Before beginning dissertation research, the student must present to the major professor an acceptable, written dissertation proposal, which the Graduate School terms a dissertation prospectus. The proposal must be submitted to your major professor before you begin research on your dissertation. The student shall write a complete, detailed proposal of the dissertation which clearly outlines the topic, the methodology to be employed, and the significance of the research. The proposal should include a bibliography. This proposal will be read by the student’s dissertation committee, normally composed of five persons (but minimally three members). One of these members (but not more than one) may come from an institution other than UGA. (A student’s dissertation committee need not be identical to one’s advisory committee.) When the major professor certifies that the dissertation prospectus is satisfactory, it must be formally considered by the advisory committee in a meeting with the student. This formal consideration (i.e., a prospectus defense) may not take the place of the comprehensive oral examination. For doctoral students, this is a formal requirement of the Graduate School, and the committee must meet for the defense. Approval of the dissertation prospectus signifies that members of the advisory committee believe that the prospectus proposes a satisfactory research study. Approval of the prospectus requires the agreement of the advisory committee with no more than one dissenting vote as evidenced by their signing an appropriate form, which, together with the approved prospectus, is filed with the graduate coordinator.
When the dissertation is approved, it is signed by the members of the committee. A copy of the proposal is then given to the graduate coordinator to place in the student’s file.