Dissertation Resources and Guidelines

Graduate Academic Services

Graduate Academic Services handles the Dissertation process, including forms and advising. Mike Del Valle is the Director of Graduate Academic Services, and can be reached at (909) 448-4434, or by email at mdelvalle@laverne.edu.

Mailing address:

1950 Third St.
La Verne, CA 91750
Office: Woody Hall

Organizational Leadership Doctoral Program (Ed.D.)

Mailing address:

1950 Third Street
La Verne, CA 91750
Office: Leo Hall Rm 101
Jason Balog, (909) 448-4369

Jason can give you direction on any question you may have about the process. If we do not know the answer, we will direct you to the person who does.


The Organizational Leadership Doctoral Program and Graduate Academic Services prepared this document to help you understand the dissertation process. We welcome you to call anytime for clarification or further information.


The quality of a dissertation reflects both the individual candidate and the University of La Verne. For this reason, the faculty shares your desire to make the dissertation worthy of publishing. The guidelines will assist the students in the design and conduct of the study and facilitate the content aspects of manuscript preparation.

Process to move from Coursework to Dissertation

  1. Complete at least two years of coursework within the Ed.D. program.
  2. Participate in the Comprehensive Review/Candidacy Benchmark process at the end of coursework year two.
  3. Students will create a two-page prospectus (as part of the Candidacy Benchmark process) about their intended dissertation topic.
  4. Students will be asked to list their top three choices for their dissertation committee chair.
  5. The Ed.D. program faculty will make the final determination of student/chair matches.
  6. Students will meet with their dissertation chair to determine their committee members and discuss their dissertation proposal. Form 1 can be submitted after the Comp Review and meeting with their chair.

Dissertation Procedures

This dissertation process moves according to the following sequence:

  1. Recommendations for Dissertation Committee Members (Form 1).
  2. Approval of Formal Study Proposal based on Chapters 1, 2 and 3 of the Dissertation (Form 2).
  3. Obtain IRB – Institutional Review Board Approval Prior to Data Collection.
  4. Collect and Analyze Data and Prepare Chapter 4 and 5 of the Dissertation.
  5. Approval for Oral Defense (Form 3).
  6. Oral Defense Approval Status (Form 4).
  7. Sample Dissertation Signature Page
  8. Revisions and Manuscript Review.
  9. Final Approval with Dean’s Sign-off.

These sequential steps must be followed in order. The student, not the Dissertation Chair, is responsible for accurately completing the forms, obtaining signature from the committee members, and submitting the forms and appropriate documentation, as he/she proceeds through the various segments of the dissertation process. These Forms are submitted to the Organizational Leadership Program office FIRST. The office will process the forms and forward them to the Graduate Academic Services Office.

Dissertation Forms

To obtain the required forms, as indicated above, please visit Graduate Academic Services.

Recommendations for Dissertation Committee Members

Only full-time Ed.D. program faculty at University of La Verne may serve as the chair of dissertation committees. Students are eligible to move toward their comprehensive review/candidacy benchmark process toward the end of year 2 coursework. During the comprehensive review/candidacy benchmark process, students will be asked to provide the names of the EdD Program faculty that they would like to be matched with as the dissertation chair. The program faculty will meet to create the final list of matches for dissertation chair between the eligible students and the Ed.D. program faculty. After successfully completing your comprehensive review, a student may can formally connect with the dissertation chair. The chair will discuss with the student those members who can bring a content expertise and/or a methodological expertise to the committee and the process. There are three members on each dissertation committee including the dissertation chair. The committee members must have an appropriate earned doctorate degree, and a CV on file with Graduate Academic Services. The dissertation chair may include a fourth member to enrich the research in a meaningful way. The dissertation chair and each committee member will note her/his willingness to serve on the dissertation committee by signing the dissertation committee Form 1, which is submitted to the Ed.D. program chair for approval. Once approved by the program chair, the form is sent to Graduate Academic Services who would share a copy of the approved form designating the committee and will transmit contracts to the approved committee.

Approved List of Dissertation Chairs: Ed.D.

This list is subject to change without notice.

  • Shari Fox
  • Ron Hallett
  • MD Haque
  • Yvette Latunde
  • Sunny Liu
  • Kristan Venegas
  • Kimberly White-Smith
  • Rich Whitney

Download ULV Guidelines APA 7th Edition.

