The following procedure will be adhered to in securing the approval of a doctoral dissertation topic:
- Upon fulfilling the conditions for the Ph.D. candidacy and after consultation with the dean, the student will consult with a member of the faculty about assuming direction of the dissertation.
- In order to test the viability of the dissertation project, the faculty member may require that the candidate draft a short essay in which the character and scope of the project is set forth.
- Should the faculty member agree to serve as director, he or she will, in consultation with the dean, work with the candidate to secure two additional members of the dissertation committee, who will serve as first and second readers.
- The candidate will then draft a two-page dissertation proposal and two-page select bibliography for review and approval by the dissertation committee. In preparing the draft, the candidate should consult proposals of successfully completed dissertations, samples of which are available in the dean’s office. The candidate should also review the “Instructions for Preparing the Proposal” available on the website of the Office of Graduate Studies.
- Once the dissertation committee has approved the draft proposal, the candidate should submit it, along with the select bibliography and the “Request for Approval” form, also available on the website of the Office of Graduate Studies, to the dean’s office, for review and eventual approval by the entire faculty of the School. In order to be considered by the faculty, proposals must be submitted a full week before the monthly faculty meeting at which they are to be considered. The office of the dean will communicate to interested doctoral candidates the dates of the monthly faculty meetings, which are set at the beginning of the academic year, and are generally held on the second Tuesday of every month.
- Subject to any changes required by the faculty, the proposal is then submitted by the dean’s office for approval by the Office of Graduate Studies.
- The candidate need not wait, indeed should not wait, until final approval of the proposal is secured; once a director has been found, the candidate is free to pursue research on the dissertation, under the director’s guidance, and, if the candidate so wishes, in consultation with other members of the dissertation committee.