Developing the Proposal

Completion of an acceptable proposal marks the end of the first major stage of the research process. Planning and completing a thesis - which are some of the most rewarding academic experiences - are also among the most challenging.

There are several steps in the proposal development process:

1) Around the time that you are finishing your sixth course  you should begin contacting your Research Advisor to work on identifying a research topic and to consider realistic ways to investigate research questions related to your topic.

2) After completing eight or nine courses, and after you have discussed possible thesis topics with your Research Advisor, along with doing any other prework described in the prerequisites section for the Crafting the Thesis Proposal tutorial or course, you can register for the tutorial or course.  You'll need to register for the Crafting the Thesis Proposal course more than a year in advance of your desired graduation date.

During the Crafting the Thesis Proposal tutorial or course, your instructor

  • Will assist you in formulating your thesis research plans
  • Will help guide you through the process of developing a successful thesis proposal

After completeing the Crafting the Thesis Proposal tutorial or course, your Research Advisor

  • Will help connect you with a thesis director, once your proposal has been approved

Developing a specific research problem out of a more general topic is perhaps the most difficult and important phase of the entire research process.

Important Things to Consider

  • Success in obtaining a thesis director will be influenced by the quality and topic of your proposal
  • Copies of successful proposals and theses are available in the Resources and Examples  sections
  • Assess your technological skills to ensure you can meet the demands of creating your proposal (and thesis)

If there is a Proseminar in your program

  • This needs to be completed before being accepted as an ALM candidate
  • In the proseminar you’ll learn to identify appropriate research problems and develop the research skills necessary to investigate them

Financial Resources

You should be prepared to invest not only time, but sometimes money as well in your project. When preparing your budget, be sure to allocate funds for:

  • Books, laboratory expenses/equipment, travel, office supplies, postage and more

Further budgetary information can be discussed with your Academic Advisor.