Meetings between the student and the committee members may be held any way the members of the committee deem necessary. Because the University does not pay for travel for committee meetings, much communication is done virtually or by phone, fax, and/or email. The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (7th edition) has been approved as a style manual to be used by the students of the Ed.D. program at University of La Verne. There are minimal variances to the APA 7th edition, these are noted within the ULV Guide APA 7th Ed effective August 2020. Students need to be knowledgeable of the contents of the manual as they write their dissertations. The University of La Verne has specific requirements that vary from APA. Those include: margins, inserting tables and figures into the text of the dissertation, pagination, and spacing.

The summary of APA and University of La Verne requirements can be accessed by clicking here.


University of La Verne dissertations contain 5 chapters:

  • Chapter 1: Introduction
  • Chapter 2: Literature Review
  • Chapter 3: Methodology
  • Chapter 4: Findings
  • Chapter 5: Discussion of Findings and Conclusion.

Approval for Formal Study Proposal – Form 2

After the committee has been determined, you write a dissertation proposal, which is to be approved by the committee. The approval process includes a written document (Chapters 1-3) and participating in a proposal defense. Once approved, Form 2 is signed and submitted to the Ed.D. program office. The approval (Form 2) is then placed in your file in Graduate Academic Services. Students may move to IRB submission immediately AFTER their Form 2 is approved. .

IRB – Institutional Review Board for the Protection of Human Participants

All research involving human subjects that meets the criteria set forth in (45 CFR 46.102 (d) and (f)), irrespective of funding and/or funding source, conducted at University of La Verne and/or by any University of La Verne faculty, staff or students (full-time/part-time status and/or undergraduate/graduate level), must be reviewed by University of La Verne’s Institutional Review Board (IRB). No research activities involving human subjects may commence until the IRB has reviewed and approved the protocol and issued a written notice of approval.

The Ed.D. program abides by all IRB rules, regulations, and practices; for the most up-to-date policy, please visit the Institutional Review Board website.

University of La Verne IRB Application Procedures

Once a student passes the preliminary defense and the dissertation committee members sign off form 2, he/she can submit the IRB application through IRB Manager. Before you submit an application and research protocol for IRB approval, you must first complete the University’s human subjects training (Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative or CITI training). A valid and unexpired certificate of completion of human subjects training is required to submit the IRB application. As an Ed.D. student, you will need to complete the basics training for the “Social and Behavioral Research Training for Investigators”. You will need to log in to University of La Verne student portal to access to both CITI Training and IRB Manager.

After you have completed IRB training, you may begin drafting your IRB application on the IRB Manager.  It is important to begin the process of securing IRB approval well in advance of when you will need to start your research.  IRB reviews can take time to complete. Your dissertation chair will discuss with you the different categories of review and help you decide which is most appropriate for your research.  All protocols must be accompanied by documents demonstrating how you, the researcher, will gain consent of subjects and how the confidentiality of subjects will be protected.  Copies of recruitment materials and consent forms must accompany your application.  There is a template for a consent form on the IRB website.  While you do not have to follow this template format exactly, your consent form must include the same information, in roughly the same order.  Copies of all research instruments must also be submitted.

After you have submitted your IRB protocol on IRB Manager and your dissertation chair approves it, you have two possible routes to follow.  If the research requires a full IRB review, it must be scheduled for a review by the full membership of University of La Verne IRB. If the protocol requires other levels of review, that is, exempt or expedited, it may be sent directly to the IRB Director/Chair for review. The University IRB consists of faculty members from each College.  The IRB meets monthly to review protocols.  It is important to submit your application before the deadline for that month’s review.  You may obtain a schedule of IRB meeting dates by contacting the IRB.

The IRB reviews and responds to proposals at three levels, depending on the type of research proposed.

  • Exempt: Six categories of research involving human subjects qualify for exemption from federal regulations governing the protection of human subjects. A determination of eligibility for exemption must be made by the IRB or its designee. Exempt research must also comply with state laws, University of La Verne policy, and conform to sound research ethics/principles.
  • Expedited (minimal risk): An “expedited” review procedure can be used when research has been determined to be of “minimal risk” to subjects (i.e., “poses no more risk to subjects than would be encountered by the average person in his/her daily activities”) and involves only the procedures listed in the federally described categories of expedited review. All federal, state and local regulations must be taken into consideration. The standard requirements for informed consent (or its waiver or alteration) apply.Expedited reviews may be carried out by the IRB chair, or by one or more experienced reviewers designated by the chair from among members of the IRB.
  • Full IRB review: Research that does not qualify as exempt or for expedited review must undergo a full review by a quorum of IRB members. The application process is the same as for expedited review; however, it is recommended that researchers allow two to four months from the time of submission until approval. Researchers should also be aware that the initial full review process frequently does not result in an outright approval of the research; minor or major revisions and written clarifications are often requested.

