Current Students

Proposal Hearing Checklist

Hearings are conducted in-person except in situations where there is an approved accommodation. (See Time Limit in the PhD Program section in the Academic Policies and Procedures)

In-person hearings are held 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 Lisa Lynch, PhD Program Director. Please send the letter as an attachment via email to and Nancy Leonard ( 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).

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 Rosella Carrelli 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 given to the student 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 Rosella Carrelli.

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.