Math for Teaching: Parts of the Proposal

Writing the proposal represents the critical planning stage for the thesis project.

The more detail you include, the smoother the actual thesis work will proceed. Proposals are typically 12 to 20 pages long (please consult Math for Teaching: Proposal Examples).


  1. Gives you writing practice in using a formal, objective, scholarly style
  2. Creates as complete a “road map” for the thesis project as possible
  3. Provides a document that can be shown to potential Thesis Directors

Thesis proposals should include the following (please consult Math for Teaching: Proposal Examples):

Title Page

Includes a tentative thesis title, your name, address, telephone number, and proposal submission date. The tentative title should be explanatory but concise


Describe the central theme of your project in a few sentences. Then, in just two or three paragraphs, give a summary of what you hope your thesis project will show, what problems you hope to have solved, and what your general approach will be.

Thesis Project Description

  • Elaborate on the summary given in the abstract
  • Explain the context in which this project is being done
  • Describe background information that you have already gathered, and other sources you expect to tap into
  • Outline how you will approach the project and any related work
  • Finally, describe your goals for the project (e.g. how will you know your project is successful?)

Work Plan

  • Describe the overall work plan for the thesis project
  • Specify how the various parts of your project will come together
  • Provide a breakdown of the activities that lead to completion of major milestones for your project, including the time needed to write up the thesis
  • Give rough time estimates for completing these activities (at the level of detail of roughly two to four weeks each)
  • Include time (six to eight weeks) for CUHS approval if needed

Glossary (definition of terms)

Include definitions of any less familiar terms as well as acronyms used in your proposal. You can skip this section if the terms you use are well known.


Please use the standard APA (American Psychological Association) style for citations and references and include:

  • Works Cited - for those references cited in your proposal
  • Works Consulted - all works consulted for creating the proposal, but not actually cited
  • Works to Be Consulted (if necessary) - include works you have discovered to date that you intend to consult during the thesis process