Third Year Paper Proposal

Third-Year Research Paper Proposal Defense

  • The third-year research paper must be submitted within the first three years in the program. Students who have not submitted the paper by this time, or who submit an unsatisfactory paper, will be placed on probation for one semester, and failure to comply with the requirement subsequently will result in termination from the PhD program.
  • Third-year papers must be single-authored.
  • The paper should state the research question, position the research in the existing literature, explain the methodology, report results, and explain additional research to be completed. While some steps may remain to be completed, the paper should have the clear potential to become a polished piece of research — the underlying question should have import, as determined by the faculty members advising and evaluating the paper, and there should be some clear results supporting that assessment.
  • Students should work with at least one advisor to develop the project. The advisor will assess the project when it is ready, in conjunction with at least one other faculty member (a "reader"). It is necessary for the reader to obtain the draft before the deadline so they know the material and can provide informed feedback - either in or before the defense.
  • The Third-year paper assessment takes place via a successful Third-year paper Defense.
  • The Third Year Research Paper defense brings together the candidate, an advisor and a reader to discuss and evaluate the paper. It is a detailed presentation and discussion of the research questions and the completed work as well as the envisioned future work - typically taking 20-30 minutes. The end result of the defense is a common understanding of what remains to be done, the approximate timing and any contingencies, as well as possible extensions that might result in future papers.
  • The paper will not necessarily turn into the dissertation, and the advisor(s) consulted on the paper will not necessarily be on the student’s dissertation committee. However, a satisfactory paper evidently has the potential to become a chapter of the student’s future dissertation, or a standalone paper, and the advisors have potential to form part of the student's dissertation committee.