The Prospectus Defense

On January 19th, 2023, at 1pm EST, I will defend my dissertation prospectus. And you can watch!

What is it? The prospectus defense, in my program, is what advances a doctoral student to doctoral candidate. It occurs after the student has taken their preliminary exams (timed writing tests, in my case, taken August 2022, at the start of my third year) and completed all their coursework. The committee who presides over the prospectus defense is at least 3 members of the eventual dissertation committee.

The prospectus itself is a document that proposes, to an extent, the dissertation (my case is a little unusual in that I’ve collected my data already). It includes a narrative of the dissertation, an outline, and a proposed timeline for writing the dissertation.

You can read a copy of my prospectus here!*

Two weeks before the defense, the committee receives a copy of the prospectus to review.

At the defense, the defendant gives a 15-minute presentation followed by questions from and a discussion with their committee, meant to prompt the student’s thinking on the subject and help them plan out their next stages.

Because I’ve opted to do a public defense on Zoom, we’re going to make time for audience questions, too! (I’m a big fan of public-facing scholarship and making sure my ideas are legible to multiple audiences.) The defense will then go something like this:

  1. Presentation (15 minutes)
  2. One question from each committee member (about 10 minutes)
  3. Questions from attendees (about 15 minutes)
  4. Public attendees are invited to leave, and the committee and student continue their discussion (about 30 minutes)
  5. The committee meets without the student and discusses approval of the prospectus (about 5-10 minutes)
  6. Committee debriefs with the student (about 10-15 minutes)

Think you want to join us? Please register at this Zoom link!

*You are welcome to read the prospectus before attending the defense, but it is certainly not required or expected.

Update 1/19: Below is a copy of the slides used in the defense!

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