1. Acceptable PhD research must be original in its conception. Such research consists of scholarly inquiry, hypothesis testing, investigation, or experimentation; having as its objective, the revision of existing concepts, development of new concepts, or development of new or improved techniques in some specialty area. It is research that is well structured, uses appropriate techniques, and is adequately described. It should illuminate areas of controversy, or areas that seem significant and lack information, based on an adequate literature review and interpretation. The results should be acceptable for publication in a refereed scientific journal, thereby making a contribution to scientific knowledge.
2. The short time span of PhD programs limits choice and design of research projects. Appropriate PhD dissertations high in quality are possible and are expected when students choose suitable problems in consultation with their adviser and doctoral committee. Collaboration among these individuals should ensure reliable techniques and appropriate experimental designs, and should assist students in achieving high levels of originality, creativity, and resourcefulness in their research.
3. Dissertation research should begin as early as possible in a student’s program. The adviser shall be consulted concerning an appropriate problem early in the student’s residence. A literature review shall be initiated and a written research outline (including hypotheses and/or objectives, and procedures) shall be prepared for the student’s committee no later than 6 months after the student has passed the Candidacy Examination. A copy of the plan shall be delivered to each member of the committee at least one (1) week before a meeting is scheduled. Recommendations for changes shall be sought. If a new draft is required, it shall be accomplished within 3 months. The student’s committee must approve the final dissertation plan.
4. Subsequent revisions of the plan necessitated by minor changes in objectives may be accomplished by consulting committee members individually. The committee shall approve major revisions. Copies are to be retained by the adviser in the student’s file.
5. Meetings of the student’s committee shall be scheduled at least once each academic year to review progress in course work and dissertation research. The student shall give a progress report to the committee at the meeting.
6. The finished research shall be assembled in approved thesis format (see "Thesis Guide").