Dissertation Proposals

Procedures for Presenting Dissertation Proposals

Writing and presenting the proposal provides students the opportunity to define research goals and strategies clearly and to receive criticism and suggestions from a wide range of informed readers. Students are challenged to demonstrate both the project's validity and their own capacity to complete it. The proposal should, therefore, in its form and content, inform its readers about both the specific nature of the project and the quality of its author's thinking. The specific charge of the Graduate Studies Committee [GSC] is to evaluate the appropriateness of the proposed dissertation and the proposed supervising committee for the particular dissertation. The GSC evaluates the dissertation proposal based on an established set of criteria.

Students interested in pursuing a creative dissertation should review the Creative Project as Dissertation Guidelines

Preparing the Proposal

After a student has passed the doctoral field examinations, she or he will register for HUAS 8305, HUHI 8305, or HUSL 8305 (independent study) with the faculty member she or he expects to chair the dissertation supervisory committee in order to prepare a dissertation proposal. Students will continue to register for this credit in following semesters until the proposal has been accepted by the Graduate Studies Committee. Students must be enrolled in at least 3 credit hours in order to submit their proposals to the GSC.

Dissertation proposals should be no more than 2500 words, excluding bibliography. The proposal should include a description of the project, a review of the literature, the proposed methodology, and the project's expected contribution to the humanities. Students may also include a statement of their qualifications and preparation and a description of the relevant research specialties of the four faculty members whom they propose for the supervising committee.

Normally, the four supervising members will be tenured or tenure-track members of the Arts and Humanities faculty. The student, in consultation with the dissertation supervisor, will propose the committee membership. Proposed committees for the PhD in Humanities should include representatives from at least two of the three major areas of the program.

All bibliographic entries must be presented in conformity with MLA or Turabian citation style. (Turabian is preferred.)

The proposal must include a title page providing the student's name, the title of the proposed dissertation, and the names of the members of the proposed supervising committee. On the hard copy of the proposal, each member of the proposed committee must sign this page to indicate a willingness to serve on the committee. The student's name should appear only on the title page.

Students must submit to the Graduate Coordinator in hard copy:

Students must submit to the Graduate Coordinator by email as an attachment in Word-compatible format:

  • The dissertation proposal including title page without signatures

Learn more about writing Doctoral Dissertation Proposals

Learn more about the University's dissertation procedures and policies in the UTD Guide for Doctoral Dissertations.

Reviewing the Proposal

The GSC will hold regular meetings in the Fall semester and in the Spring semester. The proposal, signed by the proposed committee members, must be presented to the Associate Dean for distribution to the members of the GSC at least 14 days before the next meeting at which proposals will be reviewed. The GSC evaluates the dissertation proposal based on an established set of criteria. Normally, the GSC will ratify the dissertation proposal and the proposed membership of the supervising committee. In some cases, it may suggest changes in the proposal and/or the proposed membership of the supervising committee.

The Associate Dean for Graduate Studies will inform the candidate of the GSC's decision by letter, sending a copy of the letter to the candidate's supervising committee. The GSC's decision to accept or return a proposal will be based on a majority vote (excluding abstentions). All students whose proposal has been returned must meet with the Associate Dean, a member of the GSC, and the chair of the student’s supervising committee before the proposal may be resubmitted for consideration.

Should substantial disagreement arise between the GSC and the proposed supervising committee, the chair of the supervising committee will meet with the GSC to resolve the questions. Other members of the supervising committee may also attend that meeting. Should disagreements between the GSC and the proposed supervising committee continue, the position of the Graduate Studies Committee will prevail.

Any student whose proposal is returned a second time must meet with the Associate Dean to discuss whether he or she wishes to continue in the program. If the student wishes to continue, she or he must submit a revised proposal. If this proposal is not accepted, the GSC may recommend that the student be dropped from the program.

After the Proposal is Accepted

The Associate Dean will forward a copy of the accepted proposal to the Executive Dean for Graduate Studies and Research (in accordance with University requirements).

Students will register for HUMA 8V99 with the chairperson of the supervising committee as required by the catalog. Students will consult regularly with their committees; chairpersons of supervising committees will annually report in writing on students' progress.

Students wishing subsequently to change committee membership must petition the GSC, giving the reasons for the proposed change. If membership of the committee changes, students should present to the Associate Dean a new dissertation committee form with the signatures of the committee members.