Completion of Dissertation Research
Prior to beginning the writing of the thesis, the thesis committee must meet and certify that the experimental results necessary for writing the dissertation have been completed. It is very helpful for the student to present an outline of their thesis to their committee members for this meeting. Often, additional experiments are still being performed and it is important for the committee to decide if the outcome of those results is necessary for completion of the thesis or whether the thesis can be submitted successfully without the results of those remaining experiments.
If difficulties arise or if it is unclear whether the final experiments were successful, another meeting of the thesis committee should be held and a decision reached whether or not further experimentation is required. As always, a report of the meeting must be sent to the DGS, committee members, and the student.
See Appendix 6, The Nature and Role of the Doctoral Dissertation. Principles and Suggested Guidelines from the Executive Committee of the Graduate School.
Writing the Dissertation
The Graduate School provides a booklet of instructions for the preparation and presentation of the doctoral dissertation. A Dissertation Submission Packet is available from the Genetics Registrar as well as at the Graduate School Information Office. Thesis-quality paper is available through Yale RIS; this is far cheaper than other sources, they will deliver, and they can charge a grant.
Most students devote one to several monthsí full-time effort to writing their thesis. Submission deadlines always come up faster than is imagined; be sure to allow ample time to receive and incorporate the comments of the thesis committee members. The Department and the Graduate School expect the thesis advisor and the thesis committee members to be actively involved in assuring the quality of the thesis by reading unbound copies and offering constructive criticisms. Some advisors are willing to read the thesis on a chapter-by-chapter basis as it is being written, while others prefer to see a complete version. Most committee members prefer to see the complete version after the comments of the advisor are incorporated.
Each student should discuss the schedule of writing and review with the advisor and committee members early in the process. A completed draft of the thesis should be given to all committee members at least 3 weeks prior to the submission date. Each committee member will provide written and/or verbal comments that the student should address in the final copy of the thesis that is turned in to the Graduate School. The student must obtain approval from the advisor or DGS of the final version before it is finally submitted.
Graduate School degrees are awarded in December and May. Students must file a Petition for Degree with the Registrar (see Appendix 5, Schedule of Academic Dates and Deadlines and the Yale University Graduate School Programs and Policies booklet). Forms and instructions are available from the Genetics Registrar, the Graduate School or on-line. Final deadlines for petition and submission of dissertations to the Graduate School are around October 1 (for December degrees) and March 15 (for May degrees).
The Graduate School requires one original unbound copy as well as one softbound copy for each reader (usually 2 inside and 1 outside). The student should be prepared to make any changes required by any of the readers in the final copies. Prior review by the thesis advisor and thesis committee makes revisions in the final, submitted version a rare exception. If necessary, however, revisions must be submitted to the Graduate School. One bound final copy is required for the Department and students normally prepare additional copies for their thesis advisor and for themselves. The student is reimbursed for the Department hardbound copy by submitting a receipt with the bound dissertation to the Genetics Registrar.
Evaluation of the Dissertation
The dissertation will be evaluated by two "inside" readers (usually members of the thesis advisory committee, but not the thesis advisor) and one "outside" reader (who cannot be a member of the thesis committee, a member of the faculty of the Department of Genetics, or a collaborator on the thesis project or on a closely related project of the advisor). Outside readers are usually from another institution. The outside reader provides an impartial critique that helps the Graduate School to judge the quality of the thesis and to evaluate its own processes of review. Readers should be chosen by the advisor in consultation with the student.
Six weeks before the submission date, the student must provide the names and contact information for at least two potential outside readers to the DGS for approval. Please provide the DGS with this information with this form. After the DGS approves the selection of the readers, the student invites the inside readers to evaluate the thesis. The DGS invites the outside reader to evaluate the thesis; neither the student nor his/her advisor should communicate directly with the outside reader about the thesis at any time.
A Notification of Readers form must be completed online and approved by the DGS. This form must be completed by the time of submission. After the student submits the thesis to the Graduate School, the Registrar will send these copies of the thesis to the readers, who are asked to judge the acceptability of the dissertation and to provide comments. Students, in consultation with their advisor, are expected to incorporate any additional changes required by the readers into the Graduate School's unbound copy.
After the Graduate School and the Department receive written copies of all readers' reports and the requested changes have been made, the DGS, acting as the representative of the faculty of the Department of Genetics, signs a departmental recommendation form for conferral of the PhD degree. The Graduate School Deans committee and the Corporation vote to approve that recommendation. The student is notified by the Dean that the degree has been conferred.
Each student is required to give a department seminar on his/her research. The thesis seminar is scheduled through the Genetics Registrar and can occur after submission of the thesis. However, the seminar must be presented before the DGS signs the departmental recommendation form for conferral of the PhD degree. See the Graduate School Calendar for the date that the departmental recommendations are due.
Thesis Research Publications
When material is published from dissertation research, the Graduate School requires that it include a statement saying that the paper is taken from (or based on): "a dissertation submitted to fulfill in part the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Yale University".
Where a student has been supported by a training grant, regulations require that the following statement be included in publications: "This investigation was supported by National Research Service Award (number of the training grant) from the NIH (awarding unit).
The Genetics Registrar can supply the relevant grant information. If a student has received other grants (for example, NSF), these should be acknowledged, as should any financial aid received from faculty research grants.
Starting Postdoctoral Positions
Students frequently start postdoctoral positions before the degree has been formally awarded. In such cases, most institutions require a letter from an appropriate University official, such as the Registrar, DGS, or Department Chairman, which certifies that the student has satisfactorily completed all the requirements for the degree. Such a letter cannot be written until the Department has received the readers' evaluation of the thesis.