The prospectus presentation (and ultimately, the dissertation) will follow the approved dissertation format in the Georgia State University College of Education and Human Development and is typically begun/written once a student has passed comprehensive exams.  The course associated with prospectus writing is EDCI 9850 Research Seminar, first offered the second spring semester of the program (the summer offering of EDCI 9850 Research Seminar is required for the cohort and entails different curriculum).  The prospectus will consist of the proposal of a research study contextualized in the PK-12 school, community, and/or family setting as approved by the student’s dissertation committee.  Typically, this prospectus consists of the first three chapters of the dissertation.  Data collection and analysis cannot begin until the prospectus is approved.  Next step includes the approval of IRB by both Georgia State and the school system (if required), again, prior to data collection and analysis.

Be sure that you plan your schedule well for submission of documents and forms in a timely manner.  Instructions for this process are found on the Graduate Student Services Forms, Policies, and Regulations link; including the Recommendation to Candidacy form you need to submit to Dr. Sullivan once you have successfully defended.

Please recall that Middle and Secondary Doctoral Candidates must add 2 weeks reading time for the MSE Department Chair prior to sending announcement to Dr. Varjas’s office. The MSE Department Chair, Dr. Gertrude Tinker-Sachs requires a printed and bound copy of the prospectus delivered four weeks in advance (2 weeks for reading, 2 weeks for OAA) to her office or box. You MUST TYPE all information on the form, including faculty names, prior to submitting for signature.

Prospectus announcement steps:

  1. You send the prospectus document + the prospectus defense announcement with your dissertation chair’s signature on it to Ms. Bobbie Turner ( at least 2 weeks prior to the deadline for the associate dean for graduate research (that deadline is 15 calendar days prior to the defense date).  This means that you send these items about 1 month prior to your defense date to Bobbie Turner, cc Dr. Sullivan.
  2. You send a copy of your full prospectus document at least 15 days prior to the defense to
  3. The chair, Dr. Tinker Sachs, reviews the documents (she will require a printed copy delivered to the office) and adds her signature. She sends it to Ms. Turner and she routes it to Dr. Varjas in time for the deadline.

Successful production and defense of a dissertation is the culminating event of the student’s doctoral program.  The College of Education and Human Development faculty provides this guide to facilitate the substantive and technical aspects of those activities.  The student’s Dissertation Advisory Committee is responsible for facilitating thoughtful and scholarly development of the dissertation content. The format follows the Georgia State University College of Education and Human Development standard doctoral format.   

The interim product of a student’s doctoral program, the prospectus is the proposal to conduct a substantial work of research that contributes significantly to the student’s field of study.  Developed through disciplined inquiry, the prospectus outlines the student’s original contribution to knowledge in his or her field

Additionally, the student must orally defend their prospectus to their committee as well as to the faculty and any guests invited by the committee.  The main purpose of the defense is to allow an opportunity for the faculty of the college to comment on the quality of the investigation and to judge the student’s ability to defend their proposed research.

The prospectus defense is scheduled on the main campus of the University during any academic term, between the first day of classes and the last day of final examinations, excluding holidays and term breaks.  The defense cannot be scheduled during a time when the university is not in session.  At the defense, the student presents their prospectus to demonstrate that it has met the requirements described in Part I of this guide (see above).  Students are encouraged to attend other students’ defenses prior to participating in their own.

The defense must be attended by no fewer than three members of the Dissertation Advisory Committee, and it is open to all College of Education and Human Development faculty and invited guests.  The committee will invite other faculty and guests present to question the candidate and communicate to the committee their professional reactions.

Approval and acceptance of the prospectus (and thus the implementation of the study) requires a favorable vote of the majority of the Dissertation Advisory Committee, but the majority must include no fewer than three members regardless of the size of the committee.  Should revisions to the prospectus be necessary, the student is required to make those changes in a timely manner and submit them to the Dissertation Advisory Committee for approval prior to commencing the study.

Once a prospectus is approved, a student is designated “Doctoral Candidate.”

Next Steps – Dissertation coursework and IRB submission.

Once you have obtained an approved and signed prospectus defense form, you will be able to register for dissertation hours. If you receive approval within the first 10 days of a semester, during the regular add/drop timeframe, then you may add/drop from the prospectus course to the dissertation course.

IRB Support

Here is the Graduate Students abbreviated IRB Presentation April 2024

And the recording for reference:

EdD Prospectus IRB Presentation April 2024

IRB Support Contact: Jamie Zaikov (she/her)
Senior IRB Compliance Specialist

Staff Council Member
University Research Services & Administration
Georgia State University
O: 404-413-3638