The dissertation research must be an original contribution to the field that address a fundamental question. It is expected that the major substance of the study will be published in a reputable journal and that the student will present his/her research findings at local, regional, national or international meetings of scientific societies in the student's field.

Preparation and Defense of the Doctoral Dissertation: The dissertation is prepared by the student with the guidance of his/her Advisor and Advisory Committee. Upon completion of the dissertation, the student should provide copies of the dissertation to all members of his/her Advisory Committee and one copy to the Department Head for placement in the Department Library. After an appropriate period of approximately 7 days (during which the student should be available to provide information or clarifications requested by his/her committee members), the student's Advisor will contact each member of the Advisory Committee and determine whether the member feels the dissertation is completed to a degree that will allow scheduling of the Dissertation Defense and Final Examination. If two or more members of the Advisory Committee feel the dissertation is incomplete and/or of a quality unsuitable to schedule the Defense, the Committee will meet and make specific recommendations necessary to improve the dissertation prior to scheduling the Dissertation Defense and Final Examination.

In order to schedule the Dissertation Defense and Final Examination, the student's Advisor must complete the form "Request For Dissertation/Thesis Defense and Final Examination" and submit this form and a copy of the Dissertation Abstract to the Department Head who will review the information, sign the form and submit the documents to the Dean. The approved form and Dissertation Abstract must be received by the Dean two weeks prior to the date of the Defense and Final Examination.

The Dissertation Defense and Final Examination will focus on the dissertation research and the dissertation itself. The student is expected to answer questions about the work, defend the validity of the conclusions, discuss suggestions for revisions to improve clarity, etc. At the discretion of the Advisory Committee, the Defense and Final Examination may include questions from the major or minor fields in general, but this is not the usual situation.

After the student has answered questions concerning the dissertation, the Committee will discuss the dissertation and revisions that may be necessary and vote whether the student has passed the Final Examination. Voting to accept the dissertation (with all recommended revisions) will be by ballot with no more than one negative vote permitted. If the dissertation is not acceptable and/or the student is judged to have failed the examination, the Advisory Committee is expected to inform the student in writing of the reasons for the failure. A copy of this letter is provided to the Head of the Department and to the Dean of the Graduate School, LSUHSC at Shreveport.

The Advisory Committee, the Department Head, and the full-time graduate faculty members of the Department will meet to discuss the final disposition of any student who fails the Dissertation Defense and Final Examination.

The Advisory Committee may vote to re-schedule a second Dissertation Defense/Final Examination if major revisions and/or additional experimentation are required. In this case, the student is to be informed in writing of the deficiencies and of the work that must be accomplished before a second Defense and Final Examination may be scheduled. This information must be included in the letter given to the Head of the Department and to the Dean.

Final Research Seminar and Certification: Once the student has passed the Dissertation Defense/Final Examination and the dissertation has been accepted by the Advisory Committee, the student is required to present a final research seminar open to all faculty, students, and staff. The purpose of this seminar is to allow the student to present the overall view of his/her doctoral research and to demonstrate to new and intermediate level graduate students as well as to other members of the Medical Center the high quality of research expected for the doctoral degree. It is expected that this Final Research Seminar will be a joyous occasion and often a farewell for the graduate student who will be departing to continue his/her research training as a postdoctoral fellow or to pursue other career opportunities.

When the student has passed the Dissertation Defense/Final Examination and scheduled the Final Research Seminar, he/she will be certified to the Graduate Faculty and Chancellor as having met all requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Microbiology and Immunology. The student's Advisor must complete the form "Dissertation/Thesis Defense-Final Examination Report" and have the form signed by each member of the Examining Committee and the Department Head. The Head will forward this form to the Dean.