Your Major Professor and Advisory Committee will guide you in planning your dissertation. You will prepare an eight-to-ten-page prospectus and a list of the sources used in formulating your project. Your Advisory Committee will examine you on your dissertation prospectus when your Major Professor certifies that it is satisfactory. At least two weeks before the examination, you will present your prospectus and list of sources to your Advisory Committee. The examination on your prospectus will focus primarily on the project described rather than the list of sources. The prospectus defense normally takes place on the same day as, and immediately following, the preliminary oral comprehensive examination. If you fail your oral examination, however, you will not be allowed to defend your prospectus.

Your Major Professor and all or all but one of the members of your Advisory Committee must approve your prospectus defense. Your Major Professor and the Graduate Coordinator must then sign the Application for Admission to Candidacy form approving your prospectus and advancing you to PhD candidacy. This form must be filed with the Graduate School and is available on the Graduate School website. Approval of the prospectus signifies that members of the Advisory Committee believe that it proposes a satisfactory research program. Your Advisory Committee may require revisions in your prospectus and a new examination on the revised prospectus. If a major change in the dissertation project occurs, your Advisory Committee will decide whether you must defend a new prospectus.