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Research Proposals

  • the research topic briefly outline the area and topic of your research.
  • the research context relate your proposed research to other work in its field or related fields, and indicate in what ways your research will differ; you might mention monographs on the subject, as well as important theoretical models or methodological exemplars. This is a chance to show your understanding of the background against which your research will be defined.
  • the contribution you will make this is your chance to show how you have arrived at your position and recognised the need for your research, and what it is that makes it both new and important; you should indicate what areas and debates it will have an impact on, what methodological example it sets (if appropriate) – in short how it contributes to knowledge and to the practice of our subject. Give examples of the sort of evidence you might consider, and of the questions it might help you to raise. Show that you are already thinking about the area in detail and not only in outline.
  • your methods in some cases there will be little to say here, but if there is something striking about your methodology, you should explain it.
  • the sources and resources you will use you should delimit your field of enquiry, showing where the project begins and ends; in certain cases, Cambridge will have unique collections and resources of central relevance to your project, and you should mention these.
  • how the project will develop you might indicate some of the possible ways in which the project could develop, perhaps by giving a broader or narrower version depending on what materials and issues you uncover

You should ask yourself how your work might change the present state of scholarship in your field, and whether the topic is well suited to the resources provided at Cambridge. Even for MPhil courses we generally aim to admit not just those who propose a sensible topic, but those who have the potential to modify the present paradigms of research in their field. Most students, though, refine their research topics after they arrive in the light of what they discover or of advice from their supervisor, so you need not feel that you are inscribing your future in tablets of stone as you compose your proposal.

You may find it helpful to look at the following examples of successful research proposals.

It is vital that you show that your research is necessary. It is not enough that it happens to interest you. You should make clear that it will be of use and interest to others working in your field, or on a particular author, or indeed in neighbouring fields. You should show how your work will make a contribution to knowledge and to the practice of our subject.

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Department of English

College of arts and sciences, ph.d. dissertation proposal guidelines.

The following has been adapted for the English Department from the Graduate  School’s “Statement on Thesis/Dissertation Proposals.” Guidelines adapted for the Creative Dissertation Proposal Guidelines can be found here .

I. Introduction

A thesis proposal states a problem to be investigated and describes how the research will be performed and reported. Approval signifies that it meets the standards of the University of Rhode Island for the degree desired. Therefore, the preparation and writing of the thesis proposal are of utmost importance. Although the student is expected to seek guidance in the choice of topic and the method of solving the problem involved, responsibility for the proposal lies with the student who will, as far as possible, work independently and demonstrate the ability to plan and outline an acceptable research project. Adherence to the guidelines given below should assure the student that all information necessary for the satisfactory evaluation of the plans for master’s or doctoral research will be included in the proposal.

The thesis proposal should present the required information as concisely and clearly as possible. The ability to describe concisely a research problem and methodology is one of the skills that the proposal process is designed to develop. Therefore, all thesis/dissertation proposals are limited in length to the signature cover-sheet plus 15 or fewer double-spaced, numbered pages in a font size no smaller than 12 point . Proposals longer than this will not be accepted, however, appendices and references are not included in the 15-page limit . Proposals will also be returned for revision if they do not contain the appropriate sections described in the Contents section of this Statement on Thesis/Dissertation Proposals. Sufficient copies of the proposal must be provided to permit distribution to the Graduate School, Institutional Review Board or Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee if required (see Sec. III), department, major professor, thesis or doctoral committee, and the student.

III.  Submission

Thesis proposals should be submitted before substantial research has been completed. Typically, it should be submitted before or during the first semester in which the student registers for research credits. In all cases, however, the proposal must be submitted at least one semester before the semester in which the thesis/dissertation itself is to be submitted and defended.

In the English Department, the Dissertation Proposal is submitted for review by the student’s entire dissertation committee once the written and oral comprehensive exams are completed. The student meets with the committee for the purpose of discussing the proposal and the first stages of the dissertation. Then , all copies of the thesis proposal must be signed by the members of the student’s doctoral committee, who thereby approve the proposal for forwarding by the student’s major professor via the Director of Graduate Studies to the Vice Provost for Graduate Studies, Research, and Outreach. The Vice Provost is charged with responsibility for review and approval or rejection of all proposals. Proposals that do not meet the standard of the Graduate School will be returned to the student for revision and resubmission. Approved proposals are returned to the department for distribution, with one copy retained in the student’s file at the Graduate School.

(Sections on “Research Involving Human Subjects” and “Research involving Vertebrate Animals” excluded here, but you may read them by going to the Grad School Webpage and consulting their Statement on the Ph.D. proposal.)

IV.  Contents

Thesis Proposals shall contain the following sections, presented in the order shown:

A. Title of the Study 

This is the title as the student conceives it at the time the proposal is submitted. It should be no more than 100 characters in length. As the research develops, various rephrasings of the title may prove better suited to the work. In such cases, the most satisfactory one will be used for the dissertation, the final formal report of the investigation.  Please note that at that time a title abstract of 40 characters or less must be submitted.

B. Statement of the Problem

This section should be relatively short and sweet — a succinct introduction to your topic, thesis, and the questions that drive your project.

Limit the statement, if possible, to two or three sentences, and note in precise language exactly what is to be investigated. Here is where you introduce your object(s) of study and the principal question or questions you are bringing to it or them. To amplify the Statement of the Problem, it is usually desirable to list:

  • The scope or limitations of the problem: e.g., what material will it include and why? Give some thought to the criteria by which you will limit the project, for instance, to a specific time period, geographical locale, genre of literature or film, a particular author or group of authors, a social group, or movement, or school of thought, etc.
  • Either one or more hypotheses the research seeks to test or the objectives you expect to attain as a result of the study.
  • The major assumptions that underlie both the study as a whole and the methodology you will be following. Note: you will be expanding on this in section D; just give a succinct introduction of the methodology here.

C.  The justification for and Significance of the Study

Now you start to get into the substance of your proposal. You may run to a few pages in this section, and amplify on what you introduced in Section B.

This section of the proposal includes:

  • A brief statement of the reasons for the selection of the problem: Is there, for instance, a gap in the existing scholarship on this problem? Alternatively, even if this is a topic that has been much discussed, will you be shedding new light on it by examining it in a new context, or bringing to bear a different theoretical framework, or juxtaposing it with other objects with which it has never been considered?
  • The relation of the principal literature to the proposal: In the English Department, by “principal literature” we mean both the primary texts or object you plan to treat, as well as the secondary texts that have come to inform your approach to those primary texts. Why these texts? Why now? What is at stake? And what have you got to contribute to our understanding of them?
  • An explanation of the study’s importance to the advancement of knowledge and its significance to the student: To show the importance of your study to the advancement of knowledge, you will need to show where that knowledge is now, and how you plan to extend, question, complement, challenge, or revolutionize it (etc).
  • The problem selected should be substantial enough to constitute a good example of a report of a scholarly investigation. Completion of a project or several unrelated projects does not satisfy this requirement. At the Ph.D. level, the work should constitute a significant increase in the pool of knowledge.

D. Methodology or Procedures

Again–this is a substantive section of the Proposal. Another few pages.

This section describes the activities necessary to achieve the objectives. Methods should flow naturally from the problems and objectives.

The Graduate School defines methodology in terms of the study population; sampling design and procedures; tools, instruments, and timetables for data collection and testing; definition of terms and concepts. In the English Department, too, you will be expected to present a methodological plan for how your investigation will be carried out, which will necessarily involve a concise statement of the theoretical or critical frameworks most important to your project. Rather than a list of theorists’ or critics’ names, provide specific concepts or well-defined terms from these theorists, and explain how they inform the way you are approaching your problem. Even better, explain how you are intervening in the status quo already established by these existing critics or theorists. You should also give a sense of the kinds of critical activity you plan to carry out: will you do close readings of primary texts? If so, what kind? Will one or more chapters be devoted to a survey of existing scholarship? Will you be conducting archival research, and if so, where, and for what purpose? Does one section of your dissertation rely on your having completed another section first? Is there an interdisciplinary aspect to your project that requires a special methodological approach all its own? A brief, provisional chapter outline is appropriate in this section since it indicates the logic behind how you envision the organization of your material.

E. Resources Required

The last part of the thesis proposal is a statement of the resources needed for the successful completion of the study and an indication of their accessibility to the student proposing to use them. This may be a very brief section, where you summarize the primary and secondary texts necessary to your investigation, with the understanding that the full bibliography will be saved for an appendix. This is also the place to mention travel to archives or to visit any individuals who may be key to your project.

F. Literature Cited in the Proposal

Take note of the following concern of the Graduate School, a concern shared by the  English Department:

The most persistent difficulty with thesis proposals is lack of evidence that a search of the literature took place in framing the problem to be studied. The absence of evidence that the scholarly literature in the field has been consulted might be due to one or more of the following reasons:

  • That it was omitted because the student was not aware that it was required.
  • That the student was unfamiliar with the library as a resource in developing the research proposal.
  • That, having searched the literature of the field, the student found that the problem was unique, and therefore, could not be documented. If so, it is important to note where the literature stops and the proposed research starts, itself an intriguing scholarly problem.
  • That the thesis problem has been provided “ready-made” as a spin-off from a larger study so that no literature search appeared to be needed. One might question the wisdom of thus isolating the student from the scholarly literature, however valid and important the research topic. (This seems to be directed more at faculty than at students.)
  • Since you are limited to only 15 pages for the dissertation proposal, we recommend that you write “See Appendix A” for this section of the proposal, and place your Works Cited in that Appendix. That way you leave more room for the substance of the Proposal. In your “Works Cited,” we recommend that you make sub-divisions where appropriate. For instance, you may want to have a “primary” and a “secondary” list; or a list of “literature,” “film,” and the criticism pertaining to each; or if more than one historical period is covered, you may want to divide your bibliography by period, etc. Make your Works Cited as reflective of the logic of your project as possible.

