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Current Graduate Students Information

The Prospectus is a formal statement of about 10 -12 pages, double-spaced, that outlines your thesis research. It needs to justify why the project is worth investigating. A good prospectus raises an issue or asks a question that the academic scholarship or primary sources lack, and it suggests what findings may be gained and what conclusions can be drawn from the source material. A prospectus should include these sections. After your Prospectus is approved by three members of your committee, fill out the Thesis Approval Form, with requisite signatures, make 3 copies and submit one to the Graduate Coordinator, one to the Dean of the College, and keep one copy for your records.
  • Cover sheet with a working title of your Thesis project.
  • Describe and justify your project: Provide a definition of the "problem" that you are researching.  Situate it in its proper historical context. Framing your research topic on a question(s) is a  very practical way to justify your project.  Suggest a thesis statement to your question(s) and provide a working conclusion.  The actual conclusion will probably change, but the goal of the prospectus is to show your professors how you approach the issue and conceptualize the historical problem.
  • You must include a review of the relevant historiography on your topic.  This means following the intellectual discussion and development of major perspectives from the earliest to the most recent publications.  You should critically analyze the scholarship on your topic in relation to how your work will add to the historical knowledge.  Are you discovering something completely new? Are you challenging current scholarly opinion? Are you amending in some way scholarly interpretations?  How so?
  • You need to describe what primary and secondary sources you will use to advance your argument.  State any pertinent issue that might have an impact on your access to these sources.  Are they available in publication, online, or in archives?  Will you need to travel to acquire any sources?  Are any sources in foreign languages?  If so, do you need translation or will you translate them?
  • Provide a timeline for your expected progress.
  • Provide an annotated bibliography for sources you have already read.  Divide it into two parts: Primary and Secondary Sources. Do not annotate sources you haven’t read yet.
Each semester depending upon available funds, the department awards teaching assistantships to graduate students who show significant progress toward the completion of their degree.  Awards are competitive.  Download and complete the application by the last 3 weeks of each semester.

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