A proposal for original research specifying the nature of a problem, topic, or hypothesis to be investigated; the type and sources of information to be gathered; the methods for gathering it; and the significance of the proposed research. Students defend the proposal at a hearing—a meeting attended by the student, the advisor, and two other Sociology and/or Community & Environmental Sociology faculty members who have agreed to serve as a dissertation advisory committee. The purpose of the hearing is to ascertain the quality and feasibility of the proposal.
Procedures for arranging the proposal hearing:
- The student communicates with their committee members (the faculty advisor and two Sociology and/or Community & Environmental Sociology professors) and schedules a date and time for the two-hour hearing.
- The student asks the Sociology Department’s administrative coordinator to reserve a room for the hearing and notifies the committee members of the location.
- The student distributes the proposal to the committee members. (Note: it’s wise for students to ask committee members how much lead time they’ll need.)
- The student downloads the dissertation proposal hearing form and takes it with them to the hearing.
- At the conclusion of the hearing, the three committee members decide whether to approve the proposal as is, to approve it with agreed-upon revisions, or to withhold approval and schedule another hearing after additional work on the proposal has been completed. The student’s major professor then signs the hearing form.
- If the proposal has been approved or approved with revisions, the student gives the signed form along with a copy of the proposal to the chair’s assistant; the chair’s assistant keeps both documents in the department’s files. The student gives a copy of the signed form to the graduate program advisor, who places it in the student’s file. (Note: Once approved, the proposal serves as a contract between the student and the committee.)