All Doctoral candidates will submit to each member of his/her Supervisory Committee for approval of a dissertation proposal prior to initiating data collection for the dissertation or, in the case of extant data, prior to initiating data analysis. This fully-developed proposal will include a summary of the theoretical framework, including review of relevant literature, statement of purpose, theoretical construct to be tested where relevant, methods and procedures, and precise statements of data analytic strategies (including statistical tools where appropriate). A meeting will then be held (a minimum of ten (10) working days after each Supervisory Committee member receives a copy of the proposal), attended by all members of the Supervisory Committee. At this meeting, the student will defend the proposal as a contribution to the body of knowledge in the field.

Approval of the proposal by the Supervisory Committee will be done by a motion and vote of each Committee member. Upon a passing vote, Supervisory Committee members will indicate approval by signing the cover page. If the Committee requests changes in any aspect of the proposal, the student will revise the proposal and resubmit to the Committee members, who will then indicate their approval by signing the cover page. Evaluation of the Supervisory Committee members may include: approval, approval of concept/refinement of content or methodology, or unacceptable.

A signed proposal constitutes a contract between the student and the Supervisory Committee. Should the student wish to change the dissertation substantially, written agreement must be obtained from the Supervisory Committee.