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Students must have a prospectus (dissertation proposal) approved no later than the end of the fourth year of study, which falls on the last date of the 16th quarter. A student failing to meet this milestone will be considered not in good academic standing and therefore will be placed on academic probation. Deadlines will be altered in the case of an approved leave of absence or a childbirth accommodation.

The prospectus must be approved by a faculty committee comprised of a minimum of three individuals. At least two members of this committee, including the chair, must be members of the Northwestern University Graduate Faculty. Students may choose to have their prospectus approved by the faculty committee members via electronic communication or an in-person meeting. The student must then submit the PhD Prospectus form through TGS Form in GSTS for program approval. The student’s adviser must email the Graduate Program Assistant to confirm the student’s successful completion of the prospectus. The students will be notifiedvia email by TGS of approval of their Prospectus form.