Thesis/Dissertation Proposal


One of the new milestones is a requirement that students prepare a detailed thesis/dissertation proposal. Masters students will be expected to complete their proposal by the end of the second semester and Ph.D. students by the end of the fourth or fifth semester (although candidates should be encouraged to work on this from the beginning of their studies).

For a Masters student, the proposal should be an 8-10 page single spaced document. For a Ph.D. student, the proposal should be a 10-15 page single spaced document (like an NSF grant Project description).

The proposal should consist of the following:

  • Preface: summarizing progress with respect to course requirements and 'milestones' (1/2 - 1 page).
  • Introduction: description of the research area including a review of relevant literature, leading to a bulleted list of specific objectives (1-2 pages).
  • Objectives: Each objective, which will typically become proposed chapters in thesis/dissertation, should consist of
    • Detailed description of what is the motivation for the objective
    • Hypothesis to be tested (where applicable)
    • Detailed description of data to be collected, methods to be used for collection, including equipment/facilities required and anticipated level of undergraduate involvement (where applicable) and anticipated statistical methods (where applicable)
    • Description of any preliminary data available
  • Proposed timeline (1 page)
  • Budget (1 page)
  • Cited literature (not included in the page limit).