Thursday, July 30, 2009

Wrapping It Up

Graduation cake of Dr. Sara Moslener, CGU Religion Ph.D. '09

Wrapping it up. There are still a few steps left in submitting your dissertation after a successful defense.

Edris Stuebner (Assistant registrar) came to one of our sessions (see April 7th blog) with a handout containing instructions for turning in the dissertation to the registrar, format, fees, microfilming, binding, etc. I tried to follow the information on the handouts to a T, and this helped on the day I actually submitted my dissertation to Edris (and yes, she does count all the pages!).

The handout can be located at

On the day I decided to turn in my dissertation, I took one copy to Edris for her to ok before I made the second copy (no point in having 2 copies with mistakes). She okayed the format, etc. and I went to make the additional copy and fill out all the forms (there is a national survey and forms for microfilming and copyrighting).

I also needed a personal check and a cashier's check. One of the options is to copyright your dissertation. I decided to do this and therefore needed a $65 cashier's check with an expiration date later than 7 months from that day's date.

This was one of the most challenging aspects of the final wrap up.

Bank of America's cashier's checks have a 90 day expiration date (although they claim they can be cashed after the date, but I didn't want to take any chances). U.S. Bank's cashier's checks have a 6 month expiration date. Chase bank's cashier's checks have no expiration date, so I opened an account on the spot (with cash, or else my personal check would take 7 days to clear before I could access my new account and get the free cashier's check).

When I returned to Edris for final submission I mentioned how hard it was to get a cashier's check with a late expiration date and she said Stater Brothers (the grocery store in Claremont) would do them for a fee of $1. Had I known that, I would have saved myself the hassle of running around to 3 banks.

I also chose not to have the same company that officially microfilms and binds your dissertation, bind my personal copies. I chose Kater-Crafts in Pico Rivera to bind my copies. Their minimum charge is $75, but that binds three dissertations. The other "official" company that microfilms your dissertation charged something like $147 for two copies. Plus, Kater-Craft's turn around time is 4-6 weeks (much quicker than the "official" company). They accept dissertations in person, by mail, or by email.

I also should mention that I wished I had done my dedication and acknowledgments much sooner than after my defense (perhaps in one of those lulls when I couldn't seem to get anything written). By the time I was done with the defense, I just wanted to turn in my dissertation to the registrar, and never see it again. Instead, I had to take a couple of extra days to complete these items.

(note from Tara: this is a guest post by Margaret MacKenzie, newly minted Ph.D. Thanks for the great advice, Margaret! For more of Margaret's tips, see here).


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