All PhD students at UGA must present a dissertation on some subject connected with his/her major field of study. The dissertation must represent originality in research, independent thinking, scholarly ability, and technical mastery of a field of study. The conclusions must be logical, the literary form acceptable, and the contribution to knowledge meriting publication.
Persons who serve on your Advisory Committee at the time the dissertation research is undertaken must be faculty members knowledgeable in the areas of your research. The major professor has the primary responsibility for guiding your research, but you should consult all members of the Advisory Committee to draw upon their expertise in relevant areas.
Dissertation Prospectus and Proposal
The major professor and Advisory Committee shall guide you in planning your dissertation. To inform your Advisory Committee of your research will write a Dissertation Prospectus, and then give a presentation to your Advisory Committee in which you propose your planned research.
The Dissertation Prospectus is an essay on your proposed dissertation research. This essay should review the pertinent literature, present any new preliminary results you have obtained, and give a clear indication of the direction of proposed research for your dissertation. The essay should demonstrate concise professional writing and should not exceed 30 standard pages of typescript (single-spaced, and in 12-point font).
When your major professor certifies that your Dissertation Prospectus is satisfactory, it must be formally considered by the Advisory Committee in a meeting with you. This meeting is an oral examination during which you present to your Advisory Committee your literature review and preliminary research results, and describe how you intend to complete your dissertation. Your Advisory Committee examines you on the proposed research, considers its feasibility, and advises you accordingly. In rare situations, it is possible that you will be advised to seek another, hopefully related, research topic.
Note that this formal consideration may not take the place of the oral Comprehensive Examination, by specific directive of the Graduate School.
Approval of the Dissertation Prospectus, and of your presentation of its content, signifies that members of the Advisory Committee believe that you have proposed a satisfactory plan for your research study. Approval of the Prospectus requires the agreement of the Advisory Committee with no more than one dissenting vote as evidenced by their signing an appropriate form, which, together with the approved Prospectus, is filed with the Graduate Coordinator.