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Dissertation and Manuscript Preparation Processes​

Welcome to The Chicago School of Professional Psychology's Dissertation and Manuscript Preparation Process ​site, the institution's central dissertation and thesis resource. Faculty and students can find information regarding manuscript preparation and additional tools and guidelines.

Students and faculty can access The Chicago School's​ Dissertation Manual here.  All doctoral students who begin their dissertation research are to use the manual to guide their work. The Chicago School Dissertation Manual provides an overview of TCSPP's model of education and associated institutional values and learning goals, a description of the Dissertation Requirements and Dissertation Process Guidelines, and additional resources to support students' needs. Your Program's Dissertation Guidelines address unique requirements of the individual programs. Students completing master’s level theses should consult their academic program for the thesis manual.

Required Dissertation Related Forms

Administrative forms can be found below. As students complete certain milestones in the dissertation process, the corresponding program requires students to demonstrate progress through timely submission of all mandatory administrative forms to the Department manager or Dissertation Designee, which is an appointed person within the department. Contact the specific department for further information on the Dissertation Designee or click here.  Refer to the following steps and The Chicago School of Professional Psychology Dissertation Manual, and check Your Program Guidelines for specific requirements.

1.      Form A – Dissertation Committee Request
The purpose of Form A is to formally document the Chair and Reader(s) comprising the committee.

2.      Form B – Dissertation Project Goals
Students and Chairs complete Form B at the beginning of each term. The form reflects the plan for dissertation progress during a given term, and goals must be the result of mutual agreement between students and Chairs.

3.      Form C – Proposal Review
Form C provides formal documentation of the committee’s decision with respect to approval of the proposal. If revisions are required, then students must submit Form C again to the committee after revisions have been made. A proposal cannot be considered successfully defended until all members of the committee are in agreement that the proposal has passed.

4.      Form D – Dissertation Review
Form D provides formal documentation of the committee’s decision with respect to approval of the final dissertation. If revisions are required, then students must submit Form D again to the committee after revisions have been made. A manuscript cannot be considered successfully defended until all members of the dissertation committee are in agreement that the manuscript has passed. The manuscript is scored along four dimensions on a scale of 1-5. A minimum score of 3.0 is needed in each dimension for it to pass.

5.      Form E – Oral Defense
Form D provides formal documentation of the committee’s decision with respect to approval of the oral defense, if an oral defense is a requirement of the academic program. If the oral defense is not passed, then students must submit Form E again to the committee. An oral defense cannot be considered successful until all members of the committee are in agreement that the oral defense has passed. The oral defense is scored along four dimensions on a scale of 1-5. A minimum score of 3.0 is needed in each category for the oral defense to pass.

The Rubric for Evaluation of Dissertation is included in Appendix B and is to be used for evaluation of the quality of the manuscript both at the proposal and defense stages of the process.


Step 1: Project Planning, Developing a Topic, and Committee Selection

Beginning a thesis or dissertation can seem like a daunting task. When starting, develop a topic of interest and research current literature of how others have progressed. Then, formulate a specific plan by setting realistic, manageable, and measureable goals for the thesis or dissertation. Establishing a plan may also serve as a guide for the selected Thesis or Dissertation Chair to follow when determining progress for assignment of credit each semester.

Then, choose a Thesis or Dissertation Chair, which is an important reference during the research process. Using Form A – Dissertation Committee Request, students can request a Chair, as well as a Reader(s). Refer to Chapter 2 of The Chicago School of Professional Psychology Dissertation Manual and Your Program Guidelines for additional information on how to select a Committee Chair and Reader(s). After selecting a Committee, complete Form B – Dissertation Project Goals with the Committee Chair to confirm objectives for the thesis or dissertation process.

For more information on how to plan the thesis or dissertation and for further guidance, refer to The Chicago School of Professional Psychology Dissertation Manual and Your Program Guidelines.

 Step 2: Proposal Development and Defense

The dissertation proposal is comprised of the first three chapters: Chapter 1, an introduction to the study; Chapter 2, a comprehensive review of the literature; and Chapter 3, a research design and methodology. Also included are a Title Page, Table of Contents, References, and Appendices as warranted. Development of a proposal is an evolutionary process, and students should expect to complete revisions on early drafts of the proposal. Once the committee revises and approves the proposal, then it is ready to proceed to proposal defense. Formal approval of the proposal may be obtained through documentation with the submission of Form C – Proposal Review, and/or through a meeting attended by the student and each member of the committee. Form C should be completed in either instance. The Rubric for Evaluation of Dissertation is to be used for evaluation of the quality of the thesis or dissertation at the proposal and defense stage. Students should carefully consider the rubric to maximize successful demonstration of the necessary elements.