G. Revised Proposals (not a section of your proposal)

If, as the research proceeds, a significant change in subject or methodology becomes necessary, a revised proposal should be submitted. Sometimes an abbreviated format can be used for such changes. The student or major professor should contact the Graduate School for assistance in such cases.

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How to Write a Dissertation Proposal | A Step-by-Step Guide

Published on 14 February 2020 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on 11 November 2022.

A dissertation proposal describes the research you want to do: what it’s about, how you’ll conduct it, and why it’s worthwhile. You will probably have to write a proposal before starting your dissertation as an undergraduate or postgraduate student.

A dissertation proposal should generally include:

  • An introduction to your topic and aims
  • A literature review  of the current state of knowledge
  • An outline of your proposed methodology
  • A discussion of the possible implications of the research
  • A bibliography  of relevant sources

Dissertation proposals vary a lot in terms of length and structure, so make sure to follow any guidelines given to you by your institution, and check with your supervisor when you’re unsure.

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Table of contents

Step 1: coming up with an idea, step 2: presenting your idea in the introduction, step 3: exploring related research in the literature review, step 4: describing your methodology, step 5: outlining the potential implications of your research, step 6: creating a reference list or bibliography.

Before writing your proposal, it’s important to come up with a strong idea for your dissertation.

Find an area of your field that interests you and do some preliminary reading in that area. What are the key concerns of other researchers? What do they suggest as areas for further research, and what strikes you personally as an interesting gap in the field?

Once you have an idea, consider how to narrow it down and the best way to frame it. Don’t be too ambitious or too vague – a dissertation topic needs to be specific enough to be feasible. Move from a broad field of interest to a specific niche:

  • Russian literature 19th century Russian literature The novels of Tolstoy and Dostoevsky
  • Social media Mental health effects of social media Influence of social media on young adults suffering from anxiety

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Like most academic texts, a dissertation proposal begins with an introduction . This is where you introduce the topic of your research, provide some background, and most importantly, present your aim , objectives and research question(s) .

Try to dive straight into your chosen topic: What’s at stake in your research? Why is it interesting? Don’t spend too long on generalisations or grand statements:

  • Social media is the most important technological trend of the 21st century. It has changed the world and influences our lives every day.
  • Psychologists generally agree that the ubiquity of social media in the lives of young adults today has a profound impact on their mental health. However, the exact nature of this impact needs further investigation.

Once your area of research is clear, you can present more background and context. What does the reader need to know to understand your proposed questions? What’s the current state of research on this topic, and what will your dissertation contribute to the field?

If you’re including a literature review, you don’t need to go into too much detail at this point, but give the reader a general sense of the debates that you’re intervening in.

This leads you into the most important part of the introduction: your aim, objectives and research question(s) . These should be clearly identifiable and stand out from the text – for example, you could present them using bullet points or bold font.

Make sure that your research questions are specific and workable – something you can reasonably answer within the scope of your dissertation. Avoid being too broad or having too many different questions. Remember that your goal in a dissertation proposal is to convince the reader that your research is valuable and feasible:

  • Does social media harm mental health?
  • What is the impact of daily social media use on 18– to 25–year–olds suffering from general anxiety disorder?

Now that your topic is clear, it’s time to explore existing research covering similar ideas. This is important because it shows you what is missing from other research in the field and ensures that you’re not asking a question someone else has already answered.

You’ve probably already done some preliminary reading, but now that your topic is more clearly defined, you need to thoroughly analyse and evaluate the most relevant sources in your literature review .

Here you should summarise the findings of other researchers and comment on gaps and problems in their studies. There may be a lot of research to cover, so make effective use of paraphrasing to write concisely:

  • Smith and Prakash state that ‘our results indicate a 25% decrease in the incidence of mechanical failure after the new formula was applied’.
  • Smith and Prakash’s formula reduced mechanical failures by 25%.

The point is to identify findings and theories that will influence your own research, but also to highlight gaps and limitations in previous research which your dissertation can address:

  • Subsequent research has failed to replicate this result, however, suggesting a flaw in Smith and Prakash’s methods. It is likely that the failure resulted from…

Next, you’ll describe your proposed methodology : the specific things you hope to do, the structure of your research and the methods that you will use to gather and analyse data.

You should get quite specific in this section – you need to convince your supervisor that you’ve thought through your approach to the research and can realistically carry it out. This section will look quite different, and vary in length, depending on your field of study.

You may be engaged in more empirical research, focusing on data collection and discovering new information, or more theoretical research, attempting to develop a new conceptual model or add nuance to an existing one.

Dissertation research often involves both, but the content of your methodology section will vary according to how important each approach is to your dissertation.

Empirical research

Empirical research involves collecting new data and analysing it in order to answer your research questions. It can be quantitative (focused on numbers), qualitative (focused on words and meanings), or a combination of both.

With empirical research, it’s important to describe in detail how you plan to collect your data:

  • Will you use surveys ? A lab experiment ? Interviews?
  • What variables will you measure?
  • How will you select a representative sample ?
  • If other people will participate in your research, what measures will you take to ensure they are treated ethically?
  • What tools (conceptual and physical) will you use, and why?

It’s appropriate to cite other research here. When you need to justify your choice of a particular research method or tool, for example, you can cite a text describing the advantages and appropriate usage of that method.

Don’t overdo this, though; you don’t need to reiterate the whole theoretical literature, just what’s relevant to the choices you have made.

Moreover, your research will necessarily involve analysing the data after you have collected it. Though you don’t know yet what the data will look like, it’s important to know what you’re looking for and indicate what methods (e.g. statistical tests , thematic analysis ) you will use.

Theoretical research

You can also do theoretical research that doesn’t involve original data collection. In this case, your methodology section will focus more on the theory you plan to work with in your dissertation: relevant conceptual models and the approach you intend to take.

For example, a literary analysis dissertation rarely involves collecting new data, but it’s still necessary to explain the theoretical approach that will be taken to the text(s) under discussion, as well as which parts of the text(s) you will focus on:

  • This dissertation will utilise Foucault’s theory of panopticism to explore the theme of surveillance in Orwell’s 1984 and Kafka’s The Trial…

Here, you may refer to the same theorists you have already discussed in the literature review. In this case, the emphasis is placed on how you plan to use their contributions in your own research.

You’ll usually conclude your dissertation proposal with a section discussing what you expect your research to achieve.

You obviously can’t be too sure: you don’t know yet what your results and conclusions will be. Instead, you should describe the projected implications and contribution to knowledge of your dissertation.

First, consider the potential implications of your research. Will you:

  • Develop or test a theory?
  • Provide new information to governments or businesses?
  • Challenge a commonly held belief?
  • Suggest an improvement to a specific process?

Describe the intended result of your research and the theoretical or practical impact it will have:

Finally, it’s sensible to conclude by briefly restating the contribution to knowledge you hope to make: the specific question(s) you hope to answer and the gap the answer(s) will fill in existing knowledge:

Like any academic text, it’s important that your dissertation proposal effectively references all the sources you have used. You need to include a properly formatted reference list or bibliography at the end of your proposal.

Different institutions recommend different styles of referencing – commonly used styles include Harvard , Vancouver , APA , or MHRA . If your department does not have specific requirements, choose a style and apply it consistently.

A reference list includes only the sources that you cited in your proposal. A bibliography is slightly different: it can include every source you consulted in preparing the proposal, even if you didn’t mention it in the text. In the case of a dissertation proposal, a bibliography may also list relevant sources that you haven’t yet read, but that you intend to use during the research itself.

Check with your supervisor what type of bibliography or reference list you should include.

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Writing a thesis is a personal journey, and in English there is significant leeway in how you approach your work. We have put together a set of guidelines for putting together a proposal. It may be that, in consultation with your supervisor, you decide that aspects of this outline do not best facilitate a description of your project. However, we strongly recommend that you do use this document as a starting point. As a Research Committee, this is the information we will be looking for and on the basis of which we will assess your proposal.

Your proposal should include, possibly in this order:

1. thesis statement or research question, 2. rational and literature review.

Include a rationale for choosing your topic: why is it important, and what contribution to the field could you make?

Link this to a brief literature review – what sources will be most important to you, and how will your work be different?

3. Theoretical approach

Spend about a page sketching out your theoretical approach. Pay special attention to this if the theoretical approach is part of your research question.

4. Chapter outline

An outline of chapters, with a paragraph on each one – the main ideas, and how you'll go about discussing them. Try to give the sense of an overall and developing argument for the whole thesis. Be as specific as possible about your primary texts. Why have you chosen these particular texts, and what work do they do in terms of the overall conceptual design of your own project?

