Learning Outcomes1. Justify a research-worthy topic with current, relevant literature relatedto professional interests and chosen Doctoral degree.2. Develop an evidence-based problem statement in need of furtherresearch, a related purpose statement, research question(s), orapplicable hypotheses.3. Formulate a research methodology and corresponding design toaccurately address the study’s research question(s) or applicablehypotheses.4. Integrate a theoretical foundation/conceptual framework with which to groundthe study.Copyright 2019.Northcentral UniversityV. March 2019

9 PageDIS-9902B The Dissertation Proposal SupplementalStudents enrolled in this course will be required to complete Chapters 1-3 of theirdissertation proposal and receive committee approval for the Dissertation Proposal(DP). Chapter 2 consists of the literature review. Chapter 3 covers the researchmethodology to include population, sample, measurement instruments, data collectionand analysis, limitations, and ethical considerations. In this course, a completed,committee approved Chapters 2 and 3 are required in addition to a completed,approved dissertation proposal (against the minimum rubric standards) beforestudents may move to DIS-9903A. Students who do not receive approval of thedissertation proposal will be enrolled in DIS-9902C to finalize and gain approval ofthese requirements.Course Learning Outcomes1. Formulate an exhaustive, balanced, objective review of relevant andcurrent literature relative to the discipline under study which will resultin an approved Chapter 2.2. Demonstrate mastery of the current research base relevant to the disciplineunder study.3. Substantiate through current and seminal literature therelevant theoretical foundation/conceptual framework usedto frame the study.4. Formulate a detailed research design and methodology substantiating thealignment of the problem statement, purpose, research questions and/orhypotheses relevant to the discipline under study which will result in anapproved Chapter 3.5. Assemble all ancillary materials, appendices and references necessaryto complete their dissertation proposal.DIS-9903B Institutional Review Board (IRB) and Data Collection SupplementalStudents enrolled in this course will be required to prepare, submit, and obtain approvalof their IRB application, collect data, and submit a final study closure form to the IRB.They then will be enrolled in DIS-9904A. Students still in data collection at the end of thiscourse will be enrolled in DIS-9903C to complete data collection and file a study closureform.Course Learning Outcomes:1. Generate an IRB Application meeting federal requirements for ethicaltreatment of human subjects and all NCU IRB Guidelines.2. Develop materials and procedures to meet all levels of required sitepermissions, including non-NCU IRB approval, and DoD, military, VA, orinternational approvals, as required.3. Create appropriate materials and procedures for the ethical recruitment ofparticipants, informed consent, data collection, de-identified data analysis,and secure data storage including reporting any modification or anomalydiscovered throughout all phases of the research project until it has beenclosed with the IRB.4. Conduct data collection upon approval of IRB Application.5. Synthesize collected data to begin analyzing results.Copyright 2019.Northcentral UniversityV. March 2019

10 P a g eDIS-9904B The Dissertation Manuscript and Defense SupplementalStudents enrolled in this course will work on completing Chapters 4 and 5 and the finaldissertation manuscript. Specifically, students will complete their data analysis, preparetheir study results, and present their findings in an oral defense and a completedmanuscript. A completed, committee approved (against the minimum rubric standards)Dissertation Manuscript and Defense are required to complete the course and graduate.Students who do not receive approval for either or both of their dissertation manuscript ordefense will be enrolled in DIS-9904C to finalize and gain approval of either or both itemsas needed.Course Learning Outcomes1. Present study results aligned to the research design including the researchquestions and/or hypotheses, ensuring aligned with the doctoral degreediscipline.2. Compile study implications, recommendations, and conclusions based onstudy findings.3. Generate a final Dissertation Manuscript consisting of all requisitecomponents and revisions.4. Synthesize research study and design, findings, recommendations, andconclusions in oral defense of their completed study.DIS-9901C Components of the Dissertation SupplementalStudents enrolled in this course are required to complete Chapter 1 of their dissertationproposal, which includes the research problem to be investigated, its background thestudy’s purpose, and supporting evidence for the study’s significance. A completed,committee- approved (against the minimum rubric standards) Chapter 1 is requiredbefore student may advance to DIS-9902A. Students who do not receive approval ofChapter 1 will take DIS-9901D to finalize and gain approval of Chapter 1.Course Learning Outcomes1. Justify a research-worthy topic with current, relevant literature relatedto professional interests and chosen Doctoral degree.2. Develop an evidence-based problem statement in need of furtherresearch, a related purpose statement, research question(s), orapplicable hypotheses.3. Formulate a research methodology and corresponding design toaccurately address the study’s research question(s) or applicablehypotheses.4. Integrate a theoretical foundation/conceptual framework with which to groundthe study.DIS-9902C The Dissertation Proposal SupplementalStudents enrolled in this course will be required to complete Chapters 1-3 of theirdissertation proposal and receive committee approval for the Dissertation Proposal(DP). Chapter 2 consists of the literature revie

dissertation sequence and begin the NCU Institutional Review Board (IRB) application process. 3. Upon final approval of the DP, the candidate applies to NCU IRB for approval to collect data. No data may be collected until IRB approval is obtained. Failure to observe this rule