Dissertation Proposal

Dissertation Committee

In consultation with the Doctoral Program Director, the student selects a committee chair, who is knowledgeable in the student's area of interest, a faculty member in the College of Education and who holds graduate faculty status. This professor assumes the role of advisor as the student prepares the Dissertation Proposal and writes the Dissertation. The committee (including the chair) consists of a minimum of three members, all with graduate faculty status. Frequently the Dissertation Committee is the same as the QE committee. Additional members may be added.

The dissertation chair and committee members work with the student to:

  1. Approve a dissertation proposal;
  2. Advise the student in conducting the dissertation study; and
  3. Regularly monitor and support the progress of the student's study and writing.

In addition, the dissertation committee is responsible for the student's Admission to Candidacy. Students are recommended for candidacy upon successful completion of (a) all required course work, (b) the internship, (c) the qualifying examination, and (d) the dissertation proposal.

Dissertation Proposal

The Dissertation Proposal serves the function of demonstrating the student's ability to articulate:

  • a viable researchable issue
  • the context for the issue
  • the significance of the proposed research
  • the literature that informs the researchable issue
  • a methodology for the proposed research

The proposal will be presented to the dissertation committee between the time a student passes the Qualifying Examination and before the start of data collection. After reading the proposal, the committee will meet with the student to examine and discuss the proposal. If satisfied that the proposal is theoretically and methodologically sound, the committee will pass the proposal and give the student permission to proceed with the IRB application for the study. If not satisfied, the committee will articulate what is necessary to prepare and present an acceptable proposal. This process will continue until the dissertation proposal is approved.

The following elements are usually situated in a dissertation proposal. The committee and student, depending upon the nature of the particular proposal, may consider other elements.

Application for Candidacy

Students file the Admission to Candidacy Graduate Degree and the Thesis/Dissertation Committee Membership forms after receiving committee approval of the proposal. Three completed copies of each form are submitted to the Director of the Doctoral Program along with two copies of the approved proposal. The Director forwards one copy of the proposal to the Graduate School along with the completed forms. The remaining proposal is placed in the student's file.

Institutional Review Board (IRB)

All dissertation research requires obtaining human subject clearance from the Institutional Review Board (IRB) of the University. IRB approval must be obtained before beginning research on the dissertation and before filing the Dissertation Committee form. Upon acceptance of the Dissertation Proposal by the committee, the student working with the chair prepares and submits an IRB application.

The chair and student must each complete the CITI Training Program prior to submission of an IRB application.