The major requirement for the Ph.D. degree at the Tepper School of Business is the doctoral dissertation, which must be a significant research accomplishment representing a clear contribution to knowledge and containing material worthy of publication. In the Tepper School doctoral program, the dissertation may be either a monograph or a collection of related papers, depending on the nature and scope of a student's subject.
Each student at the Tepper School presents a thesis proposal in a seminar with faculty advisors and other Ph.D. students. This seminar gives the student an opportunity to exchange ideas with faculty members and other students and to collect valuable suggestions and advice on the structure and direction of the dissertation. **Students must propose by the end of their 7th semester.** If they do not, they can request an extension from their advisor and the PhD head. If extension is granted, they must propose by the 9th semester. [This requirement applies to all PhD students who took qualifying exams in January 2013 and after].
If the faculty approves the dissertation topic, a dissertation committee is appointed. This committee, usually composed of three faculty members from the student's major field and allied areas, guides the student in completing the dissertation and in developing research skills that meet the highest professional standards. The dissertation and the final oral defense should demonstrate a student's command of the field of study, independence in defining and solving a problem in that field and skill in communicating ideas.