Written Dissertation Research Proposal

The written dissertation research proposal must be submitted to the Multidisciplinary Advisory Committee at least four weeks in advance of the oral presentation. Once the document is submitted to the MAC, students must meet with their committee members individually or as a group to receive preliminary feedback, address necessary changes, and get final approval to move forward with the Dissertation Proposal Oral Presentation. The format of the document should follow an NIH proposal but reduced in size. The proposal should be six pages in total with no more than 1.5 pages dedicated to Specific Aims, Background, and Significance/Rationale. The research question, hypothesis and null hypothesis should be clearly articulated. Students should place emphasis on the methodology to be employed, including study design and statistical analysis. Justifications for the approaches chosen should be articulated, and potential pitfalls and alternative approaches highlighted. Preliminary data may be included. Bibliography, surveys and/or other validated or to-be-developed instruments, questionnaires, tables and figures that may be needed, will not be counted toward the page limit.

The format of this proposal shall be as follows:

  • Font: Use Arial, Helvetica, Palatino Linotype or Georgia typeface in black with a font size of 11 points or larger. Symbol font may be used to insert Greek letters of special characters, however, the font size requirement still applies. Type should be no more than 6 lines per inch.

  • Page Margins: Use at least one-half inch margins (top, bottom, left and right) for all pages.

  • Figures, Graphs, Tables, Charts, Legends, Footnotes: You may use a smaller type size (no smaller than size 10 font). Color may be used in figures; however, all text must be in black font color, clear and legible.

  • Questionnaires, surveys, other validated or to-be-validated instruments: The same font size as outlined for the proposal document should be employed.

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