Dissertation & Prospectus

A dissertation demonstrates ability to do original research and to present this investigation in an orderly, exact, and complete manner. Course: ENG 799 - Dissertation (15).

Dissertation Procedures

Within approximately six months after passing the oral exam, you must file your approved dissertation prospectus along with the Dissertation Topic Approval and Application for Admission to Candidacy forms. See PhD Exam Procedures on the website for prospectus guidelines and procedures. After the dissertation defense, a copy of the prospectus may be made available to future doctoral candidates in a public file.

Dissertation Topic Approval (available from Alyson) 
Within six months of passing your exams and when your committee has approved your dissertation prospectus, you must file another form. This is an approximation of the final dissertation: title and brief description. The Director and committee must sign this form, and the prospectus must be attached to it when sent to the Grad School.

Application for Admission to Candidacy (available from Alyson) 
You must also file for Candidacy when you submit the Dissertation Topic Approval form. Your Chair must sign this form.

Dissertation Prospectus Guidelines

Within approximately six months after passing the oral exam, the candidate should draft a dissertation prospectus, meet with the committee to discuss it, and then revise the document in consultation with the committee Chair. The prospectus and the committee meeting provide an opportunity for the candidate to think through the issues pertaining to the dissertation, further refine and organize ideas on the subject, and receive feedback from the committee. The prospectus should comprise an introduction in which the candidate describes the focus, the main thesis, and the methodology of the dissertation, and in which she or he explains how her or his contribution relates to, and advances, existing scholarship; a chapter-by-chapter outline, possibly followed by a tentative conclusion; and a bibliography. Based on input from the committee meeting and in consultation with the Chair, the candidate revises the prospectus, which is then placed in her or his department file. After the dissertation defense, a copy of the prospectus may be made available to future doctoral condidates in a public file.

Preparing the Dissertation for the Oral Defense

Departmental policy requires that candidates must submit a “final” draft of the dissertation to their Committee one month BEFORE the defense. At least two weeks before the defense, a Final Oral Examination Schedule must be completed by the Chair and sent to the Graduate School. Your Chair MUST complete this form and return it to Alyson. This form must include the following key details: Title of Dissertation, an Abstract, Place and Time of Defense. Your Chair signs this form.

If the candidate is to graduate in August, the oral dissertation defense must happen before the end of May. Exceptions to this policy will only be made in rare circumstances, and must be unanimously approved by all members of the student's committee, the DGS, and the Department Head.

Example of a Prospectus for a Rhetoric and Composition Dissertation (Word Document)
Example of a Prospectus for an American Literature Dissertation (Word Document)
Example of a Prospectus for a British Literature Dissertation (Word Document)


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