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Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations (NELC)

The Dissertation Proposal

The dissertation proposal, usually no more than ten pages (2500 words) in length, plus a bibliography of the most relevant works (not to exceed 3 pages), should include the following matters: 

   1. Statement of problem 

The proposal should set forth the problem to be investigated, or the argument to be pursued. It should include a brief description and evaluation of the current state of scholarship with regard to the topic. This proposal should also explicate the main issue(s) to be examined and justify the inquiry’s potential original contribution to knowledge. 

   2. Methodology 

The proposal should include a brief description of how the student will conduct the inquiry, indicating the primary sources to be used, their availability, and the methodology to be followed. It should also should include the major topics to be investigated and may provide an outline of the dissertation. 

   3. Broader intellectual relevance 

The proposal should place the problem to be studied within a broad intellectual and cultural context to highlight the relevancy of the proposed topic for the Humanities. 

Samples of accepted proposals are available in NELC’s Department Office. 

Note: The Graduate Group believes that, for the purposes of a dissertation, translations and editions of texts are not normally sufficient proof of scholarly ability and originality. However, in some fields and under special circumstances, editions and translations are necessary for the progress of the field and in the case of extraordinarily difficult texts they can offer proof of fine scholarly abilities. In such cases, the Ph.D. candidate should make a detailed statement in the dissertation proposal explaining why a text edition or translation is necessary and how the dissertation in question will offer proof of scholarly originality and acumen. In addition, the text edition and translation must contain an important introductory essay that places the text within a broader intellectual historical and cultural context.