A well-prepared exempt or expedited IRB application can take up to 2 weeks to be approved. If your study requires a full review, it can take 4-8 weeks to be approved as it must be decided upon at a University IRB monthly meeting. Applications that are correctly completed tend to be processed quickly. Multiple rounds of corrections and review tend to delay applications, therefore please plan ahead.

When you receive your approval letter from the IRB, save a copy of the letter for future reference. If you later submit any amendments to your application to the IRB, a copy of the approved amendments should be saved as well. Doctoral students will need to include a copy of the IRB approval letter in the appendix of their dissertation and specifically list it in your table of contents.

After you obtain IRB approval, you may begin your research.  However, approval is generally valid only for a maximum of one year.  If your research extends beyond one year, even if you are only analyzing data from the study, you must receive approval from the IRB to continue.  If you change any aspect of your research methodology, you must file an amendment to your approved application.  The form and instructions for submitting a request for continuation or an amendment are available at the IRB website.  It is critical that you obtain approval for any changes to an IRB protocol prior to enacting the changes.  If, for example, you have not received approval for changes to your dissertation study, you will not be able to pass your dissertation defense.  When you have completed your research, you need to complete a final continuing review form, marking it on the front as “final report,” to submit it to IRB.  This lets IRB know that your research protocol is no longer current.

Important Notes

  • Researchers cannot self-exempt (declare their own study as “Not Human Subject Research”)!
  • Only the IRB can determine if your research is “Not Human Subjects Research” (meaning it does not require formal IRB Approval). If a study involves Human Subjects and/or Human Subjects Data, the primary researcher must submit their project on the IRB Manager to determine if the project qualifies as “Research” which requires IRB review and approval.
  • Once an activity is determined to involve University of La Verne as an institution being engaged in human subjects research, whether it be involved in some aspect of the research, then research is required to be reviewed by University IRB.

Approval for Oral Defense Date – Form 3

You work with your committee writing and revising drafts until all three members of the committee agree that the dissertation has reached final draft state and is ready for oral defense. Based on the advice from the dissertation committee members, you will decide the date, place and time of the oral defense. Your manuscript should be submitted to your committee members two weeks prior to your defense date. Check with your chair and committee if they prefer an electronic copy or hard copy. It is preferable for the oral defense to be held on the University campus but not necessary if there is a need to do otherwise.

It is your responsibility to make all logistical arrangements associated with the oral defense. These arrangements must be completed at least two weeks in advance of the defense. Never assume that equipment will be available in the room scheduled for the presentation.

Policy for Participation in Commencement Ceremony

Prior to April 1 of the year for the spring commencement and November 15 for the winter commencement:

  1. Student must have completion of, or enrollment in all program courses and requirements,
  2. Student must have submitted Form 3 requesting approval for the oral defense of the dissertation and required documents.
  3. Fees, forms, and other requirements by Graduate Academic Services accompany Form 3.

Prior to the deadline to apply for attending the Commencement:

  1. Student must have successful defense of the dissertation. The graduate application must be submitted to the Graduate Academic Services Office.
  2. The cap and gown order form can also be found on line at the commencement website.

These forms may also be obtained by contacting Graduate Academic Services and/or consulting their website.

Logistical arrangements include:

  • Scheduling the date, time, and room for the oral defense.
  • Arranging for all equipment needs through the campus Office of Information and Technology (x4130) if the defense will be held on the University of La Verne campus. Most classrooms are smart rooms and have a projector set up and already installed but you should confirm this at the time of reservations. If the defense is to be held off campus, you should discuss your equipment needs with your Dissertation Chair. Equipment needed might include overhead projector, screen, whiteboard, chalkboard, slide projector, video monitor/and player, and/or computer equipment.
    Assuring that all slides and/or photocopies are accurate and complete before the presentation – resources needed to create additional transparencies or copies may not be available you on the day of the defense. Remember, all equipment and materials for the oral defense are your responsibility.

The Graduate Academic Services Office must receive Dissertation Form 3 – Approval for Oral Defense, and accompanying documents at least two weeks prior to the date chosen for your defense.

Oral Defense Approval Status – Form 4

Graduate Academic Services will distribute the announcement of the oral defense among graduate faculty members on campus.

At the defense, you should provide:

  1. a copy of your completed Form 4, and
  2. two copies of the offiicial ULV EdD Signature Page;

A unanimous vote of all committee members is required to pass the oral defense. At the conclusion of the oral defense, you may be:

  1. passed with no revisions necessary,
  2. passed with minor revisions,
  3. passed with major revisions,
  4. continued to another oral defense date due to the significance of the required changes, or
  5. failed, with recommended follow-up action.

