Graduate Studies

General Instructions

WIU theses and dissertations reflect on the student, the department, and the University. Thus, it is in all our interests that they are of the highest quality and format.

The graduate student's original thesis/dissertation will be permanently housed in the University Archives and cataloged so that it will be available to researchers. A copy will be available via interlibrary loan upon request.

Dissertation Committees

The dissertation committee composition is defined by each individual doctoral program.  Contact the appropriate department chair/program director to determine membership rules for dissertation committees.

Thesis Committees

The thesis committee shall be comprised of a minimum of three departmental faculty, of which one shall serve as chair.  The chair must be a full member of the graduate faculty.  Other committee members must be full or associate members of the graduate faculty.  Additional graduate faculty can be added to the committee per departmental policy.

Research – Human Subjects

Any research that involves human subjects, whether funded or not, that is undertaken by WIU faculty, academic staff or student or supported by Western Illinois University , must be reviewed by the WIU Institutional Review Board (IRB). Prior to collecting any data from human subjects for research purposes or soliciting subjects for a research study, approval must be granted by the IRB.

A research protocol MUST be reviewed by the IRB under these guidelines if it meets all three of the following criteria: 1) it involves human beings as subjects (this includes surveys and interviews); 2) it is research as defined by University guidelines; and 3) the intention to publish or disseminate results OR the POSSIBILITY of publishing or disseminating results exists. If a project meets these criteria, the protocol must be reviewed and receive an exemption or approval through the expedited or full board review process. For more information see


It is the student's responsibility to obtain permission to reproduce copyrighted material such as adapting all or part of a table or figure from a copyrighted source for inclusion in their thesis or dissertation. When permission is granted, the reproduced table or figure must be noted with the original author and copyright holder.

Compliance with copyright law is imperative. Information on copyright issues is available from the following web sites:

Submitting Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Go to to submit electronic thesis or dissertation. The signed approval page can be included in your submission or sent to the School of Graduate Studies.

ETD Submission Fee

For the latest fees, go to Submission fee includes one bound copy for the WIU library. If the thesis or dissertation is to be copyrighted, an additional fee is required.

Doctoral Survey Form

Survey of Earned Doctorate forms should be submitted to the School of Graduate Studies, Sherman Hall 116 prior to commencement.

Deadline Dates for Submission

Submission of final thesis/dissertation is the Friday before finals week (fall & spring semester) or the Friday before classes end (summer term).

Responsibility for Preparation and Evaluation of Theses/Dissertations

The Graduate Student's Responsibility

The content, research quality, grammatical style, and spelling of the thesis/dissertation is the responsibility of the student and the department. University Archives and the School of Graduate Studies, however, reserve the right to reject original copies of the thesis/dissertation which contain gross examples of the following problems:

  • Missing pages or appendixes
  • Misnumbered pages, or pages without numbers
  • Margins narrower than specified herein

The Thesis/Dissertation Committee's Responsibility

  1. Approve the subject matter and methodology of the research.
  2. Approve the organization, content and format.
  3. Review the quality of data and evidence, logical reasoning and the editorial, linguistic and bibliographic quality.
  4. Evaluate the thesis or dissertation as a basis for certification that the student has fulfilled the requirements of the degree for which the student is a candidate.
  5. Provide counsel and advice upon request by students and members of the student's committee about the format aspects of theses and dissertation preparation.
  6. Check the final draft of each thesis or dissertation to insure that it has been prepared in conformity with the requirements of this guide.

Graduation Information

Application for Graduation - All students, whether attending the commencement ceremony or not, must submit an application for graduation. Deadline to apply is March 10 for the spring semester, June 10 for the summer term, and October 10 for the fall semester.

Letters of Completion - If requested, a letter will be prepared for students who have been cleared for graduation by the School of Graduate Studies and the department. The letter states that all requirements have been met and that the degree will be awarded on a specified date. Therefore, letters of completion can be issued only after completion of all degree requirements. Letters may be requested at the School of Graduate Studies.