Fine Arts Doctoral Program Guidelines
Formulated by the
VISUAL AND PERFORMING ARTS GRADUATE COMMITTEE
for reference by students and advisors
These policies are related to the interdisciplinary aspects of the program. Each student must consult the graduate advisor of the appropriate field of specialization area for policies specific to the specialization. Revisions are in force as the date appearing on the section. (May 2011)
SECTION I. THE PROGRAM
(Revised December 2015)
Administration and Mission
Established in 1972, the Fine Arts Doctoral Program (FADP) has been administered within the College of Visual and Performing Arts, since September 2002. Its arts core courses have incorporated greater interdisciplinarity beginning with the cohort of students entering in Fall 2014.
The mission of the Fine Arts Doctoral Program is to offer a unique interdisciplinary education in Art, Music, Theatre, and Philosophy; provide a comprehensive approach to doctoral study of the arts and of aesthetic principles; and foster leadership in the arts for emerging and established institutions for the benefit of our cultural communities and society as a whole.
The Fine Arts Doctoral Program is committed to artistic and academic excellence; multidisciplinary perspectives on the arts; development of individual and interactive talent; creativity and innovation; diversity and flexibility; depth and breadth of training; artistic and academic integrity; and artistic and academic freedom.
The Fine Arts Doctoral Program will achieve regional, national, and international recognition for its disciplinary and multidisciplinary innovation and excellence, for its preparation of effective leaders for creative academic and administrative positions, and for its provision of a stimulating and inspiring environment to those who wish and are qualified for advanced and innovative education in the arts.
The Dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts appoints the Interdisciplinary Arts faculty member, Graduate Advisor (or equivalent title) and one representative from each of the three field- of-specialization units to serve on the Graduate Committee (GC), the group charged with supervising the Fine Arts Doctoral Program. An Associate Dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts is director of the FADP, chairs the Graduate Committee, and serves as liaison to Directors of Art, Music, Theatre and Dance, and Philosophy.
Among other responsibilities, the Graduate Committee makes final recommendations to the Dean of the Graduate School on admissions and maintains a continuing review of all aspects of the program. Acting on behalf of the committee, the Director reviews individual admissions worksheets and degree plans, and forwards them to the Graduate School.
The three divisions of Art, Music, and Theatre Arts exercise responsibility for students in their individual fields of specialization. This responsibility includes screening applicants and recommending admission, counseling students in the development of individual degree plans, administering examinations, and forming advisory committees for direction of dissertations. For this reason, the Graduate Advisor in each unit constitutes an important liaison to the Graduate Committee.
A note on terminology: the degree program is “doctorate in Fine Arts,” “Minor” refers to the multidisciplinary core courses, and “Field of Specialization” refers to the field. i.e., art, music, or theatre art, in which the student will focus her or his dissertation..
SECTION II. REQUIREMENTS, OVERVIEW
(Revised December 2014)
The Graduate Committee admits students to the Fine Arts Doctoral Program and awards scholarships/fellowships to Fine Arts doctoral students in compliance with the policies of Texas Tech University and the State of Texas. The Graduate Committee was established according to the provisions of the original program proposal approved by the State Coordinating Board. As such, it has the responsibility of reviewing and acting on all applications for admission to the program.
Students applying for admission to the Fine Arts Doctoral Program must apply both to the Graduate School and to the School or Department (Art, Music, or Theatre and Dance) in the intended field of specialization. Applications approved by a School or Department, which are evaluated according to the criteria and policies of that School or Department, are then forwarded to the Graduate Committee for consideration. The GC does not automatically approve applicants who are recommended by their field of specification, but it weighs such recommendations most heavily among all the factors considered. The GC considers the individual profile of the student (in particular, his or her professional goals, past professional and educational experiences, portfolios or other demonstrations of ability and motivation, and recommendations), the artistic and academic records of the student, and the test scores of the student. The Graduate Committee evaluates candidates on all pertinent available evidence and seeks to admit the strongest candidates.
