You are here

Approval of Graduate Thesis and Essay Proposals

Approval of Graduate Thesis and Essay Proposals

The approval process for the proposal for the Ph.D. thesis*, D.M.A. thesis, D.M.A. essay, D.M.A recording project, and M.A. thesis requires the following steps:

  1. The student writes the proposal in consultation with the faculty advisor. Every proposal must contain the following information in such detail that the faculty committee may have sufficient information for consideration of your project:

    a. Proposed Title
    b. Statement of the problem and need for the study; with appropriate references to the current research.
    c. Method of research; to include representative bibliography and availability of material.
    d. Outline of content: chapter titles and major subheadings.

    When the advisor judges that the proposal is complete, the student provides copies, two weeks prior to proposal defense, to the prospective members of the final examination committee.

  2. Either in person, or by conference video/telephone, the student meets with the advisor and the committee to defend the proposal. The meeting includes a substantive discussion of the proposal by the student and the committee members; the student is expected to answer questions about the subject matter, methodology, bibliography, copyright permissions, IRB approval, and so on. The committee will vote on the proposal as satisfactory or unsatisfactory, the latter resulting from two votes of “unsatisfactory.”
    a. The proposal defense may take place at any time during the semester the student takes comprehensive examinations, but not before.
    b. The proposal defense must be passed at least one semester prior to the thesis final defense.
    c. Four committee members must be present; including the committee chair/co-chair.  The absent member may participate remotely or provide written feedback.  Written feedback must be sent to the student and to the committee prior to the proposal defense to allow for full discussion.

  3. If the proposal is approved the committee will authorize the Topic Approval form, followed by the student’s Area Head and then the Director for Graduate Studies. The form must be initiated on-line by the student and will enter the Workflow system once it’s complete; which includes all required names and uploaded documents. The form will follow this Workflow path: committee chair, other four members, Area Head, Director for Graduate Studies. Graduate thesis option descriptions.
  4. If the committee evaluates the proposal as unsatisfactory, the student must submit a revised version to the committee, and defend it at a second committee meeting. The committee will again vote to evaluate the proposal as satisfactory or unsatisfactory.

*Ph.D. students in composition whose thesis consists entirely of a musical score are exempt from the above requirement for a committee meeting, but must still have the proposal approved in writing by the members of the final examination committee.