Dos and Don’ts to Presenting Your Dissertation Proposal

Dissertation Defense

Congratulations – you are on the brink of achieving a major milestone in the dissertation process! Scheduling your dissertation proposal presentation with your committee is a great accomplishment. For some, presenting this project is a scary feat.

Here are some tips to help you:


1. Remember you know this research! You have been working intimately with this work for months. You are truly the expert on your project!

2. Take water with you to your presentation. Be sure to check the protocol at your school. Some departments informally expect the student to provide refreshments. Ask students that are ahead of you in the program about the unwritten rules.


4. Make sure you follow the school and department guidelines regarding sending out your proposal to your committee members. Determine what forms you need to bring with you to your meeting. It is likely your school requires at least a signature form for your committee to sign when they approve your proposal. Make sure you have the appropriate number of copies and a pen with the correct color ink (some specify black and others blue).

5. Rehearse your presentation ahead of time. Make notes of points you definitely want to share with your committee. Time yourself as you speak the entire presentation; this is especially important if your school dictates a time limit for your presentation.

request a consultation

Discover How We Assist to Edit Your Dissertation Chapters

Aligning theoretical framework, gathering articles, synthesizing gaps, articulating a clear methodology and data plan, and writing about the theoretical and practical implications of your research are part of our comprehensive dissertation editing services.

  • Bring dissertation editing expertise to chapters 1-5 in timely manner.
  • Track all changes, then work with you to bring about scholarly writing.
  • Ongoing support to address committee feedback, reducing revisions.


1. Read your presentation word for word. When creating your powerpoint presentation, use phrases, not full sentences. You will have the benefit of having your notes with you. You do not need to type everything you want to say on each slide. If you do not read your slides verbatim, your presentation will feel more like a conversation, which is what you want when talking with others about your work.

2. Have any spelling or grammatical errors in your presentation. Proofread your presentation and then have at least one additional person proofread your presentation. After you check and double check your work, read through your presentation to make sure you have not left out any words or repeated a sentence twice.

3. Tell yourself “I cannot do this.” You have accomplished a great deal to this point! You will continue to accomplish great things. Besides, your committee would not have set a date for your proposal if you weren’t ready. Have confidence in yourself!

4. Tell your committee you are nervous. Everyone is nervous at the beginning of (and sometimes throughout) this presentation, even if they aren’t nervous for any other public speaking engagements. There is no need to highlight your nervousness or ramble prior to your presentation.

5. Forget to enjoy this moment. There is nothing in your program that compares to hearing your committee tell you that you have passed your dissertation proposal and can continue with your dissertation research!

Statistics Solutions provides assistance in multiple areas of your proposal, including:

  • Editing your research questions,
  • Selecting the appropriate statistics, and
  • Justifying your sample size.