The Graduate School

Supporting the transition from doctoral student to independent scholar.

In October 2011, Northcentral University officially launched The Graduate School to replace and enhance the Office of Academic Research in order to better facilitate and assess doctoral outcomes in the dissertation process at NCU.

Making the Transition

For most doctoral students at NCU, a major change occurs once they have taken and passed the Doctoral Comprehensive Examination (“comps”) and reached the doctoral candidacy stage of their academic odyssey. At that point, they enter The Graduate School. This is a welcome change for students who are eager to start their foray into academic research; however, it also marks the beginning of the most challenging stage of the doctoral process.

“The startling fact is that, nationally, only about 50 percent of students who matriculate into a doctoral program actually finish their degrees,” notes Dean of The Graduate School, Dr. Greg Bradley. “The primary impediment to success is the ability to make the transition from doctoral student to independent scholar in the dissertation phase of the program.”

The Graduate School helps guide doctoral candidates as they journey through the process by providing the necessary research support they need to successfully complete their dissertation and fulfill their doctoral aspirations.

About the Graduate School

The Team

The Graduate School team is made up of a Dean, Director of Research Curriculum and Training, Director of Dissertation Quality Assessment, Director of Dissertation Management, Research Specialists, Academic Reviewers, Graduate School Dissertation Chairs, and administrative staff.

In 2012, Northcentral made the transition to full-time dissertation chairs in order to better support and enhance academic quality at the dissertation stage. These full-time dissertation chairs have exceptional research and scholarly writing skills, and a demonstrated ability to guide doctoral students through the dissertation process. 


The five primary responsibilities of The Graduate School are as follows:

  • Conducts the official academic reviews of the dissertation milestone documents. Provides methodology, design, and analytics consulting services to students and faculty.
  • Develops research curriculum, provides delivery oversight, and develops related training.
  • Provides oversight of the dissertation management process, including chair and committee assignments and accountability.
  • Provides oversight of the Institutional Review Board (IRB)—the committee that has been formally designated to review, approve and monitor biomedical and behavioral research involving humans with the aim to protect the rights and welfare of the research subjects.


In addition to the responsibilities listed above, The Graduate School also maintains the Dissertation Center, a repository for research and statistics information, statistics tutorials, Northcentral University dissertation handbooks and templates for applied and research degrees, and a variety of scholarly sources related to dissertation quality and student development. Students can also take advantage of Ask a Researcher, an informal process for research-related inquiries that provides a method for students and faculty to ask research-related questions.

Please email any questions about The Graduate School to