Current Students

Proposal Hearing Checklist

Fall 2021 Semester

Hearings may be conducted remotely or in-person.

Option 1- Remote hearing via Zoom
The student, dissertation committee and guests all participate using Zoom. The Chair is the host of the meeting. See Best Practices for hosting hearings/defenses on Zoom.

Option 2 - In-person hearing in Heller-Brown Rm 147 (room capacity 12)*
The student, dissertation committee and guests gather in assigned room, adhering to Covid-19 policies. The policy for an in-person hearing is that the student may request permission from the PhD Program Director to allow one member of the committee, typically the outside member, to participate remotely.

*If more space for guests is needed we can request another room.

At least three weeks before proposal hearing date

Write a letter requesting your proposal hearing to Diana Bowser, PhD Program Director. Please send the letter as an attachment via email to Diana Bowser ( and copy Cheryl Sweeney ( Use the template in the Dissertation Standards and Procedures, Appendix 4, page 15. Please be sure to modify the heading and first line of the document to specify proposal.

In this same email you should send your proposal abstract, approved by your Chair. The abstract should be 350– 500 words, if possible. Up to 1½ pages is acceptable. Use this model for your abstract (Dissertation Standards and Procedures, Appendix 3 on page 14).

Remote hearing via Zoom
Please send Zoom meeting link to Cheryl Sweeney ( and Rosella Carrelli (  If you need assistance with Zoom please contact Media Technology Services (MTS) at 781-736-4632. Zoom is the web-based communications system available at Brandeis.

In-person hearing in Heller-Brown Rm 147 (reserve room through Rosella)
The program will reimburse your external committee member up to $500 for travel expenses to attend an in-person hearing.   Please contact Vicki Corpian if your outside member will require travel reimbursement. 

A minimum of two weeks before proposal hearing

Provide an electronic copy of your proposal to the members of your committee and the PhD Program Office two weeks prior to the hearing. This is a minimum expectation. Proposal hearings may not proceed if the proposal is not submitted at least two weeks in advance. 

Inform Cheryl Sweeney if you do not wish to have your proposal added to the online (password protected) Proposal Library.

Day of hearing

The signed Action on Dissertation Proposal form will be sent to your Chair prior to your hearing. At the end of your hearing your Committee will make one of these recommendations: 1) approved; 2) action deferred pending minor revisions and Chair approval; 3) rejected. Your Chair will complete and sign the form and electronically return it to Cheryl Sweeney, Program Manager. (

Proposal hearings and dissertation defenses are academic events. If you are having an in-person hearing please do not provide refreshments for the committee and guests during your hearing. Food can be shared after the hearing has concluded.