5. A time schedule

Specify expected completion dates of each chapter. Remember that for December graduation, final thesis submission is around September. For June graduation, final submission is around April. Factor these deadlines in to your planning. You should hand in your final draft to your supervisor at least 6 weeks before it is due at Faculty, to enable you to make any changes. Also, check the final word count requirement for the dissertation, and specify how many words you'll spend on each chapter.

6. Bibliography

You can divide this into two parts at this stage: the first part books that you have read and that you know you’ll be using; the second part books/articles that you know about and would like to consult, but haven’t read yet.

Bibliographies are crucial indicators of the quality of your work. They give your examiners an idea of where you are coming from theoretically and methodologically, and of how up-to-date the research is. Many examiners turn to the bibliography first, upon receiving a thesis to examine. Journal articles are usually a few years ahead of books that come out. So when a student has hardly any articles in the bibliography, the thesis looks out of date from the start. Make use of the electronic databases in the library to do regular searches for the latest work in your area.

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Thesis Proposal Examples

The Honors Undergraduate Thesis program requires students to submit a research proposal to the Office of Honors Research prior to advancing to the Thesis semester.

Generally, a scientific research proposal will include a brief introduction to the research topic, a literature review, and a methodology that will explain how the student plans to meet the objectives of the research. A proposal in the Arts and Humanities will generally include an introduction and a creative work (e.g. screenplays, short stories, artwork) or theoretical analysis.

Students will create a signature cover page for the thesis proposal that will list the entire committee and HUT Liaison. The Thesis proposal cover page template can be found here .

The following are examples of substantially researched, properly formatted research proposals and their respective signature pages. These examples should be used for reference only and not necessarily as templates. Students should his or her Thesis Chair and committee regarding the structure of the proposal, information that should be present, and documentation style.

What is a Thesis Proposal?

A thesis proposal is a document that outlines the thesis topic, defines the issues that the thesis will address, and explains why the topic warrants further research. It should identify a problem and provide a proposed solution to that problem.

Proposals representative of the sciences (both hard sciences and social sciences) should generally include the following:

  • A brief introduction, which will define the thesis topic and explain the purpose of the thesis.
  • A literature review that outlines the most relevant readings and theories which pertain to the thesis topic.
  • A methodology section, which should include the research questions, hypotheses, participants, materials, and procedures.
  • A bibliography or reference list. Most of the sources should be from peer reviewed articles or books. As with other academic papers, the use of internet sources should be limited.

For students conducting more theoretical or comparative analyses, the structure could also take the form of chapters that define and specify each concept, and a concluding chapter that brings all of these ideas together.

For students in the arts, a proposal and thesis may take the form of a creative project. In this instance, the proposal may include:

  • A brief introduction, which includes the thesis statement, general intent of project, what the project should accomplish, and justification for considering the project a legitimate endeavor.
  • A literature review, which includes any supporting literature that justifies the intention of the project.
  • A method for accomplishing the project. Include any necessary background or equipment needed for the project, where the project will be conducted, and a proposed timeline for completion.
  • A bibliography or reference list.

An alternative structure would be for students who are writing their own short stories, novellas, or screenplays.

Here, the thesis should include a clear mastery of the skill set by producing chapters of the novella, poetry selections, or the working/final screenplay. [/accordion-item][/accordion]

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Ma in english literature dissertation.

The MA dissertation requires students to undertake and complete a sustained research project of 16,000 words on a topic of special interest.

TERM 1: Writing your proposal

Dissertation proposals – of 500-words in length – must be submitted to the department by noon on Friday 30th December 2018 (week 9 of term 1). Please send your proposal directly to the MA convener Dr. Stephen Purcell ( [email protected] ).

As part of your Introduction to Research Methods course you will take part in a dissertation proposal writing workshop. This will help you to think about how to frame your proposal. You are also encouraged to look at the areas of expertise covered by our staff and to use staff office hours to discuss ideas with relevant specialists and potential supervisors before finalizing your proposal.

TERM 2: Starting research

You will be assigned a supervisor by the end of week 1 of term 2, and in this term you are strongly advised to begin work on your dissertation research.

In term 2 you will hold two meetings with your supervisor: the first will be an introductory meeting and the second should take placed before your dissertation progress report is due.

The Dissertation Progress Report includes the following:

  • Dissertation Progress Report form
  • title and chapter breakdown
  • an abstract of 1000 words
  • a bibliography

This Dissertation Progress Report must be submitted to the Postgraduate Programmes Officer by the end of week 9 of term 2.*

The progress reports will be reviewed by the MA Convenor. If there are concerns about progress, the MA Convenor will contact you.

TERM 3: Research and writing

During term 3 you should be hard at work on your dissertation. During this should meet with your supervisor on three occasions (spread evenly across the term). Your supervisor is permitted to read one rough draft of your dissertation, which must be sent to them by the end of term 3.

Number of supervisions

Students receive five supervisions for their MA dissertations, two in term 2 and three in term 3. Supervisions are generally around 45-60 minutes in length, but the initial two meetings may be shorter.

Email contact with your supervisor

You are welcome to contact your supervisor by email. As with all the department's staff, you can usually expect a supervisor to respond within about 24 hours (excluding weekends) if your query is straightforward. For more complex requests, supervisors will need more time to respond and you need to keep in mind that an email exchange is no substitute for a face-to-face meeting. Face-to-face supervision of dissertations concludes at the end of term 3. Over the summer months of July and August, when staff undertake their own research activities, email contact is at the supervisor's discretion and it will very likely take longer for them to respond to any message you send.

Dissertations are due on 1 st September .

The following reminders may be useful:

  • You must be consistent in the style convention used (preferably either MLA, MHRA, Chicago or Harvard)
  • Footnotes/Endnotes are included in the final word count; the 'Bibliography' is not included in the final word count
  • An abstract is not required in the final submission
  • A margin of up to 10% over or under length is allowed, but dissertations that are between 10-24% over-length will incur a penalty of 3 marks
  • Work that is more than 25% over-length will be refused

Dissertation calendar

  • Week 6: dissertation proposal writing workshop
  • End of week 9 (30 Dec. 2018): proposal due
  • 2 meetings with your supervisor
  • End of week 9 (8 March 2019): Dissertation progress report due
  • 3 meetings with your supervisor
  • End of term 3: deadline for sending a draft to your supervisor.

Department of English


Recent PhD Dissertations

Terekhov, Jessica (September 2022) -- "On Wit in Relation to Self-Division"

Selinger, Liora (September 2022) -- "Romanticism, Childhood, and the Poetics of Explanation"

Lockhart, Isabel (September 2022) -- "Storytelling and the Subsurface: Indigenous Fiction, Extraction, and the Energetic Present"

Ashe, Nathan (April 2022) – "Narrative Energy: Physics and the Scientific Real in Victorian Literature”

Bartley, Scott H. (April 2022) – “Watch it closely: The Poetry and Poetics of Aesthetic Focus in The New Criticism and Middle Generation”

Mctar, Ali (November 2021) – “Fallen Father: John Milton, Antinomianism, and the Case Against Adam”

Chow, Janet (September 2021) – “Securing the Crisis: Race and the Poetics of Risk”

Thorpe, Katherine (September 2021) – “Protean Figures: Personified Abstractions from Milton’s Allegory to Wordsworth’s Psychology of the Poet”

Minnen, Jennifer (September 2021) – “The Second Science: Feminist Natural Inquiry in Nineteenth-Century British Literature”

Starkowski, Kristen (September 2021) – “Doorstep Moments: Close Encounters with Minor Characters in the Victorian Novel”

Rickard, Matthew (September 2021) – “Probability: A Literary History, 1479-1700”

Crandell, Catie (September 2021) – “Inkblot Mirrors: On the Metareferential Mode and 19th Century British Literature”

Clayton, J.Thomas (September 2021) – “The Reformation of Indifference: Adiaphora, Toleration, and English Literature in the Seventeenth Century”

Goldberg, Reuven L. (May 2021) – “I Changed My Sex! Pedagogy and the Trans Narrative”

Soong, Jennifer (May 2021) – “Poetic Forgetting”

Edmonds, Brittney M. (April 2021) – “Who’s Laughing Now? Black Affective Play and Formalist Innovation in Twenty-First Century black Literary Satire”

Azariah-Kribbs, Colin (April 2021) – “Mere Curiosity: Knowledge, Desire, and Peril in the British and Irish Gothic Novel, 1796-1820”

Pope, Stephanie (January 2021) – “Rethinking Renaissance Symbolism: Material Culture, Visual Signs, and Failure in Early Modern Literature, 1587-1644”

Kumar, Matthew (September 2020) – “The Poetics of Space and Sensation in Scotland and Kenya”

Bain, Kimberly (September 2020) – “On Black Breath”

Eisenberg, Mollie (September 2020) – “The Case of the Self-Conscious Detective Novel: Modernism, Metafiction, and the Terms of Literary Value”

Hori, Julia M. (September 2020) – “Restoring Empire: British Imperial Nostalgia, Colonial Space, and Violence since WWII”

Reade, Orlando (June 2020) – “Being a Lover of the World: Lyric Poetry and Political Disaffection after the English Civil War”

Mahoney, Cate (June 2020) – “Go on Your Nerve: Confidence in American Poetry, 1860-1960”

Ritger, Matthew (April 2020) – “Objects of Correction:  Literature and the Birth of Modern Punishment”

