On Finishing a Dissertation

On Finishing a Dissertation November 16, 2010

My sojourn to Philadelphia last week took me close enough to the gravitational center of my doctoral studies that could not help but be sucked into the tractor beam of Princeton Theological Seminary.  While there, I had a wonderful lunch with my primary advisor, Kenda Dean, during which we mapped out a schedule by which I can complete my dissertation during this academic year.

What that means, in short, is that I have to revise my first four chapters and write the fifth and final chapter by the time that she boards a plane for South Africa on January 2, 2011.  Thereby, she can read my tome on the flight (what better way to kill 20 hours?!?) and return it to me for more revisions upon her return.  Thereafter, the dissertation will be distributed to the other three members of my dissertation committee, and I will subsequently make the changes that they suggest.

Then I will take on the tedious and arduous task of formatting the dissertation, about which Princeton will truck no deviance.  To wit:

The main body is to be consecutive Arabic numbering from “1.” The page containing a chapter heading is to have the page number centered and greater than or equal to ¾in from bottom of page. The remaining pages in a chapter have the page number at the top right corner at least ½in from any edge.

On or before March 15, the dissertation must be printed and presented to the PhD Studies Office at Princeton, at which time an oral defense will be scheduled, to take place no later than the last day of April.  After the oral defense takes place, two more copies of the dissertation, printed on “high-quality, non-erasable, acid-free paper” must be submitted to the PhD Studies Office, whereupon I will be awarded the degree of philosophiae doctoris.

I write all of this for the sole purpose of informing the readers of this blog that, holy shit, I have a lot of work to do by January 2!

Thanks for your ongoing support.

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  • Tim Snyder

    Rumor has it the best dissertation is a submitted dissertation.

  • tom c.

    Good luck with that. I am shuddering right now, recalling a university administrator taking a ruler to my manuscript. Turns out that when converting a doc file to a pdf, the margins can shift slightly!

  • Jason Derr

    It was rough enough finishing my MA thesis – and I got PTSD from the expierence – I can’t imagine the stress of a dissertation. On the other hand I am wicked envious.

  • Kj

    …But think how great you will feel on the morning of January 3rd!

  • Kelly L

    Good to meet you yesterday (in Sioux Falls) and commiserate about dissertations and DMin final projects due at the beginning of January. I pray for focus and endurance for both of us over the next several weeks. Go Tony Go!

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  • great stuff, i am excited to see it, if she has it with her while in south africa.
    a phd from princeton is not for sissies
    jones is not a sissie
    jones will have his stuff ready!

  • Oh, yes, gotta love all the silly hoops for just printing and binding the darn thing. I had to make my own checklist of the formatting and paper requirements. Academic hazing, that’s what I say! 🙂

  • Sarah

    Why, yes you do (have a lot to do) and yes you can (do it). Will pray accordingly. Remember the formatting issues of my D.Ed.Min. final project paper a year ago – inches and spaces and footnotes, oh my.

  • Wow, Tony, you are awesome.

  • Bobby Bell

    My gosh Tony…that’s intense…good luck with all that, man.

  • P.S. – Tony, for using a cuss word, you need to repent and put your trust in Jesus or stop calling yourself a Christian.


  • Don’t read this comment. You don’t have time.

  • c’mon tony, all you have to do is write it – you can find a printing outfit to format it.

    ever hear “sweat the small stuff”? forget the formatting, pay for it! Now get to work!!

    We’re rooting for you!


  • Aunt S

    Just sayin’ that people –even in your own family — used to put dissertations together before computers. Think about what a pain formatting –and even typing –were before then! Precise standards and requirements then too.

    Maybe you’ll work well under this added pressure! Good luck!