A dissertation prospectus is a paradoxical piece of writing. Since it is meant to be submitted soon after completion of the candidacy examination, it need not be a huge document. Indeed, it could be around fifteen double-spaced pages in length roughly words with up to ten further pages of bibliography. As indicated, the prospectus should provide a preliminary description of the proposed dissertation. It should delineate what topic and area the dissertation will explore; discuss why this topic and area merit such exploration; and include a provisional chapter outline and as complete a bibliography as possible. The outline should be as precise as possible, even if it is very likely to be modified in the course of writing the dissertation.
The Dissertation Prospectus
Dissertation Prospectus | Columbia | Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
The academic policies and procedures of the GRS require that students who have completed their language requirements, coursework, and qualifying examinations prepare a dissertation prospectus before the more extensive phase of dissertation research is undertaken. The student is required to have a minimum of two Readers, but may have as many as three. Once graduate students reach the prospectus-writing stage, they may, in consultation with their Advisor, choose a different faculty member from the GDRS to serve as the First Reader on their Dissertation Committee. The First Reader is responsible for ensuring that the prospectus and the dissertation conform to the standards of the GDRS. Students may draw on full-time graduate faculty outside of the GDRS but within BU by permission of the Director to serve in the position of second or third Reader. In consultation with their advisor, students may also request to have a professor from outside of BU serve as a second Reader or third Reader by submitting a Special Service Appointment form.
9. Presentation of the Dissertation Prospectus
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The dissertation establishes students as independent scholars in their areas of expertise. The first member selected should be the dissertation advisor. In consultation with the dissertation advisor, the candidates choose two other committee members. Additional members can also be from other departments on campus or from other doctoral-granting universities.