VanSant, Cameron (April 2020) – “Novel Subjects:  Nineteenth-Century Fiction and the Transformation of British Subjecthood”

Lennington, David (November 2019) – “Anglo-Saxon and Arabic Identity in the Early Middle Ages”

Marraccini, Miranda (September 2019) – “Feminist Types: Reading the Victoria Press”

Harlow, Lucy (June 2019) – “The Discomposed Mind”

Williamson, Andrew (June 2019) – “Nothing to Say:  Silence in Modernist American Poetry”

Adair, Carl (April 2019) – “Faithful Readings: Religion, Hermeneutics, and the Habits of Criticism”

Rogers, Hope (April 2019) – “Good Girls: Female Agency and Convention in the Nineteenth-Century British Novel”

Green, Elspeth (January 2019) – “Popular Science and Modernist Poetry”

Braun, Daniel (January 2019) – Kinds of Wrong: The Liberalization of Modern Poetry 1910-1960”

Rosen, Rebecca (November 2018) – “Making the body Speak: Anatomy, Autopsy and Testimony in Early America, 1639-1790”

Blank, Daniel (November 2018) – Shakespeare and the Spectacle of University Drama”

Case, Sarah (September 2018) – Increase of Issue: Poetry and Succession in Elizabethan England”

Kucik, Emanuela  (June 2018) – “Black Genocides and the Visibility Paradox in Post-Holocaust African American and African Literature”

Quinn, Megan  (June 2018) – “The Sensation of Language: Jane Austen, William Wordsworth, Mary Shelley”

McCarthy, Jesse D.  (June 2018) – “The Blue Period: Black Writing in the Early Cold War, 1945-1965

Johnson, Colette E.  (June 2018) – “The Foibles of Play: Three Case Studies on Play in the Interwar Years”

Gingrich, Brian P.  (June 2018) – “The Pace of Modern Fiction: A History of Narrative Movement in Modernity”

Marcus, Sara R.  (June 2018) – “Political Disappointment: A Partial History of a Feeling”

Parry, Rosalind A.  (April 2018) – “Remaking Nineteenth-Century Novels for the Twentieth Century”

Gibbons, Zoe  (January 2018) – “From Time to Time:  Narratives of Temporality in Early Modern England, 1610-1670”

Padilla, Javier  (September 2017) – “Modernist Poetry and the Poetics of Temporality:  Between Modernity and Coloniality”

Alvarado, Carolina (June 2017) – "Pouring Eastward: Editing American Regionalism, 1890-1940"

Gunaratne, Anjuli (May 2017) – "Tragic Resistance: Decolonization and Disappearance in Postcolonial Literature"

Glover, Eric (May 2017) – "By and About:  An Antiracist History of the Musicals and the Antimusicals of Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston"

Tuckman, Melissa (April 2017) – "Unnatural Feelings in Nineteenth-Century Poetry"

Eggan, Taylor (April 2017) – "The Ecological Uncanny: Estranging Literary Landscapes in Twentieth-Century Narrative Fiction"

Calver, Harriet (March 2017) – "Modern Fiction and Its Phantoms"

Gaubinger, Rachel (December 2016) – "Between Siblings: Form and Family in the Modern Novel"

Swartz, Kelly (December 2016) – "Maxims and the Mind: Sententiousness from Seventeenth-Century Science to the Eighteenth-Century Novel"

Robles, Francisco (June 2016) – “Migrant Modalities: Radical Democracy and Intersectional Praxis in American Literatures, 1923-1976”

Johnson, Daniel (June 2016) – “Visible Plots, Invisible Realms”

Bennett, Joshua (June 2016) – “Being Property Once Myself: In Pursuit of the Animal in 20th Century African American Literature”

Scranton, Roy (January 2016) – “The Trauma Hero and the Lost War: World War II, American Literature, and the Politics of Trauma, 1945-1975

Jacob, Priyanka (November 2015) – “Things That Linger: Secrets, Containers and Hoards in the Victorian Novel”

Evans, William (November 2015) – “The Fiction of Law in Shakespeare and Spenser”

Vasiliauskas, Emily (November 2015) – “Dead Letters: The Afterlife Before Religion”

Walker, Daniel (June 2015) – “Sociable Uncertainties: Literature and the Ethics of Indeterminacy in Eighteenth-Century Britain”

Reilly, Ariana (June 2015) – “Leave-Takings: Anti-Self-Consciousness and the Escapist Ends of the Victorian Marriage Plot”

Lerner, Ross (June 2015) – "Framing Fanaticism: Religion, Violence, and the Reformation Literature of Self-Annihilation”

Harrison, Matthew (June 2015) – "Tear Him for His Bad Verses: Poetic Value and Literary History in Early Modern England”

Krumholtz, Matthew (June 2015) – “Talking Points: American Dialogue in the Twentieth Century”

Dauber, Maayan (March 2015) – "The Pathos of Modernism: Henry James, Virginia Woolf, and Gertrude Stein (with a coda on J.M. Coetzee)”

Hostetter, Lyra (March 2015) – “Novel Errantry: An Annotated Edition of Horatio, of Holstein (1800)”

Sanford, Beatrice (January 2015) – “Love’s Perception: Nineteenth-Century Aesthetics of Attachment”

Chong, Kenneth (January 2015) – “Potential Theologies: Scholasticism and Middle English Literature”

Worsley, Amelia (September 2014) – “The Poetry of Loneliness from Romance to Romanticism”

Hurtado, Jules (June 2014) – “The Pornographer at the Crossroads: Sex, Realism and Experiment in the Contemporary English Novel”

Rutherford, James (June 2014) – "Irrational Actors: Literature and Logic in Early Modern England”

Wilde, Lisa (June 2014) – “English Numeracy and the Writing of New Worlds, 1543-1622”

Hyde, Emily (November 2013) – “A Way of Seeing: Modernism, Illustration, and Postcolonial Literature”

Ortiz, Ivan (September 2013) – “Romanticism and the Aesthetics of Modern Transport”

Aronowicz, Yaron (September 2013) – “Fascinated Moderns: The Attentions of Modern Fiction”

Wythoff, Grant (September 2013) – “Gadgetry: New Media and the Fictional Imagination”

Ramachandran, Anitha (September 2013) – "Recovering Global Women’s Travel Writings from the Modern Period: An Inquiry Into Genre and Narrative Agency”

Reuland, John (April 2013) – “The Self Unenclosed: A New Literary History of Pragmatism, 1890-1940”

Wasserman, Sarah (January 2013) – “Material Losses: Urban Ephemera in Contemporary American Literature and Culture”

Kastner, Tal (November 2012) – "The Boilerplate of Everything and the Ideal of Agreement in American Law and Literature"

Labella, John (October 2012) – "Lyric Hemisphere: Latin America in United States Poetry, 1927-1981"

Kindley, Evan (September 2012) – "Critics and Connoisseurs: Poet-Critics and the Administration of Modernism"

Smith, Ellen (September 2012) – "Writing Native: The Aboriginal in Australian Cultural Nationalism 1927-1945"

Werlin, Julianne (September 2012) – "The Impossible Probable: Modeling Utopia in Early Modern England"

Posmentier, Sonya (May 2012) – "Cultivation and Catastrophe:  Forms of Nature in Twentieth-Century Poetry of the Black Diaspora"

Alfano, Veronica (September 2011) – “The Lyric in Victorian Memory”

Foltz, Jonathan (September 2011) – “Modernism and the Narrative Cultures of Film”

Coghlan, J. Michelle (September 2011) – “Revolution’s Afterlife; The Paris Commune in American Cultural Memory, 1871-1933”

Christoff, Alicia (September 2011) – “Novel Feeling”

Shin, Jacqueline (August 2011) – “Picturing Repose: Between the Acts of British Modernism”

Ebrahim, Parween (August 2011) – “Outcasts and Inheritors: The Ishmael Ethos in American Culture, 1776-1917”

Reckson, Lindsay (August 2011) – “Realist Ecstasy: Enthusiasm in American Literature 1886 - 1938"

Londe, Gregory (June 2011) – “Enduring Modernism: Forms of Surviving Location in the 20th Century Long Poem”

Brown, Adrienne (June 2011) – “Reading Between the Skylines: The Skyscraper in American Modernism”

Russell, David (June 2011) – “A Literary History of Tact: Sociability, Aesthetic Liberalism and the Essay Form in Nineteenth-Century Britain”

Hostetter, Aaron (December 2010) – "The Politics of Eating and Cooking in Medieval English Romance"

Moshenska, Joseph (November 2010) – " 'Feeling Pleasures': The Sense of Touch in Renaissance England"

Walker, Casey (September 2010) – "The City Inside: Intimacy and Urbanity in Henry James, Marcel Proust and Virginia Woolf"

Rackin, Ethel (August 2010) – "Ornamentation and Essence in Modernist Poetry"

Noble, Mary (August 2010) – "Primitive Marriage: Anthropology and Nineteenth-Century Fiction"

Fox, Renee (August 2010) – "Necromantic Victorians: Reanimation, History and the Politics of Literary Innovation, 1868-1903"

Hopper, Briallen (June 2010) – “Feeling Right in American Reform Culture”

Lee, Wendy (June 2010) -- "Failures of Feeling in the British Novel from Richardson to Eliot"

