Dissertation Prospectus & Dissertation
The dissertation topic should be chosen in careful consultation with the student's advisor and must be approved by the doctoral committee before the end of the tenth week of the fifth semester. A written prospectus of the dissertation that defines the thesis argument, explains its significance, examines previous scholarship, and provides a research/writing plan is required (plus a select bibliography). This prospectus is to be presented, discussed, and approved in a group meeting of the doctoral committee before the student proceeds fully with the topic. It is the responsibility of the graduate student to find a date, time, and location that is convenient for all members of the committee. An approved prospectus should be deposited by the student’s advisor in the Department of Art History office (240A Borland Building) with Christine Cooper, where it will be available to all graduate students and faculty.
Dissertation (Ph.D. thesis) research is undertaken in earnest after a student passes the comprehensive examination and has her/his prospectus approved by the doctoral committee. Be sure to consult the Thesis Guide and information at www.gradschool.psu.edu/current/thesis.html. Please be aware of the University’s “continuous registration” requirement for doctoral students working on dissertations: http://bulletins.psu.edu/bulletins/whitebook/degree_requirements.cfm?section=degreeReq2
The student should hold a meeting once a year to update their doctoral committee about her/his progress. All committee members should review at least one chapter draft fairly early in the process to make sure all are agreeable to the topic, method, depth of research, quality of writing, etc. It is the responsibility of the advisor to critique each chapter as it is produced. The final defense should only be scheduled after the advisor has read the entire dissertation and deems it ready for distribution to the entire committee.