Applications to the FADP from students who are currently enrolled in master's degree programs at Texas Tech University will be considered only during the final semester of the master's program. A letter from the thesis advisory chair that certifies the projected completion date must accompany the application at the time of its submission. The admitting Department or School must send a letter to the applicant/student stipulating conditions of admission, including completion of requirements for the master's degree program.
Initial enrollment in coursework should follow the counsel of the graduate advisor in the major. The official program of work is not developed until after a diagnostic evaluation and/or a preliminary examination.
Regardless of the amount of graduate work which may have been completed elsewhere, every applicant for the doctorate is required to complete at least one year of graduate study beyond the master’s degree in residence at Texas Tech. The aim of this requirement is to ensure that every doctoral candidate devotes a substantial period of time to study without the distraction of employment outside the university. For this reason, no one should contemplate doctoral candidacy who is not able or willing to spend at least one year as a full-time student.
The residence requirement for the FADP is fulfilled by satisfactory completion of 18 semester hours of graduate coursework during one 12-month period. The plan for meeting this requirement must be indicated on the form for submitting the doctoral degree plan to the Graduate School.
Resolving Academic Disputes: the Graduate Academic Committee
Graduate students shall follow one of the two following procedures for resolving disagreements with faculty involving substantive academic issues. The first is a departmental process; the second is a more formal process that requires several of the steps established within the departmental process, and that may culminate in a hearing convened by the Graduate School. Students must follow the departmental process as initial attempts to resolve academic disagreements; failure to do so could result in disciplinary action up to and including suspension from the program.
For complete discussion, refer to the Academic Disputes & Appeals page on the CVPA website. Briefly stated, the departmental process requires the student to discuss the complaint first with the unit Graduate Advisor or Graduate Coordinator; then, if not satisfied, to discuss the complaint with the Chair or Director. Should the student be dissatisfied with the outcome, he/she notifies the Chair or Director and requests a hearing by a Graduate Academic Committee. The unit administrator then confers with the Dean or Associate Dean charged with graduate and faculty issues to ascertain whether the dispute meets criteria for a hearing by the GAC. If so, a college Graduate Academic Committee is convened as the culmination of the departmental process to resolve issues (see also individual unit handbooks for graduate students).
Diagnostic Evaluation/Preliminary Examination
Each doctoral program at Texas Tech includes a diagnostic evaluation, usually administered by written or oral examination, or both, during the first semester of doctoral work. The purpose of this evaluation is to determine the student’s preparation for doctoral study in the field of specialization and to discover aspects of the discipline where additional preparation is needed. On the basis of this evaluation the official program of study is determined and recorded in the degree plan.
The degree plan records the minimum coursework required to complete the program of study and is filed with the Graduate School for its review and approval. At its inception, a template may be used. information required on the final plan comprises: leveling courses (if any), tool or foundation subject (if any), coursework in the core (minor), eleven courses in the field of specialization, dissertation hours (12), dissertation Advisory Committee chair, and dissertation topic. The degree plan should be submitted to the Graduate School and to the Director of the Fine Arts Doctoral Program before the end of the first year, preferably near the end of the first semester of doctoral work.
The Dissertation Advisory Committee
Soon after the student’s preliminary evaluation, an advisory committee is appointed by the Dean of the Graduate School, with members recommended by the department involved. Each nominee must hold membership on the Graduate Faculty. This committee ordinarily includes at least three members from the department of the field of specialization and at least two members from core and/or related areas (the latter may be determined at a later date). Interdisciplinary Arts faculty members may participate as specialization faculty of their designated home unit, whether the role is committee member or chair. Departures from ordinary arrangements must be approved by the College of Visual and Performing Arts Graduate Committee. The function of this committee is to guide the student in all remaining aspects of the program and especially in research leading to the dissertation.
Students must consult field-specific procedures to effect changes in advisory committee membership.
