The first stage of the Ph.D. dissertation process, the prospectus details the argument and structure of the dissertation. The prospectus defense serves as a first line of confirmation of a student’s dissertation topic, providing insight on how to best move forward with his or her project.
Residential students defend their prospectuses in their department’s colloquium. This facilitates discussion with both the faculty and students of the department. Please ensure that you have delivered a single-sided hard copy of your prospectus to the RDS office (Norton 157) beforehand.
Modular students defend their prospectuses before their department online. To schedule this meeting, the student must reach out to his or her supervisor and head of department to request a date and time. This process generally takes a few weeks. Please ensure that a single-sided hard copy of your prospectus is sent to the RDS office before your hearing takes place.
Once the supervisor and department have approved the prospectus, the student must submit:
The prospectus approval and style reading processes will progress simultaneously but separately.
The Canvas course 81910 will display the possible prospectus submission deadlines each semester. Due to the administrative process following submission, these deadlines are immovable.
The revised prospectus with completely signed approval form must be submitted by the appropriate due date for it to be considered for approval at the next faculty meeting.
-Table of contents
-List of tables and figures (if applicable)
-Thesis: Includes the research question and a clear thesis statement.
-Methodology: Includes a summary of the methods employed to advance the thesis.
-A Summary Research: Summarizes the history of previously completed research in the field (900-1,000 words).
-Significance: Shows the significance of the research for the field of study, demonstrating the need for your research.
-Argument: Explains in detailed paragraph form the dissertation’s argument (900-1,000 words).
-Timeline for Completion: Explains, very briefly, the time needed to complete the dissertation and the projected graduation date.
-Appendixes (if applicable)
-Abstract (approximately 350 words; no more than 500)
-Submit a Research Profile to the RDS office for approval by the supervisor and Research Ethics Committee after the final proposal approval and before conducting the research project and/or any work with human subjects.
-Use all the following documents to create the Profile:
–Risk Assessment and Informed Consent Guide
–Permission to Use Human Subjects in Research
–Approvals for Using Human Subjects in Research
–Assessment of Risk to Human Subjects in Research
-After a successful hearing, students must make the revisions indicated by their committee and submit a finalized prospectus for faculty approval.
-Make revisions to the prospectus, preparing an itemized list of all substantial changes with page numbers.
-Submit electronic copies of the revised prospectus and change list to the supervisor for approval.
-Submit a hard copy of the approved, revised prospectus to the RDS office for faculty approval by the deadline listed on Canvas course 81910.
-Students should refer to the following documents in preparing for the prospectus and dissertation:
–Research Evaluation Checklist
Billy Graham School students completing an Empirical Study prospectus should view the following examples and information below: