Adopted from San Diego State U at http://rhetoric.sdsu.edu/graduate/sample_theses.htm
Once you have selected a faculty member who has agreed to chair your thesis, you can begin to work with him or her to prepare a thesis prospectus. The purpose of the prospectus is to help you articulate your ideas to a point where it is clear to you and to your chair and to any other interested readers what your project is and how you will approach it. The prospectus should be between 7-10 pages long and contain the following:
- TITLE/NAME OF STUDENT/NAMES OF COMMITTEE MEMBERS
- DESCRIPTION OF PROJECT
A brief (1-2 page) description of the proposed study or project: What is your research question? What are you going to investigate and write about? What are the goals of the study or project? How do you see the general shape of the work?
- BACKGROUND OF PROJECT: REVIEW OF LITERATURE
This section should demonstrate familiarity with the major issues and literature involved. Think of this section as providing the context for your proposed study. You may provide a brief description of the situation, issues, debates, and questions that motivate interest in the topic and in the proposed study. The section should also serve as the rationale for the proposed study, demonstrating the need for such a study: in other words, what does your project add to existing knowledge?
This section should explain how you plan to select and study your data (archival research, ethnography, empirical research, textual analysis, observation, and so on). This section should also demonstrate the relevance of the proposed method to the goals of the study. In other words, why is textual analysis your choice? What does that choice do for the project?
- TENTATIVE CHAPTER OUTLINE
This section should list the tentative chapters or sections of the thesis and briefly describe their proposed content.
- TIMETABLE FOR COMPLETION
This section should present the timetable for completing the thesis, allotting sufficient time for research, writing, reviewing, and revising. Please feel free to use the schedule that is posted online for ENGL 6975 as a source.
- WORKING BIBLIOGRAPHY
This section is a list of primary and secondary sources that will be used in the study.
See Cassie Jones’s prospectus from 2016: CJonesProspectus (2) (1)
See the examples Eric Sterling has provided for the MLA program: