Most students have several questions in regards to preparing for and writing a graduate dissertation. It doesn’t matter what their disciplines, students are often lost in the weeks leading up the start of their projects and require professional discipline help from an academic writing agency like ourselves. And while we are glad to assist in every way possible, we thought we can briefly explain the difference in two components of the graduate dissertation that cause a lot of confusion: the prospectus and the proposal. These are two related but different components that need to be completed as a part of the entire project.
The Dissertation Prospectus
The prospectus is an official piece of writing that you are required to present to your sponsoring advisor after you have attained candidacy for a master’s or Ph.D. degree and are ready to take on your graduate research project (the dissertation) full-time. It’s not quite an abstract but it can be described as a brief summary that can be a couple of pages long (anywhere between 8 – 10 pages) describing the central questions your research study will address, the connection your study has to prior research, an explanation of why your study is important to the field, your research methods, the feasibility of completing your project, and a preliminary bibliography of the works you plan to reference. After you have submitted the prospectus your advisor may provide some commentary, feedback, and recommendations for the study. While you are welcome to follow your own path, it is generally assumed that you will work in collaboration with your advisor and should, therefore, take his or her advice on the best way to complete the project.
The Dissertation Proposal
After meeting with your advisor and considering what the project should look like if completed successfully, you are required to write a more in-depth proposal. This too is a formal document but it includes more written material to justify your desired study. There is no exact length for this piece of writing as different disciplines may require (or suggest) you aim for a range of pages. You should review a couple of dissertation examples at your school’s library or get one written by a professional academic writer. The structure of the proposal should follow your prospectus but expand on each of the major sections we described above. Since it is your own work, you can certainly use the prospectus as the foundation for the proposal, but you should be mindful that the quality of writing will always be under scrutiny. So, rather than simply cutting and pasting large portions of your text, try to rewrite the majority of it so that the language is more concise and clear.
You can see that the two are different and need as much equal attention as possible. It’s a really good idea to seek out professional discipline help early in the year to ensure you don’t get on the wrong track and then have to redo any of your hard work. A reliable professional service, like our own, has dozens of experts waiting to answer questions, provide resources, and help you write the discipline so that it surpasses the highest standards.