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Dissertation

After completion of all course requirements, language requirements, and the comprehensive examination, students must develop and successfully defend a dissertation proposal and prospectus in two stages. The defense will be in the presence of their doctoral committee.

The dissertation proposal is a requirement of the Graduate Division and must be approved at an oral defense attended by all members of the dissertation committee. The dissertation proposal should include the following:

1. A clear statement of the topic of the dissertation

2. A clear statement of the research questions to be addressed in the dissertation

3. A clear statement of the research methodology to be used in answering the research questions

4. Approval from the UH Institutional Review Board to conduct any research involving human subjects

5. A proposed timeline for completion of the dissertation

It is expected that the proposal will be from 5 to 10 pages in length (APA format). After it is successfully defended and approved by the entire dissertation committee, a copy must be submitted to the department office and placed in the candidate’s file. With the approval of the dissertation committee, the proposal may be defended at the time of the comprehensive examination defense. When the proposal is approved, Form II: Advancement to Candidacy will be submitted to the Graduate Division and students may register for dissertation research (SLA 800) during the next registration period.

The dissertation prospectus fulfills the function of the traditional dissertation proposal. The dissertation prospectus must contain a detailed discussion of the relevant literature, the research questions, and research methods. It will contain a detailed description of any pilot results and of any experiments or treatments to be used in the dissertation study. The dissertation prospectus will generally be 30 to 50 pages in length (double spaced, APA format). The prospectus must be approved at an oral defense attended by all members of the dissertation committee. After the prospectus is orally defended a copy (with the committee chair’s signature on the first page) must be submitted to the department office and placed in the candidate’s file.

Combining the dissertation proposal and dissertation prospectus. A candidate may, with dissertation committee approval, opt to bypass the dissertation proposal process and submit a dissertation prospectus that meets the requirements of both documents. In this event, the Graduate Division will be informed that the University dissertation proposal requirement has been met.

The dissertation itself is expected to be a scholarly presentation, based on independent research, of an original contribution to knowledge in the field of second language studies. The final examination in defense of the dissertation may cover related subjects as well as the content of the dissertation. The final oral defense of the dissertation is open to the public.