In addition to study in the field of specialization, each student completes a series of core courses as a minor comprising 15 hours of work outside the specialization. Students engage a core program (five courses) that emphasizes interdisciplinarity among the arts. It comprises four required courses: a Colloquium that explores disciplinary formation and types of interdisciplinary engagement, an integrated Arts Histories course, Arts in A Contemporary Context, and one of two courses in philosophical Aesthetics; additional Topics approved courses and offerings in philosophy complete a student's core program. Students then specialize in a specific area of visual or performing arts.
- VPA 5301: Colloquium, cohort course
- VPA 5310: Arts Histories, suggested as cohort course
- VPA 5314: Arts in A Contemporary Context, suggested as cohort course
- PHIL 5310, 5314
- TH A 5310, 5314
- VPA 5300: Topics in the Visual & Performing Arts (approved for core)
A student may submit one course through the unit's Graduate Advisor or Coordinator to the CVPA Graduate Committee for consideration as an alternative to one of the regular approved core courses. (Students completing a core program pre-existing revisions effected in 2014 may receive approval to substitute more than a single course.) The intent is to preserve distribution in all FADP disciplines but to allow for alternatives that fulfill multi- and inter-disciplinary intent of the core.
Field of Specialization and Dissertation Hours
Each student must complete a minimum of 33 hours in the field of specialization beyond the master’s degree. The coursework in the specialization is determined in consultation with the graduate advisor or the advisory committee. The dissertation requires an additional enrollment of at least 12 hours. Once dissertation research has begun, the student must enroll in dissertation hours (8000) each semester, including summers, until the project is complete. Continuous enrollment in dissertation hours can be curtailed only if a formal leave of absence from the program has been granted for medical or emergency reasons
The Qualifying Examination
Near or at the end of the coursework, each doctoral student undergoes extensive examination over the fields of study involved in the program. This examination covers both the core (minor) and the field of specialization; effective Fall 2012, all portions of the exam must be completed prior to repeating any single component of the qualifying examination.
MINOR (Core). The core examination is designed to test the student’s general understanding of concepts and materials implicit in the program of core courses required for the degree. It is conducted according to the policy set forth in SECTION III, CORE EXAMINATION GUIDELINES.
FIELD OF SPECIALIZATION. The examination in the field of specialization is conducted according to the policy of the department involved.
When the examination in both the minor (core) and the field of specialization have been evaluated, the Graduate Advisor reports the results to the Graduate School. If all components of the examination have been passed and all other requirements for candidacy have been met, the Advisor will recommend that the student be admitted to candidacy for the doctorate. If the examination is not passed, the Graduate School will notify the student that one additional opportunity to pass the examination will be permitted. Students taking the qualifying exam on second attempt can repeat only the segment(s) failed at first attempt.
Some units require a formal or informal dissertation proposal, for which the student must consult policies in the field of specialization.
Each candidate for the doctorate in Fine Arts writes a formal dissertation under the direction of his or her advisory committee for submission to the Dean of the Graduate School. The form of the dissertation project varies from student to student, but follows one of three options: internship study (see SECTION IV), professional problem (see SECTION V), or more traditional research. Some students may choose to develop dissertations from a multidisciplinary approach, in which case the advisory committee should reflect the breadth of the choice and coursework preparation may be more extensive. In any case, the project involves some mode of research and analysis and includes a stated problem, hypothesis, and planned structure of execution. Its written form conforms to the Graduate School’s Instructions for Preparing and Submitting Theses and Dissertations.
Proposal and Dissertation Distribution
The Fine Arts Doctoral Program values inter- and multi-disciplinary interaction, and, in order to facilitate such discussion, requires that final copies of FADP dissertation proposals be distributed to advisory committee members at least three weeks in advance of the committee meeting and that final copies of dissertations be presented at least four weeks in advance of the final examination (defense). That draft shall be the version discussed at the meeting (i.e., no changes are allowed during the period between distribution and committee meeting).