Along with completing the proposal, the committee Chairperson should conduct the plagiarism check through Turn It In before data collection begins. This may be completed through a Canvas drop-box in the Dissertation Maintenance course or through directly. For both cases, the Chairperson must set up an account for There are no percentage requirements. Instead, committee members should examine the similarity index report. To learn more about Turn It In, please review the instructor guide for further information on how to set up a account.  To access account information, login to the Student Gateway and go to Your Program GuidelinesFor instructions on how to set up in Canvas, click here.

Research Resources

Appendix A – Resources for Research Design and Methodologies 
Appendix A provides a list of resources regarding quantitative research, qualitative research, and mixed method research.

TCSPP Library Resources

TCSPP Libraries
TCSPP Libraries provide access to information and materials that support the teaching, research, and public service programs of the school. The libraries support these programs by acquiring and managing scholarly information related to the theory, teaching, and practice of professional psychology, providing access to information only available elsewhere, providing reference and instruction, and exchanging information resources with other libraries around the world.

ProQuest is the location for​ doctoral dissertations and master’s theses published by students at the Chicago School and around the world.

For help with the dissertation:

Methodology Consultation
The Methodology Experts (MEs) provide methodological support for the dissertation research​. You may receive up to 2 hours of methodology consultation provided by a Methodology Expert (ME). Students have found it helpful to use a ME to break up the consultation in 30-minute cycles: preparing the methodology, analyzing the results, and presenting the findings. To contact a Methodology Expert, e-mail

Social Science Ethics Expert (SSEE) services:

IRB Application Review and Consultation Options

The Social Sciences Ethics Expert is available to offer you a review of your IRB proposal before you submit to the Chicago School of Professional Psychology Institutional Review Board (IRB). This IRB review will consider alignment and consistency within your proposal, writing mechanics, and APA format and style.

Please click here to begin the submission process for a IRB review. Also, here is a helpful checklist to guide you through some of the main IRB application requirements.

During the IRB Review process you will receive unlimited e-mail support, and one full review of your IRB Q&A Form and supplemental application forms. You may also request up to two follow-up reviews to address the implemented changes and suggestions from your first review.

You also have the option for three 30-minute consultations via phone or GoTo Meeting to discuss alignment and consistency within your proposal, writing mechanics, and APA format and style. 

If you submit your draft prior to 11:59 p.m CST. Sunday night, your application will be returned by the following Friday (approximately within 12-15 days). Your application will be returned to you via email (with your chair copied) and here in the Canvas classroom.

Any questions, please email

Click here for more information about the IRB Office and the IRB Application and Submission (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.​

Formatting Resources

See below for formatting resources.


Step 3: Institutional Review Board (IRB) Submission

After completing the proposal defense, students must complete an IRB application to begin conducting research and gathering data. Please refer to The Chicago School Dissertation Manual for information on submitting to the IRB and visit the IRB website for application materials.


Step 4: Dissertation Review and Oral Defense

After completing results or findings (Chapter 4) and discussion, limitations, and conclusions (Chapter 5), the dissertation is ready to be submitted for final review. The dissertation committee may use the Rubric for Evaluation of Dissertation to evaluate the dissertation for the final time. Form D – Dissertation Review should also be completed by the dissertation committee after final review of the completed dissertation. If revisions are needed, then an additional copy of Form D must be completed. After completing the final review, the dissertation must be submitted to for another plagiarism check.

Next, students orally defend the thesis or dissertation, if required by the department, in front of the committee. Form E – Oral Defense is completed at this time.


Step 5: Manuscript Preparation, Submission, and Format Review

When the oral defense is passed, students undergo manuscript preparation, formerly copyediting. To initiate the process, the department manager orDissertation Designee must submit the Dissertation Processing Tracking Form. Before transitioning to the manuscript preparation phase, students and the department must ensure the manuscript fulfills all committee required components and revisions. Once the department has submitted the Dissertation Processing Tracking Form to Dissertation Processing (, Dissertation Processing will notify students to proceed with manuscript processing. Department managers and designees do not submit the thesis/dissertation for students.

Writing Specialists review manuscripts for APA style, formatting, and grammar issues, and prepare them for publication via ProQuest. They do not review for content in theses and dissertations. The entire manuscript preparation process, including revisions, could take up to 60 days after students upload to ProQuest as an Initial Review. Along with the thesis or dissertation, students must submit a completed Signature Page signed by committee members to​.

The final manuscript must be neat and clean, free of typing, grammatical, and format errors. Students are responsible for editing and proofreading the final thesis or dissertation before and during manuscript processing.  When a TCSPP manuscript preparer reviews the final draft and highlights required changes, students are responsible for accurate transcription of the document presented and for uniformity of alignment, grammar, citations/references, and all other mechanics of typing.

