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Thesis Proposal

The Thesis Proposal is an opportunity for formal feedback from the Thesis Committee. It is not an examination, and there is no Pass or Fail consequence, however the progress of the student will be assessed by the committee and will be evaluated based on the criteria of “not meeting expectations”, “meeting expectations”, or “exceeding expectations”. Students who are not meeting expectations will receive detailed feedback on how to remediate gaps in knowledge or training.


Each student will complete a Thesis Proposal that includes a written document an oral presentation of the proposed project to the Thesis Committee by the end of the Summer Quarter of the third year. 

Pre-Proposal Meeting

Students are required to meet with the Thesis Committee either individually or as a group at least once before the Thesis Proposal. Students will familiarize the committee members with their project and identify topics that should be addressed in the written and/or oral proposal.

Thesis Proposal Defense:

The written proposal must be submitted to the members of the Thesis Committee at least 2 weeks before the presentation. Scheduling of the oral presentation is the responsibility of the student.

The written thesis proposal document should follow the current guidelines required by the NIH for an NRSA submission. At minimum, it should include a Title, Abstract, Specific Aims, Background and Significance, Preliminary Date, Experimental Design and Methods, and Reference sections. The format and content of the written document should be discussed in advance with the Thesis Advisor and/or committee together or individually. See “Written Thesis Proposal Guideline" section of NUIN Proposal and Committee Guide for more detail.

The oral presentation of the thesis proposal should include a formal presentation of the Background and Significance of the project, relevant Preliminary Data, and the major elements of the Experimental Design and Methods. Students should prepare approximately 45 minutes worth of slides, but should expect to answer questions from the committee throughout the presentation, as well as participate in a discussion at the end.  Often, this means the meetings last more than 1 hour, and this should be considered when scheduling.  These procedures are designed to allow the Thesis Committee to critically review and offer suggestions to strengthen the proposal.

Submitting the Thesis Proposal/Committee Meeting Status Report:

The thesis proposal milestone cannot be marked as complete until the student has filled out a Prospectus Form on GSTS, and has returned a both a PDF copy of the written proposal, and a signed NUIN Thesis Proposal/Committee Meeting Status Report to NUIN.

NOTE: Refer to "Proposal and Committee Guide" for more detailed information on this milestone.

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