It should delineate what topic and area the dissertation will explore; discuss why this topic and area merit such exploration; and include a provisional chapter outline and as complete a bibliography as possible.
In general, the prospectus should be approximately 15-20 pages in length and address the following areas: • description of topic and expected contribution to the field • discussion of theoretical issues germane to the dissertation • review of primary sources • review of secondary scholarship • proposed research methodology • proposed outline of sections of the dissertation • bibliography of primary and secondary sources The student will provide the prospectus to the Supervisor within one to three months of completing the comprehensive examination.
The Supervisor will distribute the prospectus to the other members of the committee and arrange a time for all to meet with the student to discuss the prospectus.
Once the student has revised the prospectus in response to the suggestion of the committee, the student should then submit the prospectus to the Supervisor for final approval.
That approval should be given in writing to the student and cc’d to the departmental Chair and Graduate Coordinator.
Once the student has successfully completed the qualifying exam, she or he will begin work on the dissertation prospectus, which is due, at the latest, six months after advancement to candidacy.
Preferably, however, the candidate will submit the prospectus sooner than this deadline. 5 pages): Description of the project; originality; contribution to knowledge; overall contents of the dissertation, etc.
It is not an abstract (which is to say, a summary of a completed dissertation) or an introductory chapter of a dissertation, but rather an attempt to describe what is planned before it has actually been done.
Since it is meant to be submitted soon after completion of the candidacy examination, it need not be a huge document.
Comprehensive Bibliography Once completed, the prospectus will be forwarded to the student's Dissertation Reading Committee for approval or revision.
The reading committee will meet and decide on the acceptability of the dissertation proposal early in the quarter following submission of the proposal, so that the student will have the maximum time to devote to the dissertation project.