The Catholic University of America

 Thesis and Dissertation Guidance


Doctoral students are admitted to candidacy by vote of the faculty in their Academic Area before presenting their dissertation proposals to the faculty. Candidacy goes into effect the first day of the semester after admission to candidacy has been granted, the form has been signed by the associate dean, and the admission has been entered into Cardinal Station, the student’s file and tracking sheet.

Dissertation or Thesis research requires special registration. A permission number is available through the student’s director or advisor or from the Assistant Director of Graduate Admissions.  When registering online in Cardinal Station, the student enters the class number for his/her Director, and then enters the permission number after clicking on the class number.  Since project proposal research requires consultation with the student’s director and readers, students must register for Doctoral Dissertation Guidance or S.T.L. Guidance during the semester in which the project proposal is submitted for approval.  These registrations carry a fee that is equivalent to three credit hours.

The ordinary registration status for doctoral students who are in the process of writing their dissertation under the active direction of their advisors is dissertation guidance for three credit hours per semester. Doctoral students who have received permission to register in absentia are allowed only minimal contact with their advisors and use of the university libraries. Advisors and readers may not read or correct the work of doctoral students who are registered in absentia.

Doctoral students must be registered for three credit hours of dissertation guidance:

  • In the semester in which they present their dissertation proposal to the faculty
  • In the semester in which they defend their dissertation.
  • In any semester in which their director and/or readers are reviewing their material

S.T.L. students should register for S.T.L. Thesis Guidance for three consecutive semesters, beginning with their second semester in the program. S.T.D. students should register for four semesters of Doctoral Dissertation Guidance beginning with the first semester of the program. Students who received an S.T.L. degree from STRS only need to register for two semesters of dissertation guidance.

In the event that it is determined that a faculty member of a university other then CUA might be invited to serve as a reader for a dissertation, the faculty advisor and student should submit that person’s name, CV and a written rationale for the Dean’s approval prior to inviting him/her to serve in this capacity.  Ordinarily the Dean would then discuss the matter with the student and faculty advisor and make a decision.  In all circumstances the Dean will reply in writing to such a request.

To get permission codes for dissertation direction, contact the Assistant Director for Admissions.