The Committee chair will authorize your final dissertation manuscript to be submitted for the post defense requirements and processes.

Revisions and Manuscript Review After the Oral Defense

The following steps after the Oral Defense of the Dissertation will expedite the final signing of the dissertation by the Dean within the one-year time limit from the date of the Oral Defense.

  1. Submit Form 4 to Ed.D. Program Office.
  2. Be sure to have your Dissertation Chair and Committee Members sign two originals of the signature page. These pages will be held by the Dissertation Chair until all revisions are completed.
  3. You will most likely have manuscript revisions to make. Make the changes in your dissertation as agreed upon by your committee at the oral defense. Submit to the Chair and Committee as specified at the Oral Defense.
  4. Once your committee has approved your revisions, type the dissertation in its final form following APA format with Dissertation Chair approval and the University of La Verne Dissertation Guidelines. Follow the order in this booklet for the dissertation.
  5. Submit the following to the Graduate Academic Services Office:
    1. One copy of the dissertation – unbound on plain paper
    2. Two original signature pages with committee signatures.

Producing the Dissertation: Printing and Paper

The University of La Verne requires that the original of the final dissertation be typed that yields clear, dark, letter or laser-quality copy. The document should be submitted in a 12-point size, preferably in Courier or a Roman-style font (e.g., Times) or a straightforward, sans-serif type (e.g., Helvetica). Script or elaborate, fancy type fonts are not acceptable. The paper on which the dissertation is produced should be bright white, twenty-four (24) pound cotton (at least 25%) fiber bond. Erasable bond paper is unacceptable as the typed material may be erased with a common rubber eraser.

At this point, your dissertation will be forwarded to the manuscript reviewer. Expect that the reviewer will have your dissertation a minimum of two weeks, sometimes longer, depending on the volume of documents being submitted. Graduate Academic Services will return your dissertation to you for required corrections after the review.

If the revisions are major, the APA review will have to be redone after you make the necessary changes. The first review is complimentary. If the reviewer finds major errors and requests a second manuscript review, an additional $100.00 reviewer fee must accompany the revised copy. Since, in this circumstance, the dissertation will undergo a second reading and further correction, only one unbound copy and the pages showing marked corrections needs to be resubmitted. A third or fourth review may require even higher reviewer fees.

Final Approval with Dean’s sign-off

When the final corrections are complete, submit the following items to Graduate Academic Services:

  1. All pages marked by the manuscript reviewer
  2. One original and a high-quality copy of the finalized dissertation
  3. Dissertation fee made payable to University of La Verne. (See current University of La Verne Catalog or call Graduate Academic Services for amount)
  4. Cashiers check or money order (if copyright claim is desired). Make the cashiers’ check or money order in the amount listed in the booklet payable to PQIL.
  5. Microfilm Form with the following:
    1. Title page ( no date)
    2. Abstract – 8 ½ X 11 – 350 words or less, two copies. The abstract will be reproduced by ProQuest exactly as it is received.

When the Dean signs the signature pages, grade change reports for 698a and 698b are sent to the Registrar’s Office to complete the credits for the doctoral program. This completes the dissertation process, and the doctoral degree will be posted if all financial obligations to the University are fulfilled and all other program requirements are met.

Commencement Information

The Organizational Leadership program participates in the both (Spring and Fall) formal Commencements with the LaFetra College of Education. There is also a separate Hooding Ceremony for just the EDD class for that respective year. The Ed.D. hooding ceremony only takes place during the spring commencement season. All doctoral students cleared for commencement (Fall and Spring) since the previous hooding ceremony are invited to participate. It consists of Ed.D. Doctoral graduates only. It is attended by faculty, graduates, families, and friends. The President and other university officials are often there to celebrate in these doctoral festivities. As part of the ceremony, you receive your doctoral hood as a gift from the Organizational Leadership Program. There are a maximum number of guests you may invite, depending on the size of the graduating class. Extra seats are given on a first come, first serve basis, after all graduate initial responses have been received. During this celebration there are generally light refreshments with your guests and a program that includes receiving your doctoral hood. You will have a one-minute moment at the microphone and proceed to your seat.

Contact will be made via email and telephone after April 1, or November 15, when all graduate applications have been processed. Be sure to update your contact information with the Organizational Leadership Office after your oral defense and/or if it changes anytime before graduation.


Continuous Registration, Inactivation, Leave of Absence, Reinstatement/Readmission, Extensions, and Re-entry

Please visit Graduate Academic Services for more information or if you have any questions. Remember, these guidelines are subject to change at any time. Good luck and enjoy your Dissertation activities and process!