Checklist for Dissertation Proposal Hearing

At least three weeks before proposal hearing date

Once you have cleared the date with your committee, contact Rosella Carrelli to reserve a room for your defense hearing. You may also reserve a laptop through Rosella if needed.

Write a letter requesting your proposal hearing to Jeffrey Prottas, PhD Program Director. Please send the letter as an attachment via email to Jeffrey Prottas ( 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).

Contact Vicki Corpian if your outside member is traveling from a distance and will require reimbursement. The program will reimburse up to $500 toward travel expenses. Rosella will prepare the necessary paperwork and make arrangements to get your outsider’s signature when s/he is here for the hearing. 

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.

If you have a committee member attending remotely and you need help with the technology call MTS at 781-736-4632 for help setting that up and possible assistance on the day of your hearing.

Day of hearing

Make arrangements with Rosella to obtain your Action on Dissertation Proposal form before the hearing. 

Proposal hearings and dissertation defenses are academic events. Please do not provide refreshments for the committee and guests during your hearing. Food can be shared after the hearing has concluded.