How to Write a Dissertation Proposal

Your dissertation proposal is an assignment that acts as an introduction to your thesis idea or project. Graduate students are more likely to be required to complete an assignment of this nature for a number of reasons. You work toward improving your writing skills while giving your professor or instructor an inside view on your ideas. This can be a good opportunity to make a good impression with what you present. Writing the proposal may not be as complicated as many think. Yet, it helps to remember a few basic elements that can help you create a foundation to work off of.

  • Follow guidelines and instructions pertaining to your dissertation assignment. In many cases what students are required to complete may vary from one school to another.
  • Understand parts of the dissertation proposal and what you need to include. While this may vary, you may need to include a title page, abstract, introduction, thesis statement, table of contents, bibliography, conclusion, and other pertinent sections.
  • Create an outline. This can be something you complete before tackling the proposal. This can help you work on a section one at a time. You also ensure you don’t leave out information or forget to complete a section. Students find themselves working on their dissertations out of order; meaning the sections as they should appear when completed are written when the student is ready to provide the information.
  • Keep in mind the proposal may present content in a specific order. Your guidelines or instructions should state how your data appears on the page when completed.
  • Work on each section of the proposal. You can start with any section you feel most important after you have completed your research and collected necessary data. The introduction paragraph is like a summary that gives readers an idea of what they will read. Yet, the abstract may be similar to the introduction but not mention the thesis statement.
  • Your body paragraphs should provide evidence to support the thesis or main idea of the proposal. If you have a strong clear thesis statement this should be easy to proof with data you collected. If you find yourself struggling to find supporting data, your thesis may need to be revised.
  • Remember to cite your sources as suggested by your instructor and follow proper formatting. Proofread, revise, rewrite, and edit content to provide clarity of details presented throughout the proposal.