Moyer, James (March 2010) – "The Passion of Abolitionism: How Slave Martyrdom Obscures Slave Labor”

Forbes, Erin (September 2009) – “Genius of Deep Crime:  Literature, Enslavement and the American Criminal”

Crawforth, Hannah (September 2009) – “The Politics and Poetics of Etymology in Early Modern Literature”

Elliott, Danielle (April 2009) – "Sea of Bones: The Middle Passage in Contemporary Poetry of the Black Atlantic”

Yu, Wesley (April 2009) – “Romance Logic: The Argument of Vernacular Verse in the Scholastic Middle Ages”

Cervantes, Gabriel (April 2009) – "Genres of Correction: Anglophone Literature and the Colonial Turn in Penal Law 1722-1804”

Rosinberg, Erwin (January 2009) – "A Further Conjunction: The Couple and Its Worlds in Modern British Fiction”

Walsh, Keri (January 2009) – "Antigone in Modernism: Classicism, Feminism, and Theatres of Protest”

Heald, Abigail (January 2009) – “Tears for Dido: A Renaissance Poetics of Feeling”

Bellin, Roger (January 2009) – "Argument: The American Transcendentalists and Disputatious Reason”

Ellis, Nadia (November 2008) – "Colonial Affections: Formulations of Intimacy Between England and the Caribbean, 1930-1963”

Baskin, Jason (November 2008) – “Embodying Experience: Romanticism and Social Life in the Twentieth Century”

Barrett, Jennifer-Kate (September 2008) – “ ‘So Written to Aftertimes’: Renaissance England’s Poetics of Futurity”

Moss, Daniel (September 2008) – “Renaissance Ovids: The Metamorphosis of Allusion in Late Elizabethan England”

Rainof, Rebecca (September 2008) – “Purgatory and Fictions of Maturity: From Newman to Woolf”

Darznik, Jasmin (November 2007) – “Writing Outside the Veil: Literature by Women of the Iranian Diaspora”

Bugg, John (September 2007) – “Gagging Acts: The Trials of British Romanticism”

Matson, John (September 2007) – “Marking Twain: Mechanized Composition and Medial Subjectivity in the Twain Era”

Neel, Alexandra (September 2007) – “The Writing of Ice: The Literature and Photography of Polar Regions”

Smith-Browne, Stephanie (September 2007) – “Gothic and the Pacific Voyage: Patriotism, Romance and Savagery in South Seas Travels and the Utopia of the Terra Australis”

Bystrom, Kerry (June 2007) – “Orphans and Origins: Family, Memory, and Nation in Argentina and South Africa”

Ards, Angela (June 2007) – “Affirmative Acts: Political Piety in African American Women’s Contemporary Autobiography”

Cragwall, Jasper (June 2007) – “Lake Methodism”

Ball, David (June 2007) – “False Starts: The Rhetoric of Failure and the Making of American Modernism, 1850-1950”

Ramdass, Harold (June 2007) – “Miswriting Tragedy: Genealogy, History and Orthography in the Canterbury Tales, Fragment I”

Lilley, James (June 2007) – “Common Things: Transatlantic Romance and the Aesthetics of Belonging, 1764-1840”

Noble, Mary (March 2007) – “Primitive Marriage: Anthropology and Nineteenth-Century Fiction”

Passannante, Gerard (January 2007) – “The Lucretian Renaissance: Ancient Poetry and Humanism in an Age of Science”

Tessone, Natasha (November 2006) – “The Fiction of Inheritance: Familial, Cultural, and National Legacies in the Irish and Scottish Novel”

Horrocks, Ingrid (September 2006) – “Reluctant Wanderers, Mobile Feelings: Moving Figures in Eighteenth-Century Literature”

Bender, Abby (June 2006) – “Out of Egypt and into bondage: Exodus in the Irish National Imagination”

Johnson, Hannah (June 2006) – “The Medieval Limit: Historiography, Ethics, Culture”

Horowitz, Evan (January 2006) – “The Writing of Modern Life”

White, Gillian (November 2005) – “ ‘We Do Not Say Ourselves Like That in Poems’: The Poetics of Contingency in Wallace Stevens and Elizabeth Bishop

Baudot, Laura (September 2005) – “Looking at Nothing: Literary Vacuity in the Long Eighteenth Century”

Hicks, Kevin (September 2005) – “Acts of Recovery: American Antebellum Fictions”

Stern, Kimberly (September 2005) – “The Victorian Sibyl: Women Reviewers and the Reinvention of Critical Tradition”

Nardi, Steven (May 2005) – “Automatic Aesthetics: Race, Technology, and Poetics in the Harlem Renaissance and American New Poetry”

Sayeau, Michael (May 2005) – “Everyday: Literature, Modernity, and Time”

Cooper, Lawrence (April 2005) – “Gothic Realities: The Emergence of Cultural Forms Through Representations of the Unreal”

Betjemann, Peter (November 2004) – “Talking Shop: Craft and Design in Hawthorne, James, and Wharton”

Forbes, Aileen (November 2004) – “Passion Play: Theaters of Romantic Emotion”

Keeley, Howard (November 2004) – “Beyond Big House and Cabin: Dwelling Politically in Modern Irish Literature”

Machlan, Elizabeth (November 2004) – “Panic Rooms: Architecture and Anxiety in New York Stories from 1900 to 9/11”

McDowell, Demetrius (November 2004) – “Hawthorne, James, and the Pressures of the Literary Marketplace”

Waldron, Jennifer (November 2004) – “Eloquence of the Body: Aesthetics, Theology, and English Renaissance Theater”

Thesis Proposal Sample Archive

Thesis proposals.

Examples of thesis proposals are included here in PDF format. Copies of theses completed in the M.A. in English & Writing Studies program can be accessed through the Pfau Library's CSUSB ScholarWorks database.

Sample Thesis Proposal Archive
Concentration Thesis Type
Applied Linguistics/TESL
Applied Linguistics/TESL
Applied Linguistics/TESL
Composition & Rhetoric
Composition & Rhetoric

Because the Public & Professional Writing concentration is so new, we do not have a sample proposal for it at this time. Please work closely with your readers who can guide you in its construction.

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  • Knowledge Base
  • Dissertation

Prize-Winning Thesis and Dissertation Examples

Published on September 9, 2022 by Tegan George . Revised on July 18, 2023.

It can be difficult to know where to start when writing your thesis or dissertation . One way to come up with some ideas or maybe even combat writer’s block is to check out previous work done by other students on a similar thesis or dissertation topic to yours.

This article collects a list of undergraduate, master’s, and PhD theses and dissertations that have won prizes for their high-quality research.

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Table of contents

Award-winning undergraduate theses, award-winning master’s theses, award-winning ph.d. dissertations, other interesting articles.

University : University of Pennsylvania Faculty : History Author : Suchait Kahlon Award : 2021 Hilary Conroy Prize for Best Honors Thesis in World History Title : “Abolition, Africans, and Abstraction: the Influence of the “Noble Savage” on British and French Antislavery Thought, 1787-1807”

University : Columbia University Faculty : History Author : Julien Saint Reiman Award : 2018 Charles A. Beard Senior Thesis Prize Title : “A Starving Man Helping Another Starving Man”: UNRRA, India, and the Genesis of Global Relief, 1943-1947

University: University College London Faculty: Geography Author: Anna Knowles-Smith Award:  2017 Royal Geographical Society Undergraduate Dissertation Prize Title:  Refugees and theatre: an exploration of the basis of self-representation

University: University of Washington Faculty:  Computer Science & Engineering Author: Nick J. Martindell Award: 2014 Best Senior Thesis Award Title:  DCDN: Distributed content delivery for the modern web

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University:  University of Edinburgh Faculty:  Informatics Author:  Christopher Sipola Award:  2018 Social Responsibility & Sustainability Dissertation Prize Title:  Summarizing electricity usage with a neural network

University:  University of Ottawa Faculty:  Education Author:  Matthew Brillinger Award:  2017 Commission on Graduate Studies in the Humanities Prize Title:  Educational Park Planning in Berkeley, California, 1965-1968

University:  University of Ottawa Faculty: Social Sciences Author:  Heather Martin Award:  2015 Joseph De Koninck Prize Title:  An Analysis of Sexual Assault Support Services for Women who have a Developmental Disability

University : University of Ottawa Faculty : Physics Author : Guillaume Thekkadath Award : 2017 Commission on Graduate Studies in the Sciences Prize Title : Joint measurements of complementary properties of quantum systems

University:  London School of Economics Faculty: International Development Author: Lajos Kossuth Award:  2016 Winner of the Prize for Best Overall Performance Title:  Shiny Happy People: A study of the effects income relative to a reference group exerts on life satisfaction

University : Stanford University Faculty : English Author : Nathan Wainstein Award : 2021 Alden Prize Title : “Unformed Art: Bad Writing in the Modernist Novel”

University : University of Massachusetts at Amherst Faculty : Molecular and Cellular Biology Author : Nils Pilotte Award : 2021 Byron Prize for Best Ph.D. Dissertation Title : “Improved Molecular Diagnostics for Soil-Transmitted Molecular Diagnostics for Soil-Transmitted Helminths”

University:  Utrecht University Faculty:  Linguistics Author:  Hans Rutger Bosker Award: 2014 AVT/Anéla Dissertation Prize Title:  The processing and evaluation of fluency in native and non-native speech

