Program Content


Students are provided with guidance in the development of a dissertation proposal toward the end of their second year in the program. Each student’s faculty advisor will provide guidance throughout their course of study to ensure that elective courses and advanced methodology courses selected by the student will provide opportunities to develop a knowledge base and skills necessary for successful dissertation research.

The minimum number of dissertation credits is 15. During each semester of their dissertation stage, students will register for 3, 6, or 9 credits of direct supervision (GLS 753/756/759 Dissertation Supervision) with their dissertation advisor. Students must successfully pass oral defenses of both the dissertation proposal and of the completed dissertation.

Completing the Dissertation
The dissertation is a manuscript-length original work initiated and completed independently by the doctoral candidate. This work typically includes an introduction, literature review, outline of hypotheses, discussion of data and methodology, a series of analytical chapters, and a conclusion/discussion chapter of results and implications.

The steps in this process are as follows:

  1. Prepare a proposal draft that outlines the project that the student intends to undertake.

  2. Selection of a formal dissertation committee consisting of three faculty members affiliated with the Global Studies program. The Chair of the committee must be a tenured faculty member at UMass Lowell.

  3. Defense of the proposal by the student before the committee and other members of the faculty and the public who choose to attend the defense. The proposal is announced publicly throughout the university at least two weeks before the scheduled defense.

  4. After successful defense of the proposal, the student is advanced to doctoral candidacy and begins preparing the dissertation under the guidance of the dissertation committee.

  5. Once the committee has approved the work as ready for the final defense, the student proceeds to a formal oral defense of the dissertation before the committee, other faculty, and members of the public. The final dissertation defense is announced at least two weeks prior to the defense date. The committee may accept, accept subject to minor changes, require major changes, or reject the dissertation.

  6. Upon acceptance by the committee, the dissertation must meet all university requirements with regards to formatting and processing, and must be in compliance with all university requirements. Students must provide bound copies of the final dissertation to their committee as well as any university offices set forth by the Vice Provost for Graduate Education.

  7. Students are expected to meet all university regulations and deadlines for graduation.