Writing Thesis and
Dissertation Proposals
A presentation by
The Graduate Writing Center
of the
Center for Excellence in Writing

Writing Thesis and
Dissertation Proposals

Instructor: Rosalyn Collings Eves
Graduate Writing Center Coordinator

Goals of this workshop

To introduce strategies for bridging the gap
between coursework/beginning research and
thesis writing.

To help you understand the rhetorical
situation of the thesis proposal and common
elements of such proposals.

To introduce practical rhetorical and
grammatical principles of writing effective

To provide you with tips for drafting and
revising individual sections of the proposal.

The Graduate Writing Center

One-on-one consultations
All types of writing
All stages of the writing process
To schedule, see the Center’s website:

Or go directly to the online schedule:

Writing a Proposal:
Developing a Focused Project

Writing Thesis/Dissertation Proposals:
The Big Picture

Your proposal describes your proposed plan of work:

What you intend to study (scope and research
How you intend to study your topic (methodology).
Why this topic needs to be studied (significance).
When you will complete this work (timeline).
(Occasionally) Where you will conduct this work.

Writing Thesis/Dissertation Proposals

Justify and plan (or contract for) a research project.

Show how your project contributes to existing research.

Demonstrate that you understand how to conduct
discipline-specific research in an acceptable time-frame.


your academic advisor and committee

Proposal Writing and Anxiety:
General Advice

Establish a writing schedule.
Begin by free-writing.
Keep a small notebook with you...

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