University: California Institute of Technology Faculty: Physics Author: Michael P. Mendenhall Award: 2015 Dissertation Award in Nuclear Physics Title: Measurement of the neutron beta decay asymmetry using ultracold neutrons

University:  Stanford University Faculty: Management Science and Engineering Author:  Shayan O. Gharan Award:  Doctoral Dissertation Award 2013 Title:   New Rounding Techniques for the Design and Analysis of Approximation Algorithms

University: University of Minnesota Faculty: Chemical Engineering Author: Eric A. Vandre Award:  2014 Andreas Acrivos Dissertation Award in Fluid Dynamics Title: Onset of Dynamics Wetting Failure: The Mechanics of High-speed Fluid Displacement

University: Erasmus University Rotterdam Faculty: Marketing Author: Ezgi Akpinar Award: McKinsey Marketing Dissertation Award 2014 Title: Consumer Information Sharing: Understanding Psychological Drivers of Social Transmission

University: University of Washington Faculty: Computer Science & Engineering Author: Keith N. Snavely Award:  2009 Doctoral Dissertation Award Title: Scene Reconstruction and Visualization from Internet Photo Collections

University:  University of Ottawa Faculty:  Social Work Author:  Susannah Taylor Award: 2018 Joseph De Koninck Prize Title:  Effacing and Obscuring Autonomy: the Effects of Structural Violence on the Transition to Adulthood of Street Involved Youth

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Department of Comparative Literature

You are here, recent dissertations in comparative literature.

Dissertations in Comparative Literature have taken on vast number of topics and ranged across various languages, literatures, historical periods and theoretical perspectives. The department seeks to help each student craft a unique project and find the resources across the university to support and enrich her chosen field of study. The excellence of student dissertations has been recognized by several prizes, both within Yale and by the American Comparative Literature Association.

2012 – Present

Student Name Dissertation Title Year Advisors
Stern, Lindsay Personhood: Literary Visions of a Legal Fiction 2023

Jesus Velasco

Rudiger Campe

Todorovic, Nebojsa Tragedies of Disintegration: Balkanizing Greco-Roman Antiquity 2023

Emily Greenwood Milne

Moira Fradinger

Abazon, Lital Speaking Sovereignty: The Plight of Multilingual Literature in Independent Israel, Morocco, and Algeria 2023

Hannan Hever

Jill Jarvis

Huang, Honglan Reading as Performance: Theatrical Books From Tristram Shandy to Artists’ Books for Children 2023 Katie Trumpener
Peng, Hsin-Yuan Cinematic Meteorology: Aesthetics and Epistemology of Weather Images 2023

Aaron Gerow

John Peters

Sidorenko, Ksenia Modernity’s Others: Marginality, Mass Culture, and the Early Comic Strip in the US 2023

Katie Trumpener

Marta Figlerowicz

Hamilton, Ted Imagining a Crisis: Human-Environmental Relations in North and South American Law and Literature 2022

Michael Warner

Moira Fradinger

Lee, Xavier Nonhistory: Slavery and the Black Historical Imagination 2022 Marta Figlerowicz
Suther, Jensen Spirit Disfigured: The Persistence of Freedom in the Modernist Novel 2022 Martin Hagglund
Baena, Victoria The Novel’s Lost Illusions: Time, Knowledge, and Narrative in the Provinces, 1800-1933 2021

Katie Trumpener

Maurice Samuels

Brunazzo, Alessandro Conjuring People: Pasolini’s Specters and the Global South 2021

Millicent Marcus

Dudley Andrew

Gubbins, Vanessa The Poem and Social Form: Making a People Out of a Poem in Peru and Germany 2021

Moira Fradinger

Paul North

Hirschfeld-Kroen, Leana Rise of the Modern Mediatrix: The Feminization of Media and Mediating Labor, 1865-1945 2021

Katie Trumpener

Charles Musser

Velez Valencia, Camila Craft and Storytelling: Romance and Reality in Joseph Conrad and Gabriel García Márquez 2021

Moira Fradinger

David Bromwich

Sheidaee, Iraj In Between Dār Al-Islām and the ‘Lands of the Christians’: Three Christian Arabic Travel Narratives From the Early Modern/Ottoman Period (Mid-17th-Early18th Centuries)  2021 Creswell, Robyn
Tolstoy, Andrey Where Do We Go When We Go Off-the-Grid? 2021

Francesco Casetti

Charles Musser

Fox, Catherine Christophe’s Ghost: The Making and Unmaking of Tragedy in Post-Revolutionary Haiti 2020

Marta Figlerowicz

Emily Greenwood

Piňos, Václav Haeckel’s Feral Embryo: Animality and Personal Formation in Western Origin Myths from Milton to Golding 2020

Rüdiger Campe

Marta Figlerowicz

Yovel, Noemi Confession and the German and American Novel: Intimate Talk, Violence and Last Confession 2019

Rüdiger Campe

Katie Trumpener

Mathew, Shaj

Wandering Comparisons: Global Genealogies of Flânerie and Modernity 2019

Marta Figlerowicz

Amy Hungerford

Tartici, Ayten

Adagios of Form 2019

Amy Hungerford

Carol Jacobs

Ruth Yeazell

Kivrak, Pelin Imperfect Cosmopolitans: Representations of Responsibility and Hospitality in Contemporary Middle Eastern Literatures, Film, and Art 2019

Katerina Clark

Martin Hägglund

Shpolberg, Masha Labor in Late Socialism: the Cinema of Polish Workers’ Unrest 1968-1981 2019

Katie Trumpener

Charles Musser

Powers, Julia Brazil’s Mystical Realists: Hilda Hilst, João Guimarães Rosa and Clarice Lispector in the 1960s 2018

David Quint

K. David Jackson

Eklund, Craig The Imagination in Proust, Joyce, and Beckett 2018 Martin Hägglund
Forsberg, Soren An Alien Point of View: Singular Experience and Literary Form 2018 Amy Hungerford;     Katie Trumpener
Weigel, Moira Animals, Media, and Modernity: Prehistories of the Posthuman 2017

Dudley Andrew;

Katie Trumpener

Carper, David Imagines historiarum: Renaissance Epic and the Development of Historical Thought  2017 David Quint
Fairfax, Daniel Politics, Aesthetics, Ontology: The Theoretical Legacy of Cahiers du cinema (1968-1973)  2017 Dudley Andrew
Li, Yukai Being late and being mistaken in the Homeric tradition 2017 Egbert Bakker;
Moira Fradinger
Nalencz, Leonard The Lives of Astyanax: Romance and Recovery in Ariosto, Spenser, and Milton 2017 David Quint
Chreiteh, Alexandra Fantastice Cohabitations: Magical Realism in Arabic and Hebrew and the Politics of Aesthetics 2016 Robyn Creswell
Harper, Elizabeth The Lost Children of Tragedy from Euripides to Racine 2016 David Quint
Piazza, Sarah Performing the Novel and Reading the Romantic Song: Popular Music and Metafiction in Tres tristes tigres, Sirena Selena vestida de pena, La importancia de llamarse Daniel Santos, Le cahier de romances, and Cien botellas en una pared  2016 David Quint;
Anibal González Pérez
Sinsky, Carolyn The Muse of Influence: Reading Russian Fiction in Britain, 1793 -1941  2016 Katie Trumpener
Sperling, Joshua Realism, Modernism and Commitment in the Work of John Berger: 1952-76  2016 Dudley Andrew
Younger, Neil D’apres le Roman: Cross-Channel Theatrical Adaptations from Richardson to Scott  2016 Thomas Kavanaugh;
Katie Trumpener
Bardi, Ariel Cleansing, Constructing, and Curating the State: India/Pakistan ‘47 and Israel/Palestine ‘48 2015 Hannan Hever
Kelbert, Eugenia Acquiring a Second Language Literature: Patterns in Translingual Writing from Modernism to the Moderns 2015

Vladimir Alexandrov;

Haun Saussy

Pfeifer, Annie To the Collector Belong the Spoils: The Transformation of Modernist Practices of Collecting 2015 Rüdiger Campe;Katie Trumpener
Roszak, Suzanne Triangular Diaspora and Social Resistance in the New American Literature 2015 Wai Chee Dimock;
Katie Trumpener
Dahlberg, Leif “Spacing Law and Politics: The constitution and representation of judicial places and juridicial spaces in law, literature and political philosophy in the works from Greek antiquity to the present” 2014 Carol Jacobs;
Haun Saussy
Weisberg, Margaret “Inventing the Desert and the Jungle: Creating identity through landscape in African and European culture” 2014 Christopher Miller;
Katie Trumpener
Wiedenfeld, Grant “Elastic Esthetics: A Comparative Media Approach to Modernist Literature and Cinema” 2014 Haun Saussy;
Francesco Casetti
Avrekh, Mikhail “Romantic Geographic and the (Re)invention of the Provinces in the Realist Novel” 2013

