Why do I Have to Write a Research Proposal

Masters degree students are required to take the Major Field Examination. This exam will be administered by the thesis committee, and will be in the student’s area of proposed research. The examination consists of an oral defense of a written research proposal prepared by the student. The proposal should outline the background and conduct of proposed thesis research, and include an abstract, specific aims, background and significance, preliminary data (if any), experimental designs and methods, and a bibliography. The research proposal will be judged on standard criteria, including, but not limited to, the student’s grasp of the field, significance of the proposed work, and feasibility of the experimental approach. The exam will be taken no later than the semester prior to the defense of thesis, and may be retaken once.

Your professor may assign the task of writing a research proposal for the following reasons:

The student is required to prepare a written research proposal ("proposal") and submit it to the qualifying exam committee at least 1-2 weeks prior to the qualifying examination.


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Requirements for Admission to Candidacy for VSGP PhD studentsconsists of two parts: (1) completion of a written research proposal and (2) an oral qualifying exam in which the student must demonstrate a satisfactory level of general scientific knowledge and understanding of the research proposal topic.