PhD Dissertation

A dissertation is a formal manuscript written to address a specific research problem, thus filling a gap in the literature. Walden dissertations consist of five chapters (Chapter 1: Introduction, Chapter 2: Literature Review, Chapter 3: Methodology, Chapter 4: Results, Chapter 5: Summary and Conclusions).

Access samples of published dissertations through the Walden Library under the Search & Find tab. You can also access the Center for Research Quality for additional information on the dissertation process, including the dissertation rubric, checklist, and the Dissertation Guidebook. If you have writing or APA questions about the proposal or final dissertation, contact editor@waldenu.edu.


Students start the dissertation by documenting their initial investigation into a research topic, which is used to make decisions about the capstone and is provided to prospective faculty members of the supervisory committee. In all PhD programs, this document is called the Premise, which is followed by a Prospectus. The Prospectus is a second document used to confirm the topic for the proposal and the structure of the dissertation committee.

Guides for completing these documents can be found on the Center for Research Quality website. The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, Sixth Edition style should be used for both the Premise and the Prospectus, as well as for the proposal and final study.

Premise Template

Prospectus Template

PhD Dissertation Template

To prepare for the form and style review, use the following checklist, which is the same checklist we use when we review capstone manuscripts and the checklist we return to the student and committee along with their completed review.

PhD Form and Style Checklist

Dissertation Guidebook

The Dissertation Guidebook is a complete resource for information on form and style, steps in the dissertation process, and procedures.  We also offer a series of capstone webinars on a variety of capstone-related topics.

For proposal, dissertation, thesis, or doctoral study questions, contact editor@waldenu.edu.

Confused about assumptions, limitations, and delimitations?  See Jen's blog post.