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Thesis Proposal

The Thesis Proposal has two goals:

  1. To give you the opportunity to fully consider and articulate the background, significance, and design of your thesis research; and
  2. To provide you with additional viewpoints and suggestions on how best to reach your research goals (through review of your proposal by the Thesis Advisory Committee).

Thesis Proposal

  • Following the successful completion of your Doctoral Board Oral Examination, you should begin preparing your thesis proposal. You may turn in your proposal at any time after your Doctoral Board Oral exam; however, the deadline for submission of your thesis proposal is November 30 of the second calendar year after your matriculation
  • It is not necessary to have preliminary data before you begin to write.  If you would find it helpful to review recent thesis proposals, please contact the program office. Once you have completed the writing of your proposal and it has been approved by your preceptor, submit it to the program office.

Formatting your Thesis Proposal

  • Your proposal should be a minimum of 12 double-spaced pages and an absolute maximum of 25 double-spaced pages. Font size must be 10 or 12 point throughout. As with the NIH Grants Referral Office, proposals which do not conform to these size requirements will be returned without review.
  • The items listed below should be organized in a fashion similar to an NIH research grant and should answer these questions: (1) What do you intend to do? (2) Why is the work important? (3) What has already been done? And (4) how are you going to do the work?
  • Specific Aims. List the broad, long-term objectives and describe concisely and realistically what the specific aims described in this application are intended to accomplish and the hypothesis to be tested.  One page is recommended.
  • Background and Significance. Briefly sketch the background to your proposal, critically evaluate existing knowledge, and specifically identify the gaps which the project is intended to fill.� State concisely the importance of the research described in this application by relating the specific aims to the broad long-term objectives.� Two to three pages are recommended.
  • Preliminary Results. Provide an account of the laboratory's preliminary studies pertinent to the proposal and your preliminary results, if any. Six pages, including any tables and figures, are recommended.
  • Research Design and Methods. Describe the research design and the procedures to be used to accomplish the specific aims of the project.  Include the means by which the data will be collected, analyzed, and interpreted.  Describe any new methodology and its advantage over existing methodologies. Discuss the potential difficulties and limitations of the proposed procedures and alternative approaches to achieve the aims. Provide a tentative sequence or timetable for the investigation. This section should not exceed 15 pages.
  • References. References should include the complete title of each publication.  References may be single spaced, and do not count toward the minimum or maximum page length restrictions.