Should all committee members agree, the duration for perusal may be lessened in order to facilitate a successful defense with minimal emendations required for the final document, students are strongly encouraged to submit one or more chapters to committee members for review well in advace of circulating the final form to be used at the defense (faculty members mayh decline to participate in advance shold they wish). Sufficient lead time must be allowed to enable the student to incorporate revisions and, when necessary, to apply them independently throughout the entire document.
The student must consult policies in the field of specialization, since some specializations may require advance distribution of greater duration than specified herein.
Final Examination (“DEFENSE”)
A final public oral examination over the general field of the dissertation, often termed the defense, is required of every candidate for the doctorate. It may be scheduled at any suitable time after the dissertation (not necessarily the final version) has been approved by the advisory committee. The examination may not be administered until at least three weeks have elapsed following the candidate’s submission to the Graduate School of the form for scheduling the examination. The student must consult the Thesis/Dissertation Coordinator in the Graduate School for copies of this form.
The advisory committee and the Dean of the Graduate School (or the dean’s representative) conduct the examination. All members of the committee participate fully in the examination and cast a vote. The examination is public so visitors, including professors other than members of the committee, may participate in the examination although they have no vote in determining the outcome. At the conclusion of the examination, the chair of the advisory committee will send a written notice to the Graduate School giving the result of the examination.
SECTION III. CORE EXAMINATION GUIDELINES
(Revised December 2013)
The core examination is designed to test the student’s general understanding of concepts and materials implicit in the program of core courses (minor). The goal is to demonstrate an ability to relate general issues and concerns common to all the arts. The Director of the Fine Arts Doctoral Program distributes questions from previous core examinations which illustrate the types of issues assigned by previous examination committees (see Core Exam Questions).
1. When should a student take the core exam?
Students can undertake the core exam immediately following completion of core course work. However, the core exam constitutes a portion of the qualifying exam so, ideally, the date for the former will be close to that of the qualifying exam covering the specialization. All components of the exam must be completed before results can be recorded and, if necessary, portions of the exam be repeated.
2. How is the core committee formed?
In consultation with his or her area advisor, the student selects the committee. One committee member must be from Art, one from Music, one from Philosophy, and one from Theatre. Ideally, the committee members will be drawn from the group of instructors who have taught the student in the core classes; when this is not possible, other core course instructors can be asked to serve on the committee. An interdisciplinary-arts faculty member can be asked to serve on the committee in place of the disciplinary representative from the interdisciplinary-arts faculty member’s designated home unit. Should interdisciplinary-arts faculty be considered as a replacement for a member not from the interdisciplinary-arts faculty member's designated home unit, the student must submit a list of core courses completed to the Director of the FADP who will consult identified exam committee members with regard to the appropriate substitution.
The student should contact the prospective committee members and ask if they will be on the committee. When a question-writer has been identified, that faculty member will assist or advise the student in completing arrangements for the exam. The Director of the Fine Arts Doctoral Program is automatically the chair of the committee, unless the director is required to serve as a unit representative. In that case, the dean or another associate dean shall chair the examination committee. All members of the committee, including its chair, are voting members.
3. Who writes the question?
The student picks the committee member that the student would like to have write the question and asks that person if he or she is willing to do so. The person who writes the question cannot be from the student’s field of specialization. Students are strongly encouraged to select a writer from one of the arts areas, in order to maintain the notion of a degree in Fine Arts and to avoid placing an undue burden of service on instructors of aesthetics.
4. How is the question approved?
After talking to the student about his or her interests and experiences, the examiner writes a question and distributes it to other members of the committee for discussion. Once the committee members have had an opportunity to make suggestions about the question within a specified period of time, the examiner sends by e-mail or campus mail a revised version of the question to all committee members, who will promptly inform both the Fine Arts Doctoral Program director and the author of the question whether or not they approve the question.
