The candidate selects a dissertation committee no later than the semester following successful completion of the preliminary examination. A dissertation proposal is developed under the guidance of the dissertation chairman. As the proposal develops, other committee members are identified as necessary to plan the research. The committee, which must include a minimum of five faculty members, is appointed by the Graduate School upon recommendation of the Department Head.

A dissertation proposal should summarize the motivation for the research and the development of the problem. It should also include a review of relevant literature and a description of the research methodology to be followed, including data collection and analysis techniques, as well as any necessary pretesting. Either prior to or concurrent with the dissertation proposal defense, the candidate will schedule a seminar with the Seminar Series Committee to present the proposal to the faculty and other graduate students. This seminar allows the candidate and the dissertation committee to obtain feedback from those who are not members of the dissertation committee. The candidate, in consultation with the dissertation committee members, will evaluate all comments offered during the seminar and make any necessary changes in the proposal. A successful defense requires the signatures of all dissertation committee members on a copy of the title page of the dissertation proposal. This copy is retained in the departmental office as a permanent record of the successful dissertation proposal defense.

Candidates are expected to defend their proposals before the faculty and doctoral students within one year after completing the preliminary examination. If the candidate does not defend the dissertation proposal successfully within one year, the dissertation committee may be disbanded and financial support from the department may be discontinued. If the dissertation committee is disbanded, the candidate must petition the Doctoral Committee for permission to continue in the doctoral program.

The candidate may proceed with the dissertation only after successfully defending the dissertation proposal. During the dissertation stage, data are collected and analyzed according to the plan set out in the dissertation proposal. If the dissertation is not completed within two years after passing the preliminary examinations, the committee may be disbanded. In that event, the student will have to petition the Doctoral Committee for permission to continue.

The dissertation should demonstrate the candidate’s ability to conduct scholarly research. Scholarly research can be either applied or basic– both are acceptable forms for the dissertation. The topics selected and the issues researched must be meaningful ones within the area selected and within the form of research selected. That is, there must be identifiable unresolved questions or issues that are related to an existing body of theory or knowledge. The research topic should be sufficiently complex that it challenges the candidate’s abilities and knowledge, consistent with the stated objectives of the Accounting and Information Systems Ph.D. program. Given the importance of publishing in tenure and promotion decisions, and the time frame for review and acceptance, it is extremely important that the candidate strive to select a topic that is substantive enough to yield one or more manuscripts with a high probability of acceptance to scholarly journals. Ideally, the topic will be an identifiable segment or phase of a broader integrated program of research that the candidate will pursue and build upon in future research activities. On the other hand, the dissertation must be sufficiently limited in scope to permit completion within a reasonable period of time.