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The dissertation must be the result of independent and original research by the student and must constitute a significant contribution to the knowledge base of the focus area, equivalent to multiple peer-reviewed publications.


The objective of the dissertation proposal and oral defense is to assess the suitability of a PhD student for research in a specific area and will focus on advanced coursework and research in the student’s dissertation area. Satisfactory completion is required for the student to become a PhD candidate. The dissertation proposal should be presented within one year of satisfactory completion of the comprehensive examination and must be approved by the supervisory committee one year before the final dissertation defense.