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Prospectus, Portfolio, and Dissertation

Prospectus Date
No later than 3 months—and sooner, if possible—after  completing the preliminary exam oral defense, each student will form their dissertation committee and officially register it with Rackham (students may change committee members at any time prior to the defense). Each student will present to, and discuss with, their dissertation committee as a group a dissertation prospectus of 10-15 pages double-spaced. Students should select a cognate member (a tenured or tenure-track faculty member who holds at least a .50 appointment in a Rackham Doctoral program other than RLL) and add this member to their committee before the prospectus discussion. Bringing cognate members on board earlier rather than later avoids surprises, facilitates paperwork, and gives students the benefit of their insights at an earlier stage in writing.

Description of the Prospectus
You should consult with the chair of your dissertation committee to establish the content and structure of the prospectus.

Portfolio Date (optional)
The portfolio is optional. However if a student wishes to compile a portfolio, it should include the following: a written statement of how your research program and teaching or related experiences lend themselves to employment in a given field; a list of materials, broadly conceived, that have contributed to your preparation; as well as any other materials specifically appropriate to the field described.

For example, a post-secondary teaching portfolio might also include three sample syllabi, one each for possible courses to be taught at the introductory undergraduate level, the advanced undergraduate level, and the graduate level, as well as notes on approaches for teaching given topics.

Dissertation and Oral Defense
The Ph.D. dissertation must be based upon original investigation and demonstrate mature scholarship and critical judgment as well as familiarity with the tools and methods of research. It should be a worthwhile contribution to knowledge in your chosen field. You are advised to familiarize yourself thoroughly with the various rules governing the format and deadlines for your dissertation.

After your dissertation has been submitted, a final oral defense on your dissertation and related topics will be held.

Questions? Contact the Graduate Program Coordinator.