Before advancing to candidacy, all PhD students must write and defend a dissertation prospectus that explains the justification for the dissertation research, reviews the relevant literature, identifies relevant theoretical, epistemological, and methodological issues, and provides a timetable for the completion of the work. The prospectus defense is both an assessment of a student's readiness to proceed with the dissertation after the completion of the QEP and an opportunity for the dissertation committee to provide constructive advice on the project. The dissertation prospectus shouldreadily convey even to a non-specialist the nature and import of the student's project but should be understood as a provisional document that advances the basic argument of the student's dissertation project and therefore should include:
1. A brief description and statement on the significance of the project.
2. An overview of the current state of research.
3. A plan of research and statement on methodology.
4. A preliminary outline of chapters.
5. A preliminary bibliography.
The prospectus should be between 8 and10 pages (approx. 2500 words) in length, not including the bibliography.