Writing a Master's Thesis Proposal: What to Include

A Master’s thesis proposal is a mandatory assignment for every graduate student. The paper should be well structured and include all required components, namely:

Initial data

On the first page, write your name, e-mail address and a date of submission. Double-check your e-mail and do not forget to check it frequently after submission of your proposal.

A title

Prepare a working title, write it centered on the page and ensure it is clear and not longer than twelve words. Be specific and focused on your study subject.

A summary or an abstract

This is the place to put your thesis statement and outline the topic, goals and objectives, main research methods, and a literature review. Try to fit it in three paragraphs.

The problem

Briefly describe the subject of study and show the importance of an identified problem. Show the special characteristics of the subject, do not provide obvious facts, make it interesting and remarkable.

A literature review

Demonstrate strong knowledge of your field of research. Mention the main theories and concepts relevant to your paper. Demonstrate some controversial points you want to argue about. Write down several strong arguments and list the most famous scientists who support each position.

Basic ideas

Present your study hypothesis and state research questions. Write down the main ideas and probable outcomes. Most supervisors ask to come up with the main idea and three-four questions to answer.

Research methods

Think about scientific methods that can help you to answer the stated questions and get the desired results. Try to give several methods you are familiar with and know that they are relevant to the subject.

Possible limitations

Determine possible obstacles and limitations that can influence the results of your research. Demonstrate analytical skills and examine the situation carefully.

A list of chapters

Prepare a list of chapters and sub-chapters. This will be a plan of your paper. It is better having three-five chapters with several sub-chapters in each if needed.

A working schedule

Create a timetable of your research action. Develop the tasks to complete and set certain deadlines. Think about the conferences, field trips, laboratory experiments, and other types of work you plan to do.

A list of references

Create a list of sources you used to complete the proposal in alphabetical order. Note that this is not a list for an actual study and do no try to make it comprehensive. Remember to mention statistical databases and sources of graphical content if applicable.