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Dissertation Proposal Defense

The purpose of the dissertation proposal defense meeting is to assess the merits of the proposed research and the ability of the doctoral candidate to conduct this research in a scholarly manner. The proposal must be defended in a formal meeting to be attended by all members of the committee, in-place or virtually. People other than the committee members and the student proposing the study typically do not attend the proposal defense meeting.

Once the chair deems the proposal ready for the full committee’s review, the candidate will be given permission to schedule a proposal defense.  The candidate will contact the committee members to find a date and time acceptable to all members, and will secure a conference room for the defense.  The candidate will provide a copy of the proposal to the chair and committee members at least two weeks prior to the scheduled defense of the proposal, either electronically or in hard copy, depending upon the preferences of individual committee members.

At the defense, the candidate will be expected to defend the proposal and answer questions regarding the proposed study. A unanimous vote of the committee members at the time of the proposal defense is required for approval of the proposal. If unanimous approval is not given at this defense, the chair will make recommendations to remedy any deficiencies, and a second proposal defense meeting will be scheduled.

When all committee members are satisfied that a proposal is viable, they will sign a Dissertation Proposal Approval Form.  The candidate will submit the signed form to the Office of Academic Programs. In the event that a faculty member resigns from the dissertation committee after the proposal has been formally accepted, the new member appointed to the committee must agree to accept the dissertation proposal as previously approved.

Human Subjects Approval
After the dissertation proposal has been approved, the candidate must receive human subjects approval by the School of Education’s Institutional Review Committee (EDIRC) before any data may be generated or analyses begun.  The candidate and the dissertation committee chair must submit verification of university required training in research ethics when submitting the online EDIRC proposal form.  The candidate is required to designate the dissertation committee chair as a co-principal investigator for this study.  More information about this process is available on the Protection of Human Subjects Certification web page.