Students can be reimbursed for up to $500 in dissertation expenses (e.g. mailings).
(Each stage is discussed in detail below)
1. Human Subjects Certification Program (HSCP)
- Human Subjects Certification Program (HSCP)
- IRB Review and Approval of your Research
- Applying for Graduation
- The Defense
- Submitting your Dissertation for Publication
The Human Subjects Certification Program is a web-based education program for all principal investigators and other key personnel who are named on protocols that involve human subjects. As a requirement for an assurance of compliance, which allows an institution to receive federal funding for research involving human subjects, the federal Office for Human Research Protections (OHRP) has mandated that principal investigators and other key personnel involved in human subject protocols participate in education designed to increase understanding of the regulations, policies, and ethical standards governing the protection of human subjects. Certification of successful completion of the education program is required before NIH funds will be awarded for competing applications or contract proposals involving human subjects. Investigators submitting non-competing renewal applications for grants or annual reports for contracts that involve human subject research must also include the certification in their annual progress reports. Go to the website to first request a user ID to complete the HSCP online.
2. IRB Review
The Institutional Review Board for the Protection of Human Subjects in Research (IRB) is the body at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey (Rutgers), charged with the protection of individuals who volunteer to participate in research conducted by University personnel (including students). All research protocols that involve human subjects must be reviewed and approved by the IRB prior to initiation of study procedures. The IRB is an autonomous body, i.e., decisions of the Board may not be influenced by any individual, department, office or other University entity. Once your dissertation proposal is accepted, you will then apply for review by the IRB and you need to have your certification completed before this to avoid delays. The IRB meets monthly, except during August, when there is no meeting. The deadline for submission of materials for review at the IRB meeting is the 12th of the preceding month, e.g.: Applications submitted by the 12th of September will be reviewed at the October IRB meeting. Applications for Exempt review may be submitted at any time and are reviewed on a rolling basis.
There are three levels of IRB review: exemption, expedited review, and full review.
Exemption: Protocols that present extremely low levels of risk to participants and include only procedures described in six specific categories of research (available online at may qualify for exemption. The investigator must complete a Request for Exemption form, attach a copy of the research protocol and all relevant documents, and submit two copies of the packet (1 original plus 1 copy) to the IRB for review. After administrative review is completed, the investigator is notified of the outcome by email or regular mail.
Expedited Review: Protocols that present no more than minimal risk to subjects and include only procedures described in nine specific categories of research may qualify for expedited review. The investigator must complete an Application for IRB Review of A Research Protocol that Involves Human Subjects, attach a copy of the research protocol and all relevant documents, and submit five copies of the entire packet to the IRB for review. After review by two assigned IRB members, the investigator is advised of the outcome by email or regular mail.
Full Review: Protocols that do not meet the criteria for either exemption or expedited review must be reviewed by the convened IRB. The investigator must complete an Application for IRB Review of A Research Protocol that Involves Human Subjects, attach a copy of the research protocol and all relevant documents, and submit five copies of the entire packet to the IRB for review. After preliminary review by two IRB members, the protocol is presented and discussed at a convened meeting of the full IRB. The investigator is notified of the outcome shortly after the meeting by email or regular mail.
3. Applying for Graduation
Diplomas can be issued three times per year: October, January and May but there is only one commencement (in May). You should have an idea when you will complete your degree requirements, and review this with your advisor. When you have selected a date, you need to complete a Graduate Diploma Application. If you plan to graduate in October, then you need to complete this form and take one copy to the Graduate School (4th Floor Hill), give one to Gail Daniels in the School office, and give the original to the Registrar in Blumenthal Hall (3rd floor) by August 1. For a January graduation, you will do the same by November 1 and for a May graduation, you will hand in these forms no later than March 1.
4. The Defense
Your defense is ready to be scheduled once your Chair informs the Ph.D. Director that it is ready. Once that has been done, you will select a date and time when your committee members are available and book the room with the office.
Electronic and hard copies of your dissertation must also be submitted to the School two weeks in advance of your scheduled defense for public review. Coordinate scheduling and the public announcement of the defense with office staff.
Before the defense, also schedule an appointment with the Assistant Dean, Gail Daniels, to ensure that all of your student records and transcripts are complete and in order.
The day before the defense, go to the Graduate School (4th floor Hill Hall) and retrieve your candidacy form. You will need to have this form at the defense. You will also need two original copies of the first page of your dissertation so that all members of your committee can sign them. These two original pages will also need to be submitted to the Graduate Studies when you submit the dissertation.
5. Submitting the Dissertation
Beginning in May of 2009, Rutgers will require doctoral dissertations to be submitted exclusively in electronic form.
To ease into the process, doctoral students can do practice runs as often as necessary and receive feedback from the Graduate Dean's office, as to whether all is in order, prior to making their final submission. The formatting instructions have been rewritten for electronic submission and are posted on the website at the check box, "Author Guidelines" at the bottom of the Step 1 page. Instructions are included for copyright and submission to ProQuest/UMI (University Microfilms).
The electronic dissertation will be maintained in the Rutgers University library system. Two original cover pages hand-signed by the student's dissertation committee members will still be required to be submitted to the Graduate Dean's office for permanent record, even when the dissertation is submitted electronically.