Thesis Proposal Guidelines

Planning Your Proposal

You will have a general idea of your final thesis topic after having completed six courses.

You will then form a committee of three faculty members to serve as your thesis readers. Your first reader must be an individual who holds a regular Dartmouth faculty appointment. It is critical that you work closely with your first reader for advice in formulating your proposal.

One of your readers must be a MALS faculty member and ONLY your third reader may be a faculty member outside the Dartmouth community – please include this person’s CV along with a short statement from you to show how this person’s expertise contributes to your thesis topic.

*Additional Guidelines for Creative Writing Concentration Students:

Before you embark on your thesis, you are expected to complete an independent study (IS) that will specifically prepare you for your thesis. The IS should generally follow a course in the corresponding genre, except when a student makes an acceptable case for doing otherwise. Likewise, the thesis should generally be in the genre of the independent study you have completed. Exceptions may be made if a student has done outstanding work in a different genre.

In general, students should not expect approval to write a thesis in a genre in which they have not had a course as well as an independent study.

Submitting Your Proposal

Submit your proposal to the MALS office for review by the Curriculum Committee, the term before your research starts. The Curriculum Committee will not review late submissions. The student, not the faculty advisor, is responsible for ensuring a timely proposal submission to the MALS Office. 

For further details on content and bibliography, see the Thesis Proposal form. Along with your thesis proposal, you must also submit a plan_of_study_form.pdf Without a bibliography and plan of study your proposal is incomplete.

Proposal Submission Deadlines

  • April 15 for summer term
  • August 1 for fall term
  • October 15 for winter term
  • February 1 for spring term

After Your Proposal is Approved

Upon approval of your thesis proposal, you may elect to register for Thesis Research (MALS 137).

Proposal Samples

Proposal samples are available in the MALS office for review. Samples may not be photocopied or removed from the office.