University Michigan Ann Arbor Dissertations

Before the Oral Defense

The Dissertation Evaluation

The dissertation evaluation enables the Graduate School to:

  1. Alert the dissertation chair of potential problems before the defense
  2. Assists committee members in recognizing common and diverging concerns in planning the defense
  3. Serves as a record of the committee's evaluation

Because divergent evaluations submitted by the members of a committee may require further discussion prior to the oral defense, we ask that evaluations be received by OARD at least 3 working days prior to the day of the oral defense.

If the student does not supply each committee member with a copy of the dissertation and abstract, at least 10 working days before the oral defense the committee member may ask for a postponement of the defense.

The evaluation asks you to rank and/or comment on:

  1. Whether the dissertation and abstract are acceptable:
    • As submitted
    • After minor typographical and stylistic corrections
    • After minor substantive changes
    • After substantial revisions
    • Not acceptable
  2. The scholarly character
  3. Contribution to the field
  4. Originality
  5. Quality of writing
  6. Quantity of research represented

Returning the Dissertation Evaluation


Visit the Online Evaluation System


E-mail to (Include the student name, ID number and committee member's name in the message).

Please allow enough time for the evaluation to reach us three working days before the defense.

After all of the evaluations are received and reviewed by Rackham, they will be available for review by the entire committee. The Oral Report form (that all members sign at the defense) will be available to print through the online evaluation system. Please note: The dissertation evaluations are considered part of the student's public file and the student has the right to see them after all requirements for the dissertation have been completed.

During and After the Oral Defense

The committee chair is responsible for printing, signing and returning to Rackham OARD the Final Oral Report Examination within 48 hours after the defense but no later than 5:00 p.m. on the final doctoral degree deadline date. The student should confirm with the chair that the report has been submitted. The committee signs in on the Oral Defense Examination Report included that was printed from the online evaluation system, writes the results of the oral defense in the space provided and returns the Oral Defense Examination Report to OARD.

The Chair will complete the Certificate of Dissertation Committee Approval in the online evaluation system when he/she has seen all the required revisions and corrections, then checks the appropriate box on the form and signs his/her name. The Certificate of Dissertation Committee Approval as well as the Oral Defense Examination Report must be submitted to OARD by the deadline the student is working with.

PQDT, ProQuest Digital Dissertations (PQDD)

Dissertation Abstracts, Diss. Abs., Diss Abs

Index to Theses

ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global

Indexing & authors' abstracts for most doctoral dissertations and some masters theses accepted each year in the United States and Canada (since 1861), plus thousands more from Great Britain and Ireland (since 1716), and selected other universities around the world (as far back as 1637).  Includes full-text (in PDF) of most* dissertations submitted at University of Michigan and the 14 other CIC/Big Ten Universities since 1997. 

*Two factors cause a certain percentage of dissertations not to be included:

1) Increasingly, universities are requiring that doctoral degree candidates deposit their dissertations into the university's online repository, and are changing submission to ProQuest from a requirement to an option.  For example, as of 2012, University of Michigan requires deposit of dissertations into its Deep Blue online repository, and no longer requires submission to ProQuest.  To the extent that authors elect not to submit their dissertations to ProQuest, its listings for dissertations are becoming gradually less complete over time.  (Its listings for dissertations filed at U-M have declined from being about 80% complete for 2012 to only about 25% to 20% complete for 2013 and 2014, respectively.)

2) Authors of dissertations have the right to restrict access to the full text of their dissertation from all ProQuest databases and document delivery services if they so choose.  Some publishers recommend or require blocking of access to the full text of a dissertation as a condition of publishing a revised version of a dissertation as a scholarly book.  If access to a dissertation listed in ProQuest has been restricted by the author, a notification of this appears in the full record display, to the right, above the MGet It button.

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