The Ph.D. dissertation prospectus typically includes thefollowing:

The dissertation prospectus should address:
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The Dissertation Prospectus Workshop should be completed by early April in your third year of graduate study.
Hi. This is Laura Turner and today we're going to talk about how to write your dissertation prospectus. First of all, a prospectus is a description, plain and simple. And in fact, it is a description before the facts, so... I like to think of it as a prediction of your dissertation. So, what you're going to want to do, first of all, is of course, figure out what you're going to write your dissertation on. And then to try to write a pretty rough outline for yourself as to what you want to do in the dissertation so that you may write your prospectus. OK? So, your prospectus is going to be, I think, should be short, specific, detailing the major details of what you want to explore in your prospectus and giving a conclusion to your arguments, something, whatever is going to come out of your dissertation as far as you know. I would say, do not feel completely compelled to stay directly with your prospectus. If your dissertation, which you're going to be working on for months, if your dissertation fluctuates, changes as you are writing it, do not feel as though you are stuck with what you wrote down in your prospectus. So, however long your department is going to require you. My thesis prospectus was a very short summary of what I was going to do. But always check with your adviser. Just check and see what you should do with your individual prospectus. So, what you're going to do is you're going to use that as sort of a guideline for yourself. If you're having trouble with your dissertation, you can always go back to your prospectus and say, "OK, what was my initial impulse? And what was I going to do when I first started this thing out?" So, just think of it as a helpful tool for you as well as for your department to figure out who you are and what you're doing and why they should give you your advanced degree. And good luck. Dissertation ProspectusDissertation ProspectusHow to Write a Dissertation Prospectus
A dissertation prospectus is written prior to dissertation writing and is commonly considered the first step of writing a dissertation. However, to write a successful dissertation you must proceed in a step by step manner and focus at one step at a time.It is extremely rare that the advice given by the committee leads to negative effects on your dissertation. Neither would the committee always rule in your favor. In fact the very purpose of the committee is to help you with your dissertation/dissertation prospectus and thus contribute to your academic life.A dissertation prospectus is a paradoxical piece of writing. It is not an abstract (which is to say, a summary of a completed dissertation) or an introductory chapter of a dissertation, but rather an attempt to describe what is planned before it has actually been done. Since it is meant to be submitted soon after completion of the candidacy examination, it need not be a huge document. Indeed, it could be around fifteen double-spaced pages in length (roughly 3500-4000 words) with up to ten further pages of bibliography. As indicated, the prospectus should provide a preliminary description of the proposed dissertation. It should delineate what topic and area the dissertation will explore; discuss why this topic and area merit such exploration; and include a provisional chapter outline and as complete a bibliography as possible. The outline should be as precise as possible, even if it is very likely to be modified in the course of writing the dissertation.There is no single recipe for a good dissertation prospectus. But all writers should answer, to the best of their abilities at this early stage of research, certain fundamental questions: