What are the essential elements to a good dissertation proposal?

Two copies of the proposal are to be submitted to the Office of Doctoral Studies. The remaining copies must be submitted to the proposal review panel coordinator for your program or department. You should be aware that different departments require that different numbers of copies be submitted for review. Please consult the proposal review panel coordinator for the correct number of copies for the specific department or program. All copies of the proposal must include a copy of the signed Dissertation Proposal Cover Sheet.

You cannot write a dissertation proposal

The candidate may proceed with the dissertation only after successfully defending the dissertation proposal. During the dissertation stage, data are collected and analyzed according to the plan set out in the dissertation proposal. If the dissertation is not completed within two years after passing the preliminary examinations, the committee may be disbanded. In that event, the student will have to petition the Doctoral Committee for permission to continue.


Not every dissertation proposal contains a Literature survey.

Primarily, you have to submit your dissertation proposals due to many fundamental reasons.

A dissertation proposal should summarize the motivation for the research and the development of the problem. It should also include a review of relevant literature and a description of the research methodology to be followed, including data collection and analysis techniques, as well as any necessary pretesting. Either prior to or concurrent with the dissertation proposal defense, the candidate will schedule a seminar with the Seminar Series Committee to present the proposal to the faculty and other graduate students. This seminar allows the candidate and the dissertation committee to obtain feedback from those who are not members of the dissertation committee. The candidate, in consultation with the dissertation committee members, will evaluate all comments offered during the seminar and make any necessary changes in the proposal. A successful defense requires the signatures of all dissertation committee members on a copy of the title page of the dissertation proposal. This copy is retained in the departmental office as a permanent record of the successful dissertation proposal defense.