dissertation proposal guidelines

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Home » Guidelines for the Ph.D Thesis Proposal

Guidelines for the Ph.D Thesis Proposal

Students in the Ph.D program shall submit a thesis proposal to the Art History Graduate Committee no later than four months after the successful completion of their Doctoral Field Essays. They shall obtain the agreement of their supervisor or co-supervisors before doing so.

The proposal should be ca. 15 to 20 pages (about 3500-5000 words) in length, plus a bibliography. Please also submit at the beginning a précis of approximately 500-750 words. The proposal should discuss the significance of the topic and the approach proposed; review the state of the literature; outline the resources to be used and their availability; and set out the stages of the project and the schedule envisaged for its completion. A selected bibliography should be appended; this may vary in length depending on the topic and will generally include primary and secondary sources.


After the supervisor has approved the thesis proposal, it is to be submitted in electronic form to the Graduate Coordinator, who will circulate it to the Graduate Committee. If two or more members of the Graduate Committee determine that the proposal should fail as is and therefore needs revision, the Graduate Coordinator, in consultation with the Graduate Committee, may require revisions of the proposal or a modification of the supervision arrangements. The time given for these revisions will depend upon the nature of the revisions involved, but the thesis proposal must be approved by the Graduate Committee before the final dissertation is submitted. In most cases the thesis proposal should be submitted and passed by the end of the Winter Term of the second year of the program, in general before the student engages in field research and writing of the dissertation. If the thesis proposal is not passed, students have the right to direct appeals to the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies.