Dissertation proposal

After passing the comprehensive examination and identifying a dissertation topic, a dissertation committee is appointed and the student must pass a proposal defense. The dissertation committee will take the place of the advisory committee and the faculty adviser is superseded by the dissertation adviser. The dissertation committee must be approved by the Graduate School using the Appointment of Doctoral Dissertation Committee form (GO-16D).

The dissertation committee must consist of four to six PSU faculty members: the dissertation adviser, a minimum of two and a maximum of four regular members, and the Graduate School Representative. The chair of the dissertation committee and the Graduate School Representative must be regular, full-time PSU instructional faculty, tenured or tenure track, assistant professor or higher in rank; the other two to four committee members may include non-tenure track or adjunct faculty and/or members of the OHSU faculty. If it is necessary to go off-campus for one committee member with specific expertise not available among PSU faculty, a curriculum vitae (CV) for that proposed member must be presented with the GO-16D form. This off-campus member may substitute for one of the two to four regular committee members. All committee members must have doctoral degrees. At the discretion of the program, the designation of co-chair can be requested on the GO-16D form for one regular member of the committee. The designation of co-chair recognizes the significant academic advising role of the committee member, but oversight of the process and procedures and all administrative responsibilities remains with the chair. 

No proposal defense shall be valid without a dissertation committee approved by the Graduate School. The GO-16D form should be submitted to the Graduate School a minimum of six weeks in advance of the estimated date of the dissertation proposal meeting. The student must deliver a draft of the dissertation proposal to all members of the approved committee no fewer than 14 days before the proposal defense.

A dissertation proposal must take place in a meeting with the student and the entire, appointed committee. While it is expected that all members should be physically present, remote participation is permitted under specific conditions. The student will make an oral presentation of the written proposal for discussion, evaluation, and suggested modification. The final proposal submitted to the committee for approval should be sufficiently detailed and clear to provide a blueprint for the study to follow. The proposal is expected to include the following:

  1. General nature and present status of knowledge of the problem.
  2. The theoretical and empirical framework within which the proposed problem exists.
  3. The significance of the proposed research and its likely contributions.
  4. The research methodology to be used.

The doctoral program recommends the student for advancement to candidacy once the dissertation proposal has been approved.