Step 5b: Schedule the Proposal Defense Seminar


  • To make arrangements sufficiently in advance of the Proposal Defense Seminar that you and your committee will be well prepared before the seminar.


  • Consult with your committee chair about when to schedule the seminar, and receive approval to proceed with scheduling the seminar.
  • Inform the Student Services Coordinator, Ann Marie Hohman of the date, time and location of your defense
  • Make sure all committee members have an electronic copy of your final proposal manuscript.
  • Carefully follow the steps delineated in the timeline defined in the Dissertation Handbook, pp. 12-13, and follow the required schedule.


Due Dates:

  • Four weeks before the seminar: communicate with each committee member, get an electronic copy of your proposal to each committee member, schedule the seminar with the Administrative Secretary, and request IRB approval of the project.
  • Two weeks before the seminar: get committee feedback regarding any recommended changes to proposal.

John's Experience:

John contacts Dr. Sells and discusses a time that works for his proposal defense seminar. Once he receives the okay from her, he contacts the Administrative Secretary to schedule it. He lets the secretary know that he needs a data projector with a laptop hook-up for his presentation. Next, John emails each of his committee members a copy of his proposal. Finally, he faxes his committee members the Proposal Defense Seminar Procedures form and asks them to each sign it. Dr. Sells agrees to bring the form to the proposal seminar. John feels a mix of anxiety and excitement about reaching this point in the process, but he realizes he's gotten this far and feels good about going into his proposal defense.

Pitfalls to Avoid:

  • Don't miss important deadlines in this step of the process. Have a calendar marked to alert you to the required timeline so you'll know when key dates are approaching.
  • Don't be inflexible in your expectations of when to hold the Proposal Defense Seminar; work closely with your committee to facilitate the request for HSRC review of your proposal and confirm potential seminar dates with your committee well in advance of the seminar date.
  • If you plan to hold your defense on campus, don't expect the SPC Student Services Coodinator to set aside all her other duties in order to secure a room for your seminar; request this at least 28 days in advance so she has time to submit the room request and revise it if requested rooms are already booked.