January 25th, 2009

US Thesis Defences & Massachusetts Police

Location: Fictional Massachusetts University
Date: circa 2006

Firstly: I've got a character finishing her Doctorate and presenting her thesis defence. As my experience with American viva voce is somewhat limited I request assistance.

According to wiki, it is extremely rare for a dissertation to be considered needing serious rewriting. How unlikely is it, however? How long would the 'failing' student have to rework their entire thesis? Is it possible to pull back from the brink, or would a student who'd got that far just give up and get a job spitting on burgers? For the record, it's a prestigious and "Old School" sort of university with a lot of semi-English University trappings and the student does have ties to the university's heritage - though not enough to actually get any leverage or pull on the subject.

RENOVATED Secondly: I know that Massachusetts is entirely incorporated at a local government level. However, in my story a small village has managed to remain its own "town" due to legal and historical wranglings. I don't want it to be managed by the State Police, so what could/would it be? County sheriffs department, local town police department or a local sheriffs department?
I have a small town near a larger town. It has its own police force. Could they be called a Sheriff's department in name?

Thanks in advance!