Dissertation Prospectus and Dissertation

After completing all course work, language requirements, and qualifying exams, each student prepares a dissertation prospectus. The prospectus itself ordinarily should include a statement of the precise nature of the topic, its significance, its relationship to previous work, the method and sources to be employed in the dissertation, a chapter outline, and select bibliography. The prospectus (typically 15–20 pages including bibliography) is reviewed by an ad hoc faculty committee with expertise in the dissertation topic. Shortly after submission of the prospectus to the committee, a dissertation colloquium is held. The colloquium is a cooperative, collegial enterprise, the goal of which is to facilitate the success of the dissertation project. The scope, significance, and feasibility of the topic is discussed, the student receives constructive feedback, and (barring complication) the prospectus is approved. After approval by the committee, the student submits a two-page summary of the prospectus to the entire graduate faculty in Religious Studies and thence (if none object) to the Dean of the Graduate School. The student is then admitted to candidacy for the Ph.D. The dissertation colloquium committee will continue to provide support and feedback throughout the dissertation writing process.