Dissertation Prospectus

According to OSU.EDU (2019), a dissertation prospectus is

a paradoxical piece of writing. It is not an abstract (which is to say, a summary of a completed dissertation) or an introductory chapter of a dissertation, but rather  an attempt to describe what is planned before it has actually been done. 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 3500-4000 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. (OSU.EDU, 2019)

Whether completed before or after topic development, the prospectus (or premise) is an essential start to (a) ensure that you are on the right path, and (b) to obtain school approval to proceed with the Proposal. As I tell doctoral mentees and clients:

Pretend that your doctoral journey is like being in the Land of Oz, and you to get to the Emerald Castle to earn your degree. However, all you’ve been told is to follow the Yellow Brick Road, but to be assured that it will lead you there. However, you’ve never been down that road and don’t know of all the dangers that await to hold you back.

As a dissertation mentor/coach, this is what I do – both as faculty for major universities and for Dissertation101 clients. You see, I’ve been down that road many, many times – in fact, personally serving as chair for over 85 graduates, plus 100’s more as advisor, committee member, and reviewer! As such, I know what lies ahead and can help anticipate, avoid, and push through the obstacles that await, such as the enchanted trees throwing apples, the wicked witch throwing fireballs, and the sleepy poppy flower field was for Dorothy and her forest friends.

Is this the type of help you desire or need to get on the right path for your dissertation? Rememember, completing a dissertation is more than hard work, but also working hard in the right direction. This is where I can help. If this reasonates with you, please contact me using any of the forms available on this website, or via email at drness@dissertation101.com. I look forward to hearing from you!

Best success,

Dr. Lonny


OSU.EDU (2019). The Department of Comparative Studies: Dissertation prospectus. Retrieved from

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