The Propositions Examination
Before the end of the fifth year and not less than ten weeks in advance of the Ph.D. examination, you must take the final Ph.D. proposition examination. Three original propositions must be presented to the Ph.D. thesis committee at least two weeks prior to the examination. No more than one of the propositions may be a carry-over from the candidacy examination, and at least one must be well removed from the field of thesis research. The propositions are defended orally and they must be acceptable to the committee before the final Ph.D. examination may be scheduled.
The Ph.D. propositions exam will begin with a 15-minute PowerPoint presentation by the student on a proposition of their choosing, but not a proposition derived from a postdoctoral application. The format would be like that of a job interview. The other propositions will be examined in the usual, oral way. If one of the propositions is based on a proposal that the student prepared for a postdoctoral fellowship, it should be preceded by a brief statement that this is so and that describes the student's original contributions to the proposal.
After selecting a date for the propositions exam that is mutually satisfactory for you and your Ph.D. committee, contact your Graduate Program Administrator for the Propositions Exam Schedule Form. Fill out the form and return it to your Graduate Program Administrator.
You must submit a copy of the propositions along with suitable abstracts to the examining committee and to your Graduate Program Administrator not less than two weeks before the propositions examination. These propositions must be acceptable to the committee before you can schedule your final Ph.D. examination.
Three propositions are required. Not more than one of these may be a carryover from the candidacy examination, and there is no guarantee that a proposition accepted at candidacy will be accepted at the Ph.D. proposition exam. At least one proposition must be well removed from your field of research. Each proposition shall be stated explicitly and the argument presented in writing with adequate documentation. The propositions should display originality, breadth of interest, and soundness of training; you will be judged on your selection and formulation of propositions as well as on your defense of them. You should begin formulating a set of propositions early in the course of graduate study.