Katerina Clark

Maurice Samuels

Klemann, Heather “Developing Fictions: Childhood, Children’s Books, and the Novel” 2013 Jill Campbell;
Katie Trumpener
Mcmanus, Ann-Marie “Unfinished Awakenings: Afterlives of the Nahda and Postcolonialism in Arabic Literature 1894–2008” 2013 Haun Saussy;
Edwige Talbayev
Wolff, Spencer “The Darker Sides of Dignity: Freedom of Speech in the Wake of Authoritarian Collapse” 2013 Haun Saussy
Bloch, Elina “ ‘Unconfessed Confessions’: Strategies of (Not) Telling in Nineteenth-Century Narratives” 2012 Margaret Homans;
Katie Trumpener
Devecka, Martin “Athens, Rome, Tenochtitlan: A Historical Sociology of Ruins” 2012 Emily Greenwood
Gal, Noam “Fictional Inhumanities: Wartime Animals and Personification” 2012 Carol Jacobs;
Katie Trumpener
Jackson, Jeanne-Marie “Close to Home: Forms of Isolation in the Postcolonial Province” 2012 Katerina Clark;
Justin Neuman
Odnopozova, Dina “Russian-Argentine Literary Exchanges” 2012 Katerina Clark;
Moira Fradinger
Stevic, Aleksandar “Falling Short: Failure, Passivity, and the Crisis of Self-Fashioning in the European Novel, 1830–1927” 2012 Katie Trumpener;
Maurice Samuels
Student Name Dissertation Title Year Advisors
Cramer, Michael “Blackboard Cinema: Learning from the Pedagogical Art Film” 2011 Dudley Andrew;
John MacKay
Djagalov, Rossen “The People’s Republic of Letters: Twoards a Media History of Twentieth-Century Socialist Internationalism” 2011 Katerina Clark;
Michael Denning
Esposito, Stefan “The Pathological Revolution: Romanticism and Metaphors of Disease” 2011 Paul Fry;
Carol Jacobs
Feldman, Daniel “Unrepeatable: Fiction After Atrocity” 2011

Katie Trumpener

Benjamin Harshav

Jeong, Seung-hoon “Cinematic Interfaces: Retheorizing Apparatus, Image, Subjectivity” 2011 Thomas Elsaesser;
Dudley Andrew
Lienau, Annette “Comparative Literature in the Spirit of Bandung: Script Change, Language Choice, and Ideology in African and Asian Literatures (Senegal & Indonesia)” 2011 Christopher Miller
Coker, William “Romantic Exteriority: The Construction of Literature in Rousseau, Jean Paul, and P.B. Shelley” 2010 Cyrus Hamlin;
Paul Fry
Fan, Victor “Football Meets Opium: A Topological Study of Political Violence, Sovereignty, and Cinema Archaeology Between ‘England’ and ‘China’ ” 2010 Haun Saussy;
Dudley Andrew
Johnson, Rebecca “A History of the Novel in Translation: Cosmopolitan Tales in English and Arabic, 1729–1859” 2010 Katie Trumpener
Parfitt, Alexandra “Immoral Lessons: Education and Novel in Nineteenth-Century France” 2010 Peter Brooks;
Maurice Samuels
Xie, Wei “Female Cross-Dressing in Chinese Opera and Cinema” 2010 Dudley Andrew
Flynn, Catherine “Street Things: Transformations of Experience in the Modern City” 2009 Carol Jacobs;
Katie Trumpener
Lovejoy, Alice “The Army and the Avant-Garde: Art Cinema in the Czechoslovak Military, 1951–1971” 2009 Katie Trumpener
Rhoads, Bonita “Frontiers of Privacy: The Domestic Enterprise of Modern Fiction” 2009 Peter Brooks
Rubini, Rocco “Renaissance Humanism and Postmodernity: A Rhetorical History” 2009 David Quint;
Giuseppe Mazzotta
Chaudhuri, Pramit “Themoacy: Ethical Criticism and the Struggle for Authority in Epic and Tragedy” 2008 Susanna Braund;
David Quint
Lisi, Leonardo “Aesthetics of Dependency: Early Modernism and the Struggle against Idealism in Kierkegaard Ibsen, and Henry James” 2008 Paul Fry;
Pericles Lewis
Weiner, Allison “Refusals of Mastery: Ethical Encounters in Henry James and Maurice Blanchot” 2008 Wai Chee Dimock;
Carol Jacobs
Hafiz, Hiba “The Novel and the Ancien Régime: Britain, France, and the Rise of the Novel in the Seventeenth Century” 2007 Peter Brooks;
Katie Trumpener
Illibruck, Helmut “Figurations of Nostalgia: From the Pre-Enlightenment to Romanticism and Beyond” 2007 Paul Fry
Kern, Anne Marie “The Sacred Made Material: Instances of Game and Play in Interwar Europe” 2007 Dudley Andrew
Boes, Tobias “The Syncopated Self: Crises of Historical Experience in the Modernist ” 2006 Carol Jacobs;
Pericles Lewis
Boyer, Patricio “Empire and American Visions of the Humane” 2006 Rolena Adorno;
Roberto Gonález Echevarría
Chang, Eugene “Disaster and Hope: A Study of Walter Benjamin and Maurice Blanchot” 2006 Shoshana Felman
Mannheimer, Katherine “ ‘The Scope in Ev’ry Page’: Eighteenth-Century Satire as a Mode of Vision” 2006 Jill Campbell;
Katie Trumpener
Solovieva, Olga “A Discourse Apart: The Body of Christ and the Practice of Cultural Subversion” 2006 Haun Saussy
van den Berg, Christopher “The Social Aesthetics of Tacitus’ ” 2006 Susanna Braund;
David Quint
Anderson, Jerome B. “New World Romance and Authorship” 2005 Vera Kutzinski;
Roberto Gonález Echevarría
Enjuto Rangel, Cecilia “Cities in Ruins in Modern Poetry” 2005 Roberto Gonález Echevarría
Kliger, Ilya “Truth, Time and the Novel: Verdiction in Tolstoy, Dostoevsky and Balzac” 2005 Peter Brooks;
Michael Holquist
Kolb, Martina “Journeys of Desire: Liguria as Literary Landscape in Eugenio Montale, Ezra Pound, and Gottfried Benn” 2005 Harold Bloom;
Peter Brooks
Matz, Aaron “Satire in the Age of Realism, 1860–1910” 2005 Peter Brooks;
Ruth Bernard Yeazell
Student Name Dissertation Title Year Advisors
Barrenechea, Antonio “Telluric Monstrosity in the Americas: The Encyclopedic Taxonomies of Fuentes, Melville, and Pynchon” 2004 Roberto Gonález Echevarría;
Vera Kutzinski
Buchenau, Stefanie “The Art of Invention and the Invention of Art. Logic, Rhetoric, and Aesthetics in the Early German Enlightenment” 2004 A. Wood;
G. Raulet
Friedman, Daniel “Pedagogies of Resistance” 2004 Shoshana Felman
Raff, Sarah “Erotics of Instruction: Jane Austen and the Generalizing Novel” 2004 Peter Brooks
Steiner, Lina “The Poetics of Maturity: Autonomy and Aesthetic Education in Byron, Pushkin, and Stendhal” 2004 Peter Brooks;
Michael Holquist
Chesney, Duncan “Signs of Aristocracy in : Proust and the Salon from Mme de Remouillet to Mme de Guermantes” 2003 Peter Brooks;
Pericles Lewis
Farbman, Herschel “Dreaming, Writing, and Restlessness in Freud, Blanchot, Beckett, and Joyce” 2003 Paul Fry
Fradinger, Moira “Radical Evil: Literary Visions of Political Origins in Sophocles, Sade and Vargas Llosa” 2003 Roberto Gonález Echevarría;
Shoshana Felman
Gsoels-Lorensen, Jutta “Epitaphic Remembrance: Representing a Catastrophic Past in Second Generation Texts” 2003 Vilashini Cooppan;
Benjamin Harshav
Horsman, Yasco “Theatres of Justice: Judging, Staging, and Working Through in Arendt, Brecht and Delbo” 2003 Shoshana Felman
Katsaros, Laure “A Kaleidoscope in the Midst of the Crowds: Poetry and the City in Walt Whitman’s and Charles Baudelaire’s ” 2003 Shoshana Felman
Reichman, Ravit “Taking Care: Injury and Responsibility in Literature and Law” 2003 Peter Brooks;
Shoshana Felman
Sun, Emily “Literature and Impersonality: Keats, Flaubert, and the Crisis of the Author” 2003 Shoshana Felman;
Paul Fry
Katsaros, George “Tragedy, Catharsis, and Reason: An Essay on the Idea of the Tragic” 2002 Shoshana Felman
Mirabile, Michael “From Inscription to Performance: The Rhetoric of Self-Enclosure in the Modern Novel” 2002 Peter Brooks
Alphandary, Idit “The Subject of Autonomy and Fellowship in: Guy de Maupassant, D.W. Winnicott and Joseph Conrad” 2001 Peter Brooks
Bateman, Chimène “Addresses of Desire: Literary Innivation and the Female Destinataire in Medieval and Renaissance Literature” 2001 Edwin Duval
David Quint
Butler, Henry E. “Writing and Vampires in the Works of Lautréamont, Bram Stoker, Daniel Paul Schreber, and Fritz Lang” 2001 Michael Holquist;
David Quint
Duerfahrd, Lance “The Work of Poverty: the Minimum in Samuel Beckett and Alain Resnais” 2001 Shoshana Felman;
Susan Blood
Hunt, Philippe “Spectres du réel: Déliminations du Réalism Magique” 2001 Paolo Valesio
Liu, Haoming “Transformation of Childhood Experience: Rainer Maria Rilke and Fei Ming” 2001 Cyrus Hamlin
Peretz, Eyal “Literature and the Enigma of Power: A Reading of Moby-Dick” 2001 Shoshana Felman
Pickford, Henry “The Sense of Semblance: Modern German and Russian Literature after Adorno” 2001 Karsten Harries;
Winfried Menninghaus;
William M. Todd III
von Zastrow, Claus “The Ground of Our Beseeching: The Guiding Sense of Place in German and English Elegiac Poetry” 2001 Paul Fry;
Cyrus Hamlin;
Winfried Menninghaus
Wilson, Emily “Why Do I Overlive? Greek, Latin and English Tragic Survival” 2001 Victor Bers;
David Quint
Lintz, Edward M. “A Curie for Poetry? Nuclear Disintegration and Gertrude Stein’s Modernist Reception” 2000 Michael Holquist;
Tyrus Miller
Anderson, Matthew D. “Modernity and the Example of Poetry: Readings in Baudelaire, Verlaine and Ashbery” 1999 Geoffrey Hartman
Bernstein, Jonathan “Parataxis in Heraclitus, Höderlin, Mayakovsky” 1999 Benjamin Harshav;
Winfried Menninghaus
Pollard, Tanya L. “Dangerous Remedies: Poison and Theatre in the English Renaissance” 1999 David Quint
Freeland, Natalka “Trash fiction: The Victorian Novel and the Rise of Disposable Culture” 1998 Peter Brooks;
Ruth Bernard Yeazell
Hood, Carra “Reading the News: Activism, Authority, Audience” 1998 Hazel Carby
MacKay, John “Placing the Lyric: An Essay on Poetry and Community 1998 Geoffrey Hartman; Tomas Venclova
Schuller, Mortiz “ ‘Watching the Self’: The Mirror of Self-Knowledge in Ancient Literature” 1998 Heinrich von Staden;
Gordon Williams
Stark, Jared “Beyond Words: Suicide and Modern Narrative” 1998 Cathy Caruth;
Geoffrey Hartman

