PhD Dissertation Checklist: Pro Writing Tips For PhD Students

A dissertation is a well-organized piece of writing. Completing a dissertation on time is not an easy task, but it takes time and effort. Furthermore, you have to achieve several milestones to complete a dissertation. Those milestones also work as a checklist for writing a dissertation. The students must cover the points of the checklist before the deadline. If a student doesn’t cover those dissertation points effectively, it may affect the quality of the dissertation. Some students do not know enough about the dissertation checklist and tips to cover it. Keeping this in mind, this article is all about the PhD dissertation checklist and tips for writing it.

PhD Dissertation Checklist

A brief overview of PhD dissertation checklist is given below:

Topic Approval For PhD Dissertation

It is a fact that you can’t commence the dissertation writing task without the approval of the topic from supervisor. Usually, students have to select their dissertation topic on their own. Sometimes, teachers and professors may provide a list of the available topics to students. Students need to select a topic and get approval from their supervisor. Usually, the students have to get their topic approved within eight weeks.

Often, you also need to get approval from the board. The board consists of expert teachers and field professionals. You need to make some slides and present them in front of the board members. You should be prepared for a hard questioning session from the board members. They will analyze your research skills and test you on the basis of your field knowledge. Once done with this, the board either approves your topic or rejects it. The important point here is that you need to get topic approval first.

Ethics Form Approval from Supervisor and Committee

PhD researchers must conduct their research with integrity and transparency. Ethics form approval is an important point in dissertation checklist. In this form, you consent to your supervisor that you will work ethically. The research committee also wants you to declare any conflicts of interest that may hinder the dissertation’s progress. The members want you to be honest and transparent in your research. That is why they send you an ethics form, and after filling it out, you have to get their approval.

Steps of Research and Data Collection

Writing a PhD dissertation requires a huge amount of data. This data is collected by adopting a data collection technique. Every dissertation employs different techniques to collect the data. For example, in the case of a scientific dissertation, you collect data by employing quantitative methods. Qualitative methods are used in the case of sociology and psychology dissertations.

Sometimes, you need to research a lot to collect relevant data. You have to go to the libraries and read tons of information. Also, you need to search on the internet and gather relevant information on your topic. All these things come under the checklist, which you have to achieve to produce a good PhD dissertation.

Drafting Dissertation Chapters

After searching for the relevant material, the next thing is writing PhD dissertation. A dissertation typically consists of five chapters. After research, you need to write those chapters. Remember, after writing, they do not become the final chapters. In fact, after the first writing, the chapters are your first draft. There are still numerous mistakes in those chapters that you need to fix. Hence, the important step at this stage is drafting dissertation’s chapters.

Chapter Vise Approval from Supervisor

A dissertation is a lengthy piece of writing. It is always advisable to approach the supervisor after writing every chapter. It will become problematic for you if you go after completing your dissertation. The rule is simple: rectifying a single chapter’s mistakes is easier than fixing the whole dissertation’s mistakes. Therefore, you should go to your supervisor after completing a chapter. The supervisor will review your chapter. He will either approve the chapter or ask you to modify it according to the recommendations.

An advantage of taking chapter vice approval is that you will not repeat the mistakes. Once you know that your teachers have marked these changes, you will be careful about them in the next chapters of the PhD dissertation.

Formatting and Editing as per the University Guidelines

Once you have written down your dissertation, the next step in your checklist should be to work on formatting and editing. After completing the first draft, there are still many flaws and mistakes that you need to take care of. To rectify those mistakes, you have to format and edit the PhD dissertation as per the university guidelines. University guidelines are the key to perfectly formatting a dissertation. There will be a description of the writing style you must adopt in those guidelines. Also, the professors always mention the standard formatting requirements in those guidelines, e.g., font style, font size, margins etc.

Dissertation editing and proofreading is another important step in the checklist. This step removes all your dissertation’s linguistic, grammatical, and punctuational mistakes. It is not easy to review the work you have completed on your own. No one wants to look for his own mistakes. It is why formatting and editing come under dissertation milestones.

Dissertation Submission and Approval

The PhD dissertation becomes ready to submit once you complete the editing process. Now, there is only one hurdle left, and that is the final approval from the supervisor that you have to add to the checklist. You submit your dissertation, and the supervisor reviews it for the final time. After careful evaluation, he either approves the dissertation or returns for further modification.

Dissertation Defence and Committee Approval

After months of research, you have finally completed your PhD dissertation. It is time to defend your dissertation in front of the committee members. A dissertation defence is the last point in the checklist. You need to prepare a PowerPoint file of your research in which you present all the results. The committee, after listening to you and cross-questioning, approves the dissertation.


After a detailed discussion of PhD dissertation checklist, as mentioned above, you must see how important these steps are. In order to produce a good dissertation, you must ensure proper working on these steps. Getting approval from the committee member is the most challenging task. You must be prepared for hard-hitting questions.

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