Interdisciplinary Ph.D. Program Resources

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Additional Resources for the Interdisciplinary Ph.D. Process

Select any of the resources below for more information on Statement of Purpose, Plan Guidelines and Committee Qualifications.

Statement of Purpose and Concept Guidelines


This 1-2-page Concept Paper should be submitted to the Assistant Dean of the Graduate School.  The University Board of Graduate Studies (UBGS) will review the paper and may provide comment on the viability of the project based on the available resources on campus, the student’s academic history, and the nature of the INPR program. The Concept Paper must be approved by the UBGS for continuation in the program, including enrollment as a non-degree student and the completion of up to 12 credits of course work.

Concept Paper Requirements

  1. Student name
  2. Academic background
  3. Brief description of purpose for seeking the degree
  4. Brief description of the project, indicating the two or more disciplines at Marquette that can be used as resources for the project
  5. The methodology of the project (e.g., quantitative or qualitative) and how it will be applied
  6. The name of a qualified prospective dissertation committee chair (who will serve as program advisor) 
  7. A signed INPR Dissertation Committee Nomination Form for the prospective dissertation committee chair
  8. The curriculum vitae of the prospective dissertation committee chair
  9. A list of potential course work, including foundational, theoretical and applicable research methods courses

Degree Proposal and Plan Guidelines


INPR degree status is granted following the approval of a project Degree Proposal and Plan Guidelines by the University Board of Graduate Studies (UBGS).  The Degree Proposal and Plan constitutes formal application to the INPR program.  The body of the Degree Proposal and Plan is a 6-8-page paper that consists of the following:

  1. Description of the dissertation research including:
    • Proposed dissertation title
    • Statement of need or problem
    • A brief literature review describing the present status of the problem, including how the proposed research will build upon and fit into the existing literature
    • Research questions or hypotheses to be explored
    • Methodology to be used in conducting the proposed research
    • A brief, high-level outline (i.e. chapter topics)
    • Brief bibliography (may be attached as an appendix)
    • Brief description of means for disseminating research findings
  2. Tentative timetable for completing course work, residency requirements, completing the dissertation research and writing the dissertation
  3. A list of previous masters-level course work, including course titles and descriptions
  4. A minimum of 42 graduate credits, including:
  • 30 credits of INPR doctoral course work (to include credits transferred in from non-degree status and to include no more than six credits of independent study)
  • 12 dissertation credits
  • A brief explanation regarding how the proposed courses prepare the student for the proposed qualifying examination and dissertation

5. Procedures for a qualifying examination as developed and approved by the dissertation committee

6. A brief statement explaining how the proposed program of study and research will advance the student’s educational and career goals

7. A plan showing how the degree will be financed, including any written offers of financial aid from the departments, institutes, or centers.

8. Recognition that any changes in the committee or significant alteration of the project are subject to the approval of the Dissertation Committee and the University Board of Graduate Studies (UBGS) and must be reflected in an updated Doctoral Program Planning Form (DPPF). The student’s Dissertation Committee will determine if the change needs to be submitted to the UBGS for approval.

9. A draft Doctoral Program Planning Form to be signed and submitted to the Graduate School following UBGS approval of the Degree Proposal and Plan.

10. INPR Dissertation Committee Nomination Forms for each committee member.

11. Curriculum Vita of each committee member.

12. The signatures of the individual members of the dissertation committee, including the chair of the committee, agreeing to the proposed course of studies and research plan, using the INPR Committee Agreement Form.

The UBGS will review the INPR Degree Proposal and Plan to determine the clarity, comprehensiveness and appropriateness of the proposed dissertation research and program of study.  This review will focus on the likelihood of degree completion, including an examination of the planned course of study, the qualifying exam and dissertation specifications and the qualifications of the committee members. 

Qualifications for Dissertation Chair and Committee Members


Dissertation Chair

The student must recommend to the Graduate School a faculty member who will serve as and dissertation committee Chair.  In essence, this individual will be the academic mentor throughout the student’s program.  The Chair must meet these criteria:

  1. Be a regular, tenured Marquette faculty member.
  2. Have competence in the proposed domain area and hold a terminal degree in his/her discipline. The chair must also be an active scholar with a sustained research program. This is normally evidenced by having published at least three refereed articles/book chapters or one scholarly book within the past five years.
  3. Have served previously on two or more dissertation committees.
  4. If the Chair of a proposed dissertation committee has not previously served as a dissertation committee Chair, at least one other committee member must have previously served in that role.
  5. Agree to continue advising and directing the student, even during sabbaticals or leaves of absence or have a co-Chair who agrees to do so.

Committee Members

The student and dissertation Chair must identify a four-member committee (Chair plus three others) who not only assumes the responsibility for overseeing the quality of the INPR program, but also actively administers the degree.  Since the interdisciplinary committee performs all functions normally provided by traditional graduate departments, the committee must exist from the beginning of the program and be subject to review by the UBGS.  Specific requirements include the following:

  1. The dissertation committee must consist of at least four voting members. At least 3 of the 4 members of the committee must be tenured or tenure-track Marquette faculty.
  2. One non-Marquette committee member is the maximum normally approved for inclusion as a voting member of the committee.
  3. Committee members who are faculty members from Marquette or from another university must have competence in the proposed domain area, hold a terminal degree in their discipline, and should be active scholars with a record during the past five years of at least three refereed articles/book chapters or one scholarly book.
  4. There must be a committee representative from each discipline that is a part of the interdisciplinary degree being proposed.
  5. If it is necessary to replace a member of the committee the student should submit a request to amend the initial approval.