literature thesis proposal form

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In the name of God
Department of English
Some guidelines for preparing a thesis proposal for the M.A. Degree in Literature
A Master of Arts Thesis is a demonstration of your ability to conduct effective research using largely secondary sources and, where appropriate, primary sources. The end product is a cohesive, well-written, and illustrated defense of your thesis statement.
After considering your intellectual interests using the guidelines below, you should discuss your proposed project with your thesis advisor. This will open a critical dialogue, very likely over several meetings with him or her, in the process of which you will bring your written proposal to the level of development appropriate for committee consideration. Your thesis advisor will confirm with you that he or she believes your proposal is ready to go forward for review by the Graduate Committee of the Department.
These are the crucial elements you have to clarify in an M.A. thesis proposal:
1.    Title (on the title page): The title of your thesis needs to be brief and descriptive. It should provide a fairly clear idea of what your thesis is about.
2.    Abstract: In not more than 250 words, you will explain what you plan to do in your thesis.
3.    Key words: This is a short list of KEY words which, when googled on the net, would provide links to your study, or show your study among the tens of studies done on the same or similar topics.
NOTE: Items 2 and 3 above should be on the same page (immediately after your Title (Cover) page).
4.    Background of the Study: In this section, you will provide a very precise background that would contextualize your study. Two pages would be fine for this mini-review of literature (previous studies related to your topic) at the end of which you should relate your study (topic) to the research already conducted on the same topic or in the same area.
5.    Statement of Purpose: For this section, you will provide a concise and specific statement of the purpose of your study: what issues you are going to discuss, which literary work(s) you are going to focus on, if there is a specific question you are going to answer by focusing on specific works, etc. You may state your research question (if any) in this section.

6.    Argument: An argument takes a stand on an issue. It seeks to persuade an audience of a point of view in much the same way that a lawyer argues a case in a court of law. It is NOT a description or a summary. The following examples show how your argument should be stated.
This is an argument: "This paper argues that the movie JFK is inaccurate in its portrayal of President Kennedy."
This is NOT an argument: "In this paper, I will describe the portrayal of President Kennedy that is shown in the movie JFK."
7.    Significance (Justification) of the Study: You will explain why your study is worth doing, how it will contribute to the existing, and how it is different from the previous studies conducted on the issue.
8.    Review of Literature: In this section, you will give a summary of the contents of the literature relevant to the subject and your research on the topic. You may as well name the major references you will use to support your argument.
9.    Definition of Key Terms: You should precisely define the key terms that you will frequently use or refer to in your thesis, or the terms that shape the basis of your argument (e.g., literary terms) and are defined or interpreted in different ways in glossaries, companions, critical theories, etc. By defining the key terms in your study, the reader will evaluate your argument within the framework and based on the definitions that you have presented.
10.    Methodology (and Materials): Here, you will describe how you are going to pursue your research, including the critical and theoretical basis of your investigation, and what specific literary works such as specific novels or plays or poems (if any). This section conveys how you will develop your argument.
11.    Anticipated Findings: Keeping in mind that research of this kind is subjective and open to changes, you will discuss what you hope your work will establish to confirm the statement of your thesis. Indicate also what findings may disconfirm your thesis statement.
12.    Outline: In this section, you will give a sketch of what your thesis will look like, including chapters, main headings and sub-headings, etc. It looks like a tentative table of contents.
13.    Works Cited: This is the final section of your proposal. Here you will provide the list sources of research, both secondary and primary, that you have cited in your thesis. To prepare this list, you need to follow the rules outlined in MLA Manual of Style.
14.    Timeline: Includes the start date and key deadline for the completion of each chapter of your thesis.
NOTE: You should meet your adviser on an agreed regular basis twice a week or once in a month to make sure you are on the right track. This will help your adviser to follow your work and check the quality and accuracy of your research.

2. Abstract:

3. Key Words:

4.  Background of the Study:

5. Statement of Purpose:

6. Argument:

7. Significance of the study:

8. Review of Literature

Review of Literature (contd.)

Review of Literature (contd.)

9. Definition of Key Terms:

10. Methodology (and Materials):

11. Anticipated Findings:

12. Thesis Outline:

13. Works Cited:

14.    Timeline:

Department of English Language and Literature
Faculty of Foreign Languages
University of …


Title of Proposal/Thesis:

Part I:
I certify that my proposal or the forthcoming thesis is not, and will not be, part of a thesis or dissertation and has not been previously published in any possible form.
       I also undertake full academic responsibility in the process of writing my thesis, and I am aware that, if proved otherwise, the Disciplinary Committee of the (name of the University)  has every right to take action against me and I acknowledge that this may include invalidating my degree even after my graduation.  
       I also take full responsibility for any penal decision, national or international, reached on the occasion of my breaching the above conditions.

Part II:
I undertake to
A- report my work progress on a routine basis to my advisor;
B- submit the drafts for chapters to my advisor in the order they appear in my outline and to apply corrections in my revisions;
C- present my research materials to my advisor/reader for their close inspection if required.

If I fail to fulfill the above requirements, my advisor has every right to report me to the Graduate Committee of the Department, report me to the Graduate School and/or withdraw his/her supervision.

If my advisor fails to check any of the above mentioned tasks, it is my responsibility to immediately report to Head of the Department.   

Student’s Name:                                                       Date and signature:

16.     Advisor’s Statement:
I hereby certify that the above student has discussed the above topic with me and that s/he has fully understood the course his/her thesis will take.

Advisor’s Name:                                                   Date and Signature

17.     Decision reached by the Graduate Committee of the Department

Signature    No    Yes    Position    Name    

Thesis proposal:

submitted by Mr./Ms.                             M.A. student in Literature was considered in the Department’s Graduate Committee held on                    and was unanimously or with a total vote of              out of           accepted/rejected (if rejected, please go to Section 16).

Head of Department:                              Date and Signature

18.     General Issues Regarding Thesis Proposals:

Thesis proposals may be returned to the student for revision. When proposals are returned, the student meets with the thesis advisor to get feedback from the Committee on revising the proposal. Students have a short deadline (generally two to three weeks) to revise in conjunction with their advisor and resubmit the proposal. If the proposal is still not passed by the Committee, it may be revised only one more time. Second revisions will be turned in the following semester, on the deadline for that semester’s proposals. If the second revision is not accepted by the committee, the student may not propose the same project again. He or she must choose a new topic.

Reasons for returning the proposal for revision:

1. Project is too large and thus not appropriate for an MA thesis;
2. Proposal is too narrow and the student will not be able to write the minimum of 80   
3. Point of the project is not clearly articulated and supported;
4. Project is vague;
5. Project is not clearly situated within literary or theoretical traditions;
6. Proposal is disorganized;
7. Proposal displays grammatical and/or stylistic errors;
8. Project is not clearly situated within the field of English studies.



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