Third Year Paper Proposal

Third-Year Research Paper Proposal Defense

  • The third-year research paper proposal must be submitted within the first three years in the program. Students who have not submitted the proposal by this time, or who submit an unsatisfactory proposal, will be placed on probation for one semester, and failure to comply with the requirement subsequently will result in the termination of doctoral studies.
  • Third-year paper proposals must be single-authored
  • The proposal document should be 12–20 pages in 11-point font, double-spaced, with one-inch margins. 
  • The paper should state the research questions, position the expected research in the existing literature, indicate expected results, outline the structure of the research paper and indicate the time frame for carrying out the research tasks. In this sense it is similar to a dissertation proposal, but smaller, since it relates to only one paper, not a full dissertation plan. It should have the clear potential to become a polished piece of research — the underlying question should have import, as determined by the faculty member advising and evaluating the paper.
  • The Third Year Research Paper proposal defense brings together the candidate, an advisor and a reader to discuss the proposed paper in person. It is a detailed presentation and discussion of the research questions and the envisioned work. The end result of the defense is a common understanding of what needs to be done, the approximate timing and any contingencies. Ideally the paper should already be in progress with at least some preliminary results to demonstrate feasibility and interest.

  • Students will work with at least one advisor to develop the project. The advisor(s) will assess the project when it is ready, in conjunction with at least one other reader — a faculty member who is not an advisor. It is important for the reader to obtain the draft before the deadline so there is enough time to incorporate feedback and ensure a satisfactory proposal that passes the requirement by the deadline.
  • The paper proposal will not necessarily turn into the dissertation, and the advisor(s) consulted on the proposal will not necessarily be on the student’s dissertation committee. However, students are strongly encouraged to complete the paper described by the proposal. A satisfactory proposal has the potential to become a chapter of the student’s future dissertation, or a standalone paper.