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  1. Understanding What a Thesis Proposal is and How to Write it

    english literature thesis proposal

  2. English literature thesis proposal sample

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  3. How To Write Dissertation Title Page in 2024

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  4. English literature dissertation proposal sample

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  5. 45 Perfect Thesis Statement Templates (+ Examples) ᐅ TemplateLab

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  6. 10+ Thesis Proposal Templates

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  1. Literature Review Template for Thesis/Proposal

  2. IB ENGLISH: Thesis Workshop

  3. Introduction to Thesis Proposal Seminar Presentation

  4. Thesis Proposal Writing Guideline -1

  5. IB English A: Paper 2 Start to Finish Video #5



  1. PDF Research Proposal for a PhD thesis in English Literature

    Research Proposal for a PhD thesis in English Literature. Katherine Eve Bone. Provisional Title: Visual Perception and the Visual Imagination in the Poetry of Jo Shapcott, Selima Hill and Lavinia Greenlaw. In Edward Larrissy's Reading Twentieth Century Poetry: The Language of Gender and Objects, only two female poets, Marianne Moore and Sylvia ...

  2. Writing a research proposal for the PhD in English Literature

    The two elements of an application that are most useful to us when we consider a candidate for the PhD in English Literature are the sample of written work and the research proposal. You will probably choose your sample of written work from an already-completed undergraduate or masters-level dissertation or term-paper.

  3. How to Write a Research Proposal

    Academics often have to write research proposals to get funding for their projects. As a student, you might have to write a research proposal as part of a grad school application, or prior to starting your thesis or dissertation.

  4. Faculty of English

    An MPhil research proposal should be 500 words long, while a PhD proposal should be 800 words long. It needs to give those assessing your application an impression of the strength and originality of your proposed research, and its potential to make a contribution to knowledge. It should be written in clear, jargon-free prose. Grammatical mistakes and typographical errors give a very bad ...

  5. Sample dissertation proposal

    Sample dissertation proposal. Below is an example of a successful MA dissertation proposal. Note particularly the robust referencing, and the way in which the author has already done preparatory work in the field so that clear areas of critical enquiry have already been formulated. Modernist Poetics and the Acquisition of the Other Tongue.

  6. Ph.D. Dissertation Proposal Guidelines

    In the English Department, the Dissertation Proposal is submitted for review by the student's entire dissertation committee once the written and oral comprehensive exams are completed. The student meets with the committee for the purpose of discussing the proposal and the first stages of the dissertation. Then, all copies of the thesis ...


    2.3 Requirements of a Proposal. In order to achieve its purpose, a thesis proposal must fulfil the following general requirements: • Establish a context for your research and demonstrate the need for it. • Show that your study will meet this need, and how it will meet this need, i.e. the method you will use.

  8. PDF English Literature Dissertation Handbook 2018-19

    In writing your dissertation, you will draw upon all the skills you have been developing since you started studying English Literature at University - reading critically, analysing arguments, assessing evidence, and writing effectively and elegantly.

  9. How to Write a Dissertation Proposal

    Learn how to write a dissertation proposal that outlines your research question, methodology, and implications with this step-by-step guide.

  10. PDF Applications for PhD/MPhil in English Literature Your research proposal

    You will probably choose your sample of written work from an already-completed undergraduate or masters-level dissertation or term-paper. Your research proposal will be something new. It will describe the project that you want to complete for the award of the MPhil or PhD. Take your time in composing your research proposal, and consider carefully the requirements outlined below. Your research ...

  11. How to Write a Dissertation or Thesis Proposal

    When starting your thesis or dissertation process, one of the first requirements is a research proposal or a prospectus. It describes what or who you want to examine, delving into why, when, where, and how you will do so, stemming from your research question and a relevant topic.

  12. PhD research proposal guidelines

    PhD research proposal guidelines. Writing a thesis is a personal journey, and in English there is significant leeway in how you approach your work. We have put together a set of guidelines for putting together a proposal. It may be that, in consultation with your supervisor, you decide that aspects of this outline do not best facilitate a ...

  13. PDF Microsoft Word

    Advice on Preparing a Research Proposal for a PhD Thesis in English. To be taken on as a PhD student, it is usually assumed that you will already have completed an MA in a relevant subject. This means that you will already have experience of writing a dissertation of between 10,000 and 20,000 words. The possession of an MA indicates (a) that ...

  14. Thesis Proposal Examples

    Thesis Proposal Examples. The Honors Undergraduate Thesis program requires students to submit a research proposal to the Office of Honors Research prior to advancing to the Thesis semester. Generally, a scientific research proposal will include a brief introduction to the research topic, a literature review, and a methodology that will explain ...

  15. Dissertation & Thesis Outline

    A thesis or dissertation outline is one of the most critical early steps in your writing process. It helps you to lay out and organize your ideas and can provide you with a roadmap for deciding the specifics of your dissertation topic and showcasing its relevance to your field.

  16. MA in English Literature Dissertation

    The MA dissertation requires students to undertake and complete a sustained research project of 16,000 words on a topic of special interest. TERM 1: Writing your proposal. Dissertation proposals - of 500-words in length - must be submitted to the department by noon on Friday 30th December 2018 (week 9 of term 1).

  17. Recent PhD Dissertations

    Recent PhD Dissertations. Terekhov, Jessica (September 2022) -- "On Wit in Relation to Self-Division". Selinger, Liora (September 2022) -- "Romanticism, Childhood, and the Poetics of Explanation". Lockhart, Isabel (September 2022) -- "Storytelling and the Subsurface: Indigenous Fiction, Extraction, and the Energetic Present".

  18. Thesis Proposal & Thesis Resources

    A thesis proposal identifies a research problem or question. Its function is to argue that the project is worth doing in terms of contributing to disciplinary knowledge and that a solution or answer can be found using the methods specified. To meet these goals, a proposal usually contains the following parts:

  19. Thesis Proposal Sample Archive

    Thesis Proposals. Examples of thesis proposals are included here in PDF format. Copies of theses completed in the M.A. in English & Writing Studies program can be accessed through the Pfau Library's CSUSB ScholarWorks database. Because the Public & Professional Writing concentration is so new, we do not have a sample proposal for it at this time.

  20. English

    MA in English thesis proposals are the last step to the initial planning and developing of your MA thesis. While it may seem like the first step, it is actually the last step before registration for ENGH 799 (thesis study). So, where do you start? Your first step toward submitting your thesis proposal is talking to your faculty advisor or the graduate director about completing a thesis. Next ...

  21. Prize-Winning Thesis and Dissertation Examples

    These high-quality undergraduate, master's, and PhD research projects can help you work out how to start your own thesis or dissertation.

  22. Recent Dissertations in Comparative Literature

    Recent Dissertations in Comparative Literature. Dissertations in Comparative Literature have taken on vast number of topics and ranged across various languages, literatures, historical periods and theoretical perspectives. The department seeks to help each student craft a unique project and find the resources across the university to support ...

  23. PDF M.A. Thesis Proposal for English Literature Students

    This comes in the form of an outline (titles for the main chapters with sub-headings for each chapter). Do not forget that the thesis outline you suggest in your proposal is tentative. The outline will inevitably change through the research.