- Before students can submit a research proposal, they must have successfully completed all required courses. For PhD students, they must have also successfully passed their qualifying examination(s).
- The format and length of proposal is at the discretion of the mentor and Committee. It is preferred that the student prepare a written proposal in a form like the NIH Predoctoral Fellowship Application such as form PHS 398 as a guide. The student will then contact the Program Office for assistance in contacting the Committee to schedule a meeting for the oral presentation of the proposal. This is a private presentation between the student and their Committee. A final copy of the proposal will be delivered to each Committee member, not less than two weeks (14 calendar days) before the proposal meeting.
- At the meeting, the student will present the research proposal orally and respond to questions from the Committee members. The Program Director may, at his or her discretion, be present at the proposal meeting and participate in the evaluation process. After the question period, the student will leave the room and the Committee will discuss the student’s written and oral presentation and reach a consensus on whether or not the student’s performance was satisfactory. If minor problems with the either written proposal, the student’s presentation, or the student’s responses to questions are identified, the Committee may ask the student for additional explanation or documentation, to be discussed then or at a subsequent meeting. If a subsequent meeting is required, it will take place not more than four weeks from the date of the initial meeting. If serious concerns are raised, the Committee, in consultation with the Program Director, may require the student to present all or part of the proposal at a later time. The student, together with the Dissertation Committee, will decide the timetable for such the second presentation.
- If serious concerns are still evident after the second presentation, the Dissertation Committee will meet with the Program Director to discuss the student’s situation.
- Passage of the qualifying examination and acceptance of the dissertation proposal by the Dissertation Committee will constitute advancement to candidacy for the Ph.D.
- If a student’s research begins to deviate in a significant way from the plan set forth in the proposal, the student and the mentor should convene a meeting of the Dissertation Committee and the student should describe the new direction of the research and present a progress report. At the Committee’s discretion, the student may be asked to write and defend a revised proposal based on the new research plan. Alternatively, the Committee may ask for only a verbal description of the new research program. The Program Director must be notified in such cases of the situation and the Committee’s decision.