Three Article Dissertation


  • A three-article dissertation will consist of an introduction, a methodology chapter, three published/publishable articles, and a conclusion chapter.
  • The introduction chapter should be substantially more detailed than one that is typically expected in a traditional dissertation and should demonstrate that the three articles each makes a distinct contribution and collectively form a coherent body of work. It should include, at the minimum, a definition and illustration of the problem, a justification of the problem’s importance, a description of the theoretical framework(s) to be used to address the problem, an overview of the key literature (overview only, as each article will have its own literature review), and a discussion of the original contribution of the dissertation.
  • A rigorous methodology chapter similar to one expected in a traditional dissertation should be included.
  • The three articles should be arranged in a logical order. One article may be a conceptual paper or a critical literature review, but at least two articles should be empirical.
  • A substantial conclusion chapter should be included. In addition to summarizing and discussing the dissertation’s major findings, limitations, and implications, this chapter should also present and discuss linkages between the three articles and help the reader see how they collectively make a useful contribution to the knowledge base regarding the problem.

Committee approval

  • Students should articulate in writing the rationale for the decision to adopt the three-article dissertation format to the whole committee before the dissertation proposal defense meeting, and the committee will approve or decline this decision at the proposal defense meeting. Committee approval is required to change the dissertation format once an agreed decision is made.


  • The student must be the sole author of at least one of the three articles and must be the first and corresponding author of the other two.

Publication requirement

  • No articles published prior to enrollment should be included.
  • Only peer-reviewed, full-length journal articles can be used. The three articles should not be invited and should not form part of a special issue.
  • The committee should advise students about appropriate journals. At least one article should be published in or accepted by a top-tier journal in the field; the other two articles should be judged to be of publishable quality by the committee and should be at least under external review with (not merely submitted to) highly regarded journals by defense time.

Copyright issues

  • Prior to submitting an article to a journal for review, students should confirm that the journal will allow them to use the article in the dissertation. Students must secure copyright permission to include their published work in the dissertation.
  • Some redundancy is to be expected, but self-plagiarism is not permitted.