The Research Proposal is the initial and most critical part of every research project, and every graduate student must prepare one (non-thesis M.S. students must prepare an abbreviated proposal of their capstone project). The proposal will provide a justification of specific objectives and define a procedure for achieving each objective.

Graduate students should prepare a draft proposal based on their review of relevant literature, original thought, and discussion with the major professor and committee members. The draft proposal should be submitted to the major professor, and the proposal should be refined to the joint satisfaction of the major professor and graduate student. After that is done, copies should be distributed to the advisory committee for their signatures and approval.

For M.S. students (thesis option), the advisory committee will meet to discuss the merits of the proposed project and decide if it is appropriate for the stated educational objectives. For doctoral students, the advisory committee will incorporate consideration of the Research Proposal into the Comprehensive Examination. Formal approval of the Research Proposal will be coincident with passing the Comprehensive Examination. Thus, the Research Proposal must be submitted to the advisory committee before the Comprehensive Examination is administered because it will be covered in questions that are part of the doctoral Comprehensive Examination.