Any errors will result in additional costs and will delay final approval of the manuscript.

Before final submission, it is students' responsibility to ensure the manuscript is ready for publishing and adheres to the TCSPP Style and Format Manual. Students must remain continuously enrolled in their degree program to complete manuscript preparation​. From Planning to Post Defense, students will find information here to guide them toward fulfilling the manuscript preparation requirement.​ The Manuscript Preparation Institutional policy can be found in the policy section of the student ha​ndbook.​ Additional resources and guides for preparing the manuscript:

Formatting Resources

All-But Dissertation Survival Guide 
APA Style Resources
Bold-Ed Papermaker Program 
How to Format Reference List Video-Presented by Purdue OWL 
OWL Purdue Online Writing Lab 
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 
Dissertation Format Checklist
Empirical Research Exam ple
Style and Format Model Pages

TCSPP Style and Format Manual

The Filing Process

Electronic Processing- Students must upload the document in full text on the ProQuest website. Dissertations and theses are also viewable through the ProQuest website.

Manuscript Preparation Electronic Submission process:

​ STEP 1
After successful oral defense (if oral defense is required), the Department Manager or Dissertation Designee e-mails the Dissertation Processing Tracking Form in a Word document to Dissertation Processing (, signaling a student's readiness to enter Manuscript Preparation, formerly copy editing.

Upon receipt of the Tracking Form, Dissertation Processing e-mails a welcome letter to students, informing them to create a profile in ProQuest and upload the manuscript for review.

On the Monday following initial submission of a manuscript to ProQuest, Dissertation Processing assigns students a Writing Specialist, who contacts students to begin the manuscript preparation process.

Writing Specialists confirm receipt of a manuscript, review each submission of revisions, and return via email, indicating areas of APA writing and formatting as well as collect students' signed Signature Page.


Students gather signatures as soon as possible from dissertation committee members and email the signed Signature Page to

After final review of a manuscript, Writing Specialists return it in a Word document via email for students to make final changes, convert to PDF format, and provide instructions for final submission to ProQuest.

Students upload final PDF of manuscript to ProQuest. Writing Specialist approves manuscript and emails completed Dissertation Processing Tracking Form to student, Chair, Department Manager or Dissertation Designee, and campus registrar, signaling students' completion of manuscript requirements. Writing Specialist delivers manuscript to ProQuest for binding and publishing.


Ready to submit your dissertation? Click on the Library Pass logo below to get started:

 Click here to watch a sample upload.

Signature Page

During the manuscript preparation process, students must obtain the signatures of their dissertation committee members for the thesis or dissertation's signature page. It is best to gather signatures as soon as possible, as it can take considerable time to locate faculty (e.g., due to travel, break, other). Also note that it is important to verify details such as the exact spelling of names and the professional titles of committee members before asking for their signatures. It is students' responsibility to circulate and complete the page.

Students can circulate their page electronically and submit by email ( Only ink or e-signatures from committee members are accepted. The completed Signature Page will be kept on file in the National Center for Teaching and Learning office. It will not be included in the published manuscript.

Publishing Options

As a condition of submitting the dissertation or thesis, all students must select a publication agreement with ProQuest.  Students may choose Traditional Publishing or Open Access Publishing.  Traditional Publishing allows the dissertation or thesis to be available to the public for purchase, and students receive royalties from the profits. Open Access Publishing allows the work to be fully viewed and accessible through PQDT Open, ProQuest's subscription database, and major search engines, if applicable. However, if you choose Open Access, there is a fee.

TCSPP h​as no publishing preference, and each work submitted is housed in The Chicago School of Professional Psychology Library Catalog with a link to the student's work in ProQuest Dissertations and Theses.   

If there are any questions regarding the publishing process, please contact or Ericka Sanders at 312-379-1611.

If you choose Traditional Publishing If you choose Open Access Publishing
Your dissertation will not be freely available in PQDT Open. Your dissertation will be freely available in PQDT Open.
You will not be charged a fee. You will be charged $95.00.
You will be eligible to receive royalties.You will not be eligible to receive royalties.​

Your dissertation will be available for purchase through ProQ​uest​. Your dissertation will be available for purchase through ProQuest.
Your dissertation will appear in ProQuest Dissertations & Theses, a subscription database. Your dissertation will appear in ProQuest Dissertations & Theses, a subscription database, and in PQDT Open.
A record for your dissertation (may include citation, abstract, preview, etc.) will appear in other ProQuest resources, in library catalogs and in indexes. A record for your dissertation (may include citation, abstract, preview, etc.) will appear in other ProQuest resources, in library catalogs and in indexes.


For more information, please contact:

Ericka Sanders at The National Center for Teaching and Learning 


Phone: 312-379-1611