Dissertation The dissertation is the product of careful and searching inquiry into a significant problem or issue in the field of social welfare. It must be judged to be of publishable quality according to the best current standards in the field. The format of the dissertation (traditional or multi-paper) is decided upon by the student and the dissertation committee based on the learning goals. An open (public) defense of the dissertation, required when the manuscript is complete, is followed by a private oral examination. Final approval of the dissertation is determined by the student’s Dissertation Committee. The Doctoral Dissertation Manual is available online.