Throughout the two years of coursework, doctoral students are continually honing their research and writing skills in preparation for the final stage: writing the dissertation. But before doctoral candidates begin to write a dissertation, they must first submit a dissertation proposal. Fortunately, preparing for this phase of the doctoral process begins on day one of the courses. 

To explain, based on each student’s coursework throughout their first two years, they are also exploring new areas of interest and deepening their knowledge in certain fields of expertise. An incredible component of the ISM student body is the rich and diverse experiences of the students who, in many cases, have more than a decade of professional experience.  As subject matter experts in their own fields, the doctoral students at ISM are supported by a learning environment where they can explore additional areas of interest and apply their own experiences and perspective through the study and application of new ideas or concepts in their own professional field.

While taking courses, students are also producing work that helps support, define, and narrow the subject matter area they are interested in researching and writing about for their dissertation. When coursework is complete, students are able to more narrowly define the area of research they would like to explore for their dissertation, based on what they have studied and explored throughout the previous two years. The dissertation proposal helps to ensure that: (1) the problem, hypotheses, and questions are clearly defined, (2) the importance of the research is known and validated, (3) explanation of the type of research they are going to undertake, (4) the significance of prior research in the field, (5) the proposed research methodologies and (6) the potential outcomes of the research.

Throughout your time as a student here, ISM faculty and staff are always readily available to provide guidance and direction as you prepare your dissertation proposal. This critical phase of the process helps to ensure that your dissertation begins on the right path.

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