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Thesis Pre-Proposal

(Due the last Friday in March by 8:00 a.m.)

In order to begin the research process, the ES Committee requires each student majoring in ES to submit a Thesis Pre-Proposal in the winter semester of the junior year. The Pre-Proposal should contain a topic statement, a research question, a statement of how the project relates to your concentration, an annotated bibliography, and names of possible thesis advisor(s).

Your topic statement must include background information or context and identify your specific subject of investigation. Your research question must be accompanied by a short rationale for why this question is interesting and important. At this point, your question is likely to be tentative and may change as you become more familiar with scholarship in the field, however we expect that your rationale will cite scholarly literature about your topic or methods that are relevant to approaching your topic. You may find it helpful to think explicitly about what kind of sources or information you would need to answer a question or craft an argument about your topic—and then think about whether you might be able to obtain or explore what is needed within the constraints of a semester-long project.  Your proposal must also include a short explanation of how your thesis topic fits within the larger aims of your ES concentration.  This section—including the topic, question, general approach, rationale, and place of this work within your concentration—should be one single-spaced page in length.

Attach an annotated bibliography, consisting of condensed (not superficial) summaries of four to six scholarly reference works, books, articles, and/or primary documents specifically pertinent to your topic. Give full bibliographic citations for each source. Annotations identify the writer’s purpose, central question or problem, main argument, and note the kind of evidence or strategy used to arrive at that conclusion.  If you are citing a source that contains an abstract, do not simply repeat the contents of the abstract.  Instead, pay careful attention to the form of the argument made in the source and the evidence used to support that argument.  Indicate the applicability of each work to your research in content as well as approach.

Include the names of one or more potential thesis advisors, and indicate whether or not you have discussed your thesis ideas with these potential advisors. Keep in mind that potential thesis advisors include faculty outside of the ES program. Provide a list of all your ES courses and any other relevant work you have done.

Your completed Thesis Pre-Proposal is uploaded and submitted electronically to the ES Committee using the Thesis/ENVR 450 Application Submission Form .

Please note: Pre-proposals are crucial to the ES committee in its planning for the following year. A poorly written, incomplete, or even missing pre-proposal will mean that your thesis plans cannot receive serious consideration; it will likely leave you without useful feedback and without an assigned thesis advisor in your senior year.


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