Thesis Proposal - Complete Writing Guidelines & Template

The thesis proposal describes the central elements of the thesis work. The summary of the thesis provides the outline of the topic, defines all the questions under consideration, and describes the materials used in writing the paper.

For some students, writing the proposal for a thesis sounds like a strenuous task. However, you can easily write it if you properly understand.

Therefore, continue reading this blog and get to know everything about the proposal for the thesis.

What is a Thesis Proposal?

A thesis proposal is a type of summary that outlines your research work. It should identify a problem that you are researching and provide a proposed solution to that problem. It is an important part of writing a thesis and no research work is complete without it.

The main purpose of writing the thesis proposal is to:

  • Show that the thesis topic addresses an important research problem.
  • Demonstrate an organized plan for data collection.
  • Indicate the research