Area-specific thesis proposal PHD NACS

Thesis Proposal Evaluation Criteria

Every NACS graduate student must have their Thesis Proposal approved by their advisory committee before the end of their semester 3 (5 for students without a Masters), and a thesis proposal approval form submitted to the Graduate Secretary. Approval of the proposal involves submitting a written proposal to the Advisory Committee for review (allow at least two weeks for the review of each draft), and once deemed suitable, presenting the proposal orally at a committee meeting. 

The written component of the thesis proposal contains the following content:

1) Introduction

2) Method (including proposed analyses)

3) Current Results

4) Proposed Results

5) Implications

All proposals will be reviewed against the following criteria.


- Comprehensively summarizes and references the relevant literature as it pertains to the thesis topic.

- Critically points out the most relevant and important theories and empirical evidence to establish a clear purpose and contribution for the thesis.

- Demonstrates an accurate and deep understanding of the research literature (the authors/ theorists would be in full agreement with their ideas or findings being summarized in this way).

- Hypotheses are well substantiated and clearly follow from the literature review.

Method (including proposed analyses)

- Research design is clearly articulated and follows logically from the literature review.

- The method allows for the optimal testing of the research hypotheses.

- All relevant measures are described in detail and appropriate based on the subject matter of the thesis.

- Proposed analyses are described in detail.

Current Results

- Any data that have already been collected and analyzed, and that the student proposes to include in the final thesis, are reported.

- Results are conveyed through main text and tables/figures, and appropriate statistical analyses are reported.

Proposed Results

- Predicted results are also presented (in tables or figures) to demonstrate a mastery of the underlying theory and proposed analyses.

- Strengths and weaknesses of the research design and measurement are clearly articulated.


- The implications, and importance, of the current or proposed findings for theory and practice are described in detail for the topic domain.

Organization, Clarity, and Format

- Proposal is structured with a clear organization.

- All aspects of the proposal are explored in a highly systematic and disciplined manner. 

- Appropriate elements of style are consistently used throughout (e.g., transition sentences between paragraphs, appropriate headings).

- Sentences are clear and concise.

- There are no grammatical errors.

- There is consistent and accurate use of APA style.