How to Write a Dissertation Proposal

Instructor: Clio Stearns

Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.

Writing a dissertation proposal is one of the most exciting and nerve-wracking parts of many graduate students' careers. This lesson will help lower your stress threshold by walking you through the procedure.

Why Your Proposal Matters

If you are already at the stage of proposing a dissertation, then you owe yourself a major congratulations. You have already finished your course work and passed qualifying exams. You probably have some ideas in mind about your dissertation, but the next formal step is writing your proposal. For many doctoral students, the dissertation proposal is a formative experience; as you write it, you will get a solid grasp on your own research questions, methodology and goals. At the same time, writing a proposal can be daunting. You want to make sure you stay true to your own interests while simultaneously satisfying your committee and completing it within an efficient time frame. This lesson offers a step by step guide on how to get your proposal done.

Familiarize Yourself with Requirements

Every institution has a different set of requirements when it comes to writing the dissertation proposal. Talk to your committee about what their requirements are and get familiar with any protocols offered by the university. Make sure you know exactly what is expected of you in terms of the length of your proposal, the sections it must contain, and any specific research your committee will be expecting you to cite.

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