Gonzaga University

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Dissertation Courses
  • DPLS 735 Proposal Defense (1 credits) (not in class; may be taken off-campus)
  • DPLS 736 Dissertation (5 credits) (not in class; may be taken off-campus)
  • DPLS 737 Dissertation Extension (1 credits) (students may not enroll in this course until they have completed 60 credits)

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Proposal, Dissertation, & Graduation Process
(The following are docs that provide students with comprehensive information of the process from ProSem to Graduation.)
Note: An approved editor must review and sign-off on the dissertation documents prior to proposal defense and prior to the signing ceremony. The sign-off certification form may be found here. Approved editors may be found at the bottom of this page.
Click here for more information on the graduation process.

Important Information

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Dissertation FAQs

When Do I Need to Know My Dissertation Topic?To have the most success as a student, we recommend that students have a general idea about their dissertation topic, yet not a largely specific one. The wonderful thing about this program is that students become exposed to all kinds of ideas. Students who know exactly what their dissertation topic is from the moment they walk in the door will probably get frustrated! Yet, we recommend that students write every paper and assignment on the topic they think they want to study. This way, they can truly get a feel for whether or not that topic is their passion. Ultimately, the process of choosing a dissertation topic will be an iterative and relational one.What is ProSem and When Can I Begin My Dissertation?

One of the unique features of this program is that candidates make their defense after writing the first three chapters of the dissertation. Essentially, we like to send the candidates out to do their dissertation research with a blessing. This way, candidates do not get all the way to the end of the dissertation only to be surprised that they need to revise some part of their research.

DPLS 730 Proposal Seminar is the class all candidates must take to write the first three chapters of their dissertation. All candidates conduct their proposal defense at the end of this class or sometime after. Furthermore, we recommend students/candidates to enroll in DPLS 728 Scholarship & Dissertation Framework before they take DPLS 730, even though DPLS 728 is not a required course. In DPLS 728, students/candidates begin writing their literatures review, which helps prepare them for DPLS 730.

In order to register for DPLS 730, candidates must provide their advisor with evidence that they have completed a portion of their first three chapters (which is begun in DPLS 728). Advisors will then request that this student be registered into DPLS 730, and the faculty person teaching DPLS 730 must approve it.

Hence, we recommend that students/candidates plan early, speak with their advisor, and take DPLS 728 if feasible.

More information about the dissertation courses may be found here.

What Kinds of Dissertations Have Students Completed in the Past?Dissertation titles may be found in this Google doc, and full dissertation papers may be found at the Foley Library here.How Do I Choose a Dissertation Chair?You just pick which professor is suited for you. In other words, just ask someone you want to work with. Please note that sometimes a particular faculty's workload is too heavy to accept the offer.What is the IRB?

As candidates prepare for their proposal defense, they will need to apply for Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval and obtain an IRB certificate through the NIH. For more information about the Gonzaga IRB, as well as required documents, please click here.

Who Are the Approved Editors?Debbie Brown

Debbie Brown holds a B.A. in Culture, Literature and the Arts, and an M.A. in Cultural Studies from the University of Washington Bothell, and is currently a DPLS student. Her research interests are in critical theory and rural development in Africa. Debbie is an editor for the Center for Scholarly Writing and is involved in Journal Club, as well as in a post-structuralist feminist DPLS community of practice. She is also the graduate student representative on the Gonzaga President's Advisory Committee on Disability. Debbie is a TA for the Master's program in Organizational Leadership. Her expertise is in scholarly, academic papers and APA 6, as well as having extensive familiarity with the White Book (for course and candidacy papers) and the Blue Book (for dissertations). Debbie is willing to work with all phases of the writing process, from brain-storming through polished, final drafts. Contact Debbie at: dbrown10@zagmail.gonzaga.edu.


Joanie Eppinga
Joanie Eppinga has a B.A. in English and an M.A. in counseling. Eppinga has been editing dissertations for Gonzaga students since 2004. She is particularly good with APA, grammar, punctuation, spelling, and typos, and she has an employee who specializes in formatting issues. Quick turnaround is a specialty. Contact Joanie at: eagleeyeediting.com, info@eagleeyeediting.com, or 509-838-6720.


Daryl Geffken
Daryl Geffken currently works in areas of student development, ethical congruency, and writing/data analysis for the Vice President of Student Life at Gonzaga University and serves on two editorial review boards for national academic journals. He has earned a B.A. in History (’97), M.Div. in Christian Theology (’01), and received his Ph.D. in Leadership and Christian Ethics in May of 2013. His research investigated what motivates Christians to live by an ethic of responsible care that is contrary to a cultural ethic of consumerism and privilege. Before his work for Gonzaga, Daryl has worked as a TA and lectured at various schools, and was engaged in professional ministry for 13 years. Daryl has a variety of editing experience, including: term and candidacy papers, presentation and project proposals, academic submissions, theses, and dissertations. He also provides transcription services. Contact Daryl at: dgeff3@gmail.com.


Josh Misner
Josh Misner has taught communication studies for North Idaho College since 2008 and has also worked with online students, facilitating the thesis seminar for Gonzaga's Masters in Organizational Leadership program since 2009. He earned a B.A. in Applied Communication Studies, an M.A. in Communication & Leadership, and is currently finishing his dissertation in the DPLS program. Josh's doctoral research is a qualitative multiple case study based in positive psychology, which explores the impact of mindful presence on father-child interpersonal communication and the implications such interaction has on development of early childhood initiative and purpose. Other research interests include communication theory, mindfulness studies and media psychology. Editing projects include dissertations, candidacy papers, and publication submissions. Contact Josh at: jmisner@zagmail.gonzaga.edu.

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