PhD Proposal (Qualification) Exam | PhD in Vision Science

Students are required to write a dissertation research proposal for approval by their Doctoral Dissertation Committee. The proposal examination will be conducted in both written and oral format and must be completed within one year after the student completes the Comprehensive Knowledge exam.

At least two weeks before the dissertation proposal exam, the student should distribute the proposal (in paper or as files). The proposal should be formatted as a proposal for grant application (e.g., NIH grant proposal), including the following (or equivalent) elements:

  • Specific aims: Describe the main research questions, the major hypotheses and outline the experiments to test them
  • Background and significance: Include a focused literature review on the topics and rationale for the importance of the research
  • Preliminary studies or progress report: Describe the relevant preparation or research that has been done by the student toward completing his/her dissertation
  • Research design or methods: Describe the planned research
  • References

The Dissertation Committee will consider whether the research contributes to vision science and whether the student can carry out the research accordingly. Once passing the proposal exam, the student is advanced to the Ph.D. Candidacy.