Step 5: Plan for the Proposal Defense Seminar


  • To carry out all necessary preliminary steps to the Proposal Defense Seminar so that the defense goes smoothly and you have the greatest opportunity for successfully defending your dissertation proposal.


  • Work closely with your committee chair and committee members to gain as much feedback and input as possible on your proposal manuscript prior to the defense seminar.
  • Keep an open mind about committee suggestions and revisions. Your committee will be the people to whom you'll be presenting your proposal defense and from whom you are seeking to move forward in the dissertation process.


Due Dates:

  • No specific due dates at this step, but having a calendar as a reminder of when residency is and when you need to have a final proposal manuscript will be helpful.

John's Experience:

John's committee chair requests another set of changes to his manuscript. Thankfully, John sent the paper well in advance of the deadline, allowing himself enough time to make any additional changes. By keeping to a schedule and leaving himself enough time, John feels confident in going forward at this point in the process, rather than feeling all the anxiety he sensed at the beginning of the process.

Pitfalls to Avoid:

  • Organize the electronic copies of your proposal manuscript so you can easily determine which is the most current revision of the manuscript. Often, multiple revisions of the manuscript can result in some confusion of which is the most current version.
  • Paying attention to detail at this step of the process will go a long way toward your successfully defending your proposal at your first Proposal Defense Seminar. By passing your first defense, you avoid having defend the proposal again and perhaps even needing to sign up for CES 719 Dissertation Proposal Continuance.