Doctoral Studies - Music and Performing Arts

Dissertation Proposal Review

Dissertation Proposal

See submission of your is governed by the school-wide policies and procedures for your dissertation proposal

Students must have fulfilled all conditions set by the School for filing proposals. The information below is department specific and complimentary to that provided by the School.

When and How to Apply for Proposal Review

To be eligible to submit your dissertation proposal review, you must:

  • Have taken the Dissertation Proposal Seminar (MPAIA-GE.3097), or equivalent course as required by your program.
  • Have successfully completed the topic review process.
  • Have a full dissertation committee already appointed (see Dissertation Committee below).
  • Have met with all members of the committee, and have their approval for submission. This is formalized by the committee’s signing of a Dissertation Proposal Cover Sheet available from here. The form must be completely filled out and attached to the front of the proposal.
  • Complete the IRB Form (found in the UCAIHS site) and include it with the proposal, only when your study involves human participants (interviews, subjects for observation, data collection, etc.). Please note that this form is not to be submitted to UCAIHS until after your proposal has been approved. Students planning to file for exemption should also complete and include the form appropriately filled out for the exemption with their submission.

Generally, proposals are submitted for review no earlier than the semester following topic review (Typically Spring of the third year for full-time students).

Dissertation proposals should be emailed to Dr. Jonathan Jones ( by the pre-specified deadline each semester. You may begin submitting a week prior to the deadline. See more information on upcoming submission deadlines.

Dissertation Committee

Prior to submitting your dissertation proposal, your dissertation committee must have been selected and officially appointed. It is your responsibility to approach members of the faculty to ask them to serve on your committee, starting with the Chair. Once you have secured a Chair, you might wish to discuss with her/him the possibility of other members of the committee, before inviting them to serve.

The dissertation committee should be comprised of three professors, usually including faculty members from the doctoral candidate’s program, and at least one member outside the candidate’s discipline or program. Most committee members will be from the full-time faculty, but in rare occasions Adjunct Professors with earned doctorates may also serve.

See information on the official process of appointing a dissertation committee.


The dissertation proposal document should address and include the following:

  • Titlepage (The same format as for the dissertation, which can be found here.)
  • Table of Contents
  • Title
  • Problem Statement
  • Statement of Subproblems
  • Definitions
  • Delimitations/Limitations
  • Need for Study
  • Discussion of Related Literature
  • Discussion of Method as related to each sub-problem
  • A sample of method applied to a portion of data (i.e., sample analysis, pilot study, etc.), or a deep discussion of theory or other factors if a sample analysis is not appropriate to the study
  • Bibliography
  • Appendices

This enumeration of factors to be included is not intended as a prescription of form, but as elements that must be addressed in some formal manner in the proposal.

Additionally, the submission must include:

  • The candidate’s Curriculum Vitae
  • A filled-out copy of the Dissertation Proposal Cover Sheet, signed by all three members of the dissertation committee
  • A filled-out copy of an IRB form, whenever applicable


The review of the proposal will be the responsibility of a committee, consisting of two members appointed by the Director of Doctoral Studies from among all available and qualified doctoral faculty. The committee will typically include at least one faculty member from the student’s program. The student and Chair of the Dissertation Committee are expected to attend the review.

The outcome of the review will fall into one of the following categories: Approved, Approved with Major or Minor revisions, or Rejected. Whatever the outcome, all students will receive a written summary of the review including the committee’s recommendations going forward. In the case that revisions are requested, the summary letter will also specify a timeline for the completion of those modifications.

No proposals are to be submitted to the graduate office until the student has received the response of the Departmental Proposal Review Committee and complied with its recommendations and any revisions required by Human Subjects Review. See information about dissertation proposals

Sample Dissertation Proposals

Educational Theatre:

Teresa Fisher - "The Fat Body: Interrogating, Exploring, and Understanding Obesity through Applied Theatre"