What is the Proposal?

Note: You must have taken at least one course in the area in which you intend to write your project. This means that, for a literature thesis, you need to have a course in the historical period or genre that your project will address.  For a creative writing project, you must have taken at least one workshop in the genre in which you plan to write the thesis project.

The proposal for your thesis project should be a 5-10 page description of the intended project, including a working bibliography in MLA format.  While you will only be in the early stages of your research at this point, you are expected to use several sources in your proposal.  The working bibliography should include these sources, as well as ten or more sources that you might look at in the next stage of your research. 

You should submit drafts of your proposal to your director, who will circulate the proposal to the other committee members once he or she believes it is ready to be discussed at the proposal meeting.  When sending the proposal to your director, you should save it by your last name, first initial, W609 proposal, and the date to identify the version: for example, “Doe Jane W609 Proposal July 10.”

Below, you can find generic descriptions of the proposal content for literature and creative writing theses. However, you should still consult with your chair about what he or she expects you to address in that document.

Proposal for Project in Literary Analysis

The proposal for a project in literary analysis should identify the set of questions, issues, or problems that the project will explore and suggest how this work will fit into literary scholarship.  In this proposal you should define the area of inquiry (e.g., the nineteenth-century sentimental novel); the body of literary works you will examine; your interpretive problem and how several scholars have addressed it; and your theoretical approach or framework for addressing that problem.  You should conclude with a bibliography of the primary and secondary works you expect to address.

Sample Proposal

Sample Proposal

Proposal for Creative Writing Project

The proposal for creative projects should discuss the issues or themes that the creative work will address; the traits of genre, form, and craft that are most important to the project; and a few literary works that inform the student’s understanding of the project.

Sample Proposal: Fiction

Sample Proposal: Nonfiction