5. How is the exam scheduled and how are the arrangements finalized?
While the committee is being formed, the student suggests a target date for the exam in consultation with the committee. After the committee is formed and a date is confirmed, arrangements can be finalized. With the guidance of the specialization advisor, the student reserves a suitable room and sends an announcement about the time and place to members of the committee and to the graduate directors of Art, Music, and Theatre specializations, who may post or otherwise publicize the announcement.
The question must be formally approved by committee members and the Director of the FADP. The student receives the approved question two weeks in advance of the exam date. After receiving the question, the student is expected to meet with the committee members in preparation for the exam. The director or presiding member of the committee need not meet with students unless questions arise about exam procedures or expectations.
6. What happens at the core examination?
The Fine Arts Doctoral Program director presides at the exam. The exam is open, meaning that other students, faculty members, or interested parties may attend as visitors. As the exam begins, all individuals present are recognized. The question is read aloud, and the student then has up to twenty minutes to present the assigned topic and to make a presentation responding to the question. As is the case with any exam testing synthesis of material, questions may pertain directly to the topic or may follow up on issues raised within the presentation itself. Discussion among the committee members during the questioning portion of the exam is likely. The questioning period should last approximately forty minutes. If time permits, when all of the committee members have had an opportunity to question the student, any visitors present may ask questions.
At the conclusion of the questioning, the student and any visitors are asked to leave the room, and the committee members discuss and evaluate the student’s presentation and responses. No written vote is taken, and committee decision does not need to be unanimous; a majority in favor of passing will result in a decision to pass, while a majority in favor of failing will result in a decision to fail. When the committee members have reached a decision about whether the student has passed or failed, the student is invited back into the room and is given the committee’s decision, at which time committee members are encouraged to discuss briefly both performance and outcome with the student.
7. What do committee members expect in students’ core examinations?
Examiners expect the following:
- The ability (a) to identify a single thesis or a set of central arguments in response to the question; (b) the ability to provide and explain convincing evidence to support the thesis/arguments; and (c) the ability to respond intelligently to challenges to the thesis/arguments.
- An understanding of key principles of arts and aesthetics.
- The ability to synthesize and apply concepts presented in the core courses.
- Understanding and application of interdisciplinary and/or multidisciplinary strategies.
- The ability to discuss accurately and clearly selected examples of art, music, and theatre that pertain to the question being asked.
- A broad general knowledge of art, music, theatre, and aesthetics.
- Insight into the topic being discussed and into the implications of that topic.
- The ability to deliver an oral presentation of professional quality in terms of clarity and organization.
- Intellectual curiosity and intellectual engagement.
At each exam, committee members complete forms to register their assessments of uniform characteristics; the individual assessments are compiled using the attached rubric.
The use of hand-outs, and audio-visual aids in the core exam presentation is welcome as long as the aids are appropriate for the topic and for the student's approach to the topic. Elaborate audio-visual aids are not, however, a substitute for the skills, abilities, and characteristics identified above.
8. What happens after the core examination?
The Fine Arts Doctoral Program director will complete the exam rubric that indicates whether the student passed or failed the exam. The rubric is sent to members of the committee and to the unit's graduate advisor for placement in student's file; an abbreviated record is sent to the student. If the student passed, the student proceeds with his or her program of study. When a student completes the remaining segments of the qualifying exam (covering the specialization), the unit’s Graduate Advisor files a report form at the Graduate School with results of the entire qualifying exam, and, if required, dissertation proposal. At this point, the student is recommended for Candidacy.
If the student failed, student continues with the qualifying exam process and completes all other portions of the exam as required within the specialization. When all components are completed, the Graduate Advisor sends a report form to the Graduate School as record of the first failure in the qualifying exam process. Graduate School policy dictates that “[a]n applicant who does not pass the qualifying examination* may be permitted to repeat it once after a time lapse of at least four months and not more than twelve months from the date of the unsatisfactory examination. Failure to pass the qualifying examination within the specified time will result in dismissal from the program irrespective of performance in other aspects of doctoral study” (Graduate Catalog, 2010-11). Ordinarily, the original committee members will remain on the committee for the second exam, and the same or a different person may write the second question; exceptions to the ordinary procedure must be approved by the core committee. A student who is to take a second examination may continue to take course work in the field of specialization but may also be advised to enroll in or audit additional core courses. A student must retake only the portion(s) of the exam failed at first attempt; repeated failure on any single component then results in failure of the entire exam at second attempt.
*The Fine Arts Doctoral Program Qualifying Examination process comprises an examination of the multidisciplinary core as a minor area and a departmental examination of the field of specialization.
9. What if other questions or ambiguities arise concerning the
The Fine Arts Doctoral Program director will be responsible for making decisions in such cases.
SECTION IV. INTERNSHIP GUIDELINES
(Revised January 2003)
A professional internship may be approved as a part of the dissertation requirement of the doctoral program in Fine Arts. The internship itself is extended as a research project that requires analysis, evaluation, and synthesis within a dissertation. Ordinarily, approval is given through the student’s dissertation advisory committee on behalf of the Graduate Committee and is based on review of the stated professional goals of the student and on the nature and location of the internship proposed. Students should follow the guidelines for acceptable internships presented below.
1. What factors distinguish an internship?
The internship must provide the student an opportunity to work under quality professional supervision in the area of specialization, and must allow the student to become acquainted with current best practices in a specific arts situation. It constitutes a legitimate learning situation wherein the research experience extends beyond merely viewing operations in a delimited setting for a specified period of time, and serves primarily the student’s educational needs.
2. What responsibilities lie with the host institution?
The host institution assumes responsibility for assigning specific tasks to the student, subject to the qualifications listed above. The mentor associated with the host institution may be appointed as an auxiliary member of the student’s committee provided that the person meets graduate faculty standards at Texas Tech University. The host institution bears no obligation to employ the student after completion of the internship.
3. What is the role of the advisory committee and the GC in arranging
The student’s dissertation advisory committee bears responsibility for approving the internship proposal, submitting it to GC scrutiny only in instances when its provisions appear not to conform to the intent of these guidelines. In addition, the advisory committee is responsible for formulating agreements and arrangements with the host institution (or for delegating those tasks). With the approval of the advisory committee, either the institution or the student may, for good reason, terminate the relationship at any time before the originally agreed-upon date of completion.
4. How is an internship approved?
Students wishing to use the internship as part of the doctoral program in Fine Arts must submit a proposal in writing to the dissertation advisory committee well in advance of the projected starting date (ideally, six months). The proposal must provide the title and description of the project, including location, relevance to the program, expected outcomes, and other pertinent information. Wherever appropriate, the proposal should provide a review of relevant literature on the project, of critical strategies for completing it, and/or of aspects of the student’s background which might be expected to facilitate successful completion. Finally, the proposal should provide evidence of interest on the part of the proposed host institution if that is possible.
5. When is an internship undertaken?
The Graduate Committee recommends that internships not proceed until qualifying examinations (core and departmental) are satisfactorily completed and the student’s advisory committee has approved the proposal. Neither the GC nor the advisory committee bears any responsibility for difficulties that may result from an internship initiated prior to qualifying exams, initiated prior to committee approval, or proposed fewer than six months in advance of the project.
6. Do I receive credit for an internship?
Students may elect to intern for a period of not less than six months nor more than one year. Normally, only credit for dissertation research or individual research courses may be earned during the internship period. The internship and its presentation in dissertation form will carry no fewer than 12 credit hours toward the degree with no fewer than four terms of 8000 in the field of specialization.
7. What happens during the period of internship?
Communication is essential for an effective internship. During it the student must submit a written report at least every two weeks to the chair of the dissertation advisory committee. The advisory committee is responsible for arranging periodic oversight, whether by means of forwarded reports, site visits, instructional technology (interactive video, virtual galleries, tapes and recordings, etc.), and so on. In addition, the host institution is provided an opportunity to evaluate the internship.
8. How is the project completed?
Upon completion of the internship itself, the student writes a dissertation describing the project, identifying a significant problem or issue addressed within it, explaining his or her approach to the problem through the internship, analyzing the data and/or experience gained, resolving the problem, and evaluating the effectiveness of the resolution. This document must survey previous studies of related projects, acknowledge all relevant scholarship on the subject, and address original aspects of the project itself. The paper must meet the Graduate School’s standards for doctoral dissertations as to format and quality and is submitted to the Dean of the Graduate School when completed.
SECTION V. PROFESSIONAL PROBLEM GUIDELINES
(Revised April 2003)
The Professional Problem
If the topic is approved by a student’s advisory committee, a professional problem may constitute the focus of examination for a dissertation.
By their nature, professional problems can derive from myriad subjects. Like an internship, professional problems involve the researcher in an experiential situation that constitutes a single, unique set of circumstances that requires analysis. It is not always assumed that conclusions gained from this type of situation-specific study can be generalized directly to other situations.
Depending upon the type and structure of examination proposed, professional problems might include extended critical analysis of one’s own creative work, examination of a specific educational or artistic situation or issue, preparation and evaluation of an administrative program, devising and delivering a course of study, and so on. Any such project, when written as a dissertation, includes the stated problem, a thesis, a planned structure of execution, and research of relevant literature on the topic or strategies to explore it. The final form conforms to all Graduate School requirements for dissertations.
The student’s advisory chair must supervise the project closely since professional problems are potentially open-ended investigations. Students who desire to exercise this option should communicate effectively with all concerned throughout the duration of the project, as appropriate. The proposal form that follows constitutes a model that the student and advisory chair, in consultation, might use as a guide so as to conform to the parameters of the specific professional problem.
- WORKING TITLE
Describe the proposed project and its scope or limits. Provide definitions as necessary.
Explain the need for and significance of the proposed project. Describe relevant studies and research related to the problem, explaining how the proposed project will contribute to knowledge about the topic. Describe your qualifications to work on this problem.
This section should demonstrate the researcher's competence to work in this field of study. Descriptions and background research should provide clear evidence of a thorough and disciplined approach to the proposed topic. Discussion must indicate familiarity with relevant literature, ability to distinguish significant works, and consideration of current publications related to the topic proposed.
Present a specific statement of the problem proposed for investigation. This statement represents the focal point of study, and may be stated either as a concise question or as a thesis that is examined (and, one hopes, supported) through this study. A carefully crafted thesis statement implicitly delineates the boundaries or scope of inquiry.
Describe the methods used to complete the project, including critical strategies, if relevant. Justify the use of these method(s) for gathering and analyzing data in relation to the specific project as proposed. If proposing the use of multiple methods, demonstrate the compatibility of the methods in terms of their philosophical bases. This is particularly important if different critical strategies (as opposed to “objective” data analysis) are to be combined. Include all sources that, at this time, you think would contribute to the final work: data bases, surveys, interviews, documents, etc.
List chapter titles and include a brief overview of each.
Suggested chapter outline:
- Chapter I: Introduction
- Chapter II: Background
- Chapter III: The Project
- Chapter IV: Resolution and Implications
NB: Consultation with the advisory chair is essential. In some cases, appendices may comprise the major portion of the dissertation, e.g., surveys, playscripts, documentation of works.
Include references that led to the selection of this project, basic literature already examined, and references that will be examined in the course of study.
Project a chronology of the steps leading to the completion of the proposed problem. Be as detailed as possible, working backwards from the projected date of defense. Consult with the advisory chair to ascertain the time required to review each draft of every chapter, and remember that chapters usually require several reviews. Consult any additional qualifications stipulated by the field of specialization. Meeting all deadlines is the student’s responsibility.