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Dissertation Proposal

The dissertation proposal is crucial in the dissertation process and should culminate with a formal and public dissertation proposal hearing with the full committee present. Approval of the dissertation proposal establishes the expectations for the final dissertation and assures agreement among the committee with the student’s methods and research strategy prior to proceeding to the final stages of the dissertation.

  • Data collection is not allowed to begin before Approval from the institutional Review Board has been issued.
  • Schedule the proposal defense hearing and arrange for a location with the program office according to the major school policies.  It does not need to be scheduled with the Graduate School.  It is the student’s responsibility to make sure all committee members are available and aware of the time and place.
  • During the proposal hearing, committee members will direct questions to the student and point out concerns regarding the proposed project. It is a good idea for the student (or the student may arrange for a fellow student) to take careful notes of all comments and concerns made and then review the notes with the committee before the hearing is over to insure that all the requested changes are included.
  • After the proposal hearing, the proposal is to be revised according to committee requirements.  It is the student’s responsibility, in consultation with the research advisor, to address those concerns in a revised proposal.  The revised proposal should be circulated with a signature page to the committee for review and sign the signature page if they approve of the revisions.  A second committee meeting is optional but may be required by the committee. All committee members’ signatures are required in order to pass.

For full text, see Graduate Catalog

Filing Dissertation Proposal with the Graduate School (GS)

While the Graduate School does not review or approve the format of the Proposal, it is required that the Proposal Signature Page (pdf) follow the University format requirements and check to be sure the committee members are the same as those appointed to your committee. 

It is recommend that you use the Format Manual (pdf) to set up your proposal to make the final dissertation a cleaner product and avoid problems when you reset margins and insert tables and/or figures later.

In order to approve your proposal and change your grade, the Graduate School does confirm that you have met these prerequisites for Doctoral Candidacy:

  • Results of the Written Comps have been recorded by the GS
  • Results of the Oral Comps have been recorded by the GS
  • Plan of Study on file with the GS
  • Research Committee on record in the Graduate School must match what is on the Proposal Signature Page.

An electronic copy of your dissertation proposal should be emailed to the Thesis & Dissertation Specialist, Carol Steward, at carol.steward@unco.edu.

Once we have confirmed that all requirements have been met, we send authorization to the Registrar’s Office to change your Proposal Hours from  “NR” to “S”.


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