The Prospectus

You should consult your adviser to form a prospectus committee of at least three members of the faculty (including the primary adviser).  After meeting as a group with the candidate, committee members should provide extensive written comments on the proposal to the student within one month of receiving it. Ideally, the prospectus would be done well in advance of submitting a grant nomination proposal so that suggested revisions may be incorporated into that document. A draft of the entire prospectus should be submitted with the petition for taking the general examination.

The thesis proposal should be submitted between November 25 and November 30.  Not including the bibliography, the prospectus should be 5-10 pages in length, but not more. The prospectus should discuss in clear terms -- understandable to all members of the faculty, including those who are not specialists in your field -- the following:

    • The nature of the problem that you intend to undertake (linking it, if possible, to the specific field of your General Exams).
    • Its importance to the overall field of study in which you are working.
    • A broad review of previous scholarship: who are the main figures who have dealt with this or similar issues? and what, in your opinion, remains to be done? (i.e. why are you writing this particular dissertation?)
    • A discussion of the methodologies and materials you anticipate using to tackle your problem.
    • If you foresee any areas of difficulty in gathering the material necessary for the completion of the work, you should also note them.
    • An envisaged schedule of research and writing.
    • A bibliography indicating the works that you have consulted thus far in investigating and defining your topic.
    • It should have a title page listing the name of your adviser and the names of the other members of your prospectus committee; and it should conform to the standards of scholarship within your field in terms of diacritical marks and citations.
    • A Thesis Reader Request and Proposal Approval form should be submitted with the dissertation proposal. It is available in the department office.


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