Yale Center for Teaching and Learning

Prospectus Writing

Writing your prospectus is the first step towards completing your dissertation. It represents an opportunity to identify your project goals, create a roadmap for completing your graduate work, and to frame the significance of your work.  Your committee will provide you with feedback on the prospectus.

While different departments and disciplines will have their own requirements, in general, your prospectus will include an abstract, background and significance of research, a literature review, a description of the preliminary work you have completed, an explanation of your method or approaches, potential limitations or issues with the project, a timetable for completion, a conclusion, and a list of references.

The Graduate Writing Lab’s team of writing consultants can help you at any stage of your prospectus drafting, from brainstorming ideas, through early drafts, and polishing a final product. You can make an appointment with a consultant at: https://poorvucenter.yale.edu/writing/graduate.

The Graduate Writing Lab has collected sample prospectuses from various disciplines for your reference, which are available here as downloadable resources.


Social Sciences