Dissertation Proposal

Dissertation Proposal


Written and presented at first DAC meeting (by June 1 of G3)


Proposal Document

The proposal should clearly define the research problem, describe the proposed research plan, and articulate the significance of the work. The length is comparable to that required for NIH F31 applications.


  • An NIH F31 approved for funding or equivalent funded fellowship application may serve as the dissertation proposal.


  • Student should consult their Dissertation Advisor on the proposal before submitting it to the DAC committee.

Proposal Presentation


  • The student must formally present the written dissertation proposal at the first DAC meeting.


  • Following the presentation, the student must correct any deficiencies in the proposal identified by the DAC until the DAC approves the proposal.


Submission of Proposal Package

The proposal package (no longer than 7 pages of 11-point Arial font with 1.0” line spacing and 0.5” margins) includes the following:


  • Specific Aims (1 page)

    • Concise description of the proposed work, which can be read independently of the full proposal.

  • Research Strategy (6 pages max).

    • Background and Significance: Concise review of relevant scientific literature and brief description explaining why the work is important.

    • Scientific Premise & Preliminary Results: Data relevant to the proposal generated by the student and/or other members of the laboratory.

    • Approach: Methods proposed to study each Specific Aim, including methods of analysis. Includes hypotheses and statistical procedures to test hypotheses. Also includes potential problems and pitfalls.


The proposal should be submitted to the SHBT Program Administrator along with a Dissertation Proposal Form signed by the student, the Dissertation Advisor and the DAC Chair.

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