PhD Proposal (Qualification) Exam | PhD in Vision Science

Preliminary Oral Examination of Dissertation Proposal

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 qualification exam.

At least two weeks before the dissertation proposal exam, the student should distribute the proposal (in paper or as files) to the Doctoral Dissertation Committee. 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 the field of vision science and whether the student is able to carry out the research accordingly. Once passing the proposal exam, the student may begin his/her doctoral dissertation research. A student should complete the preliminary proposal examination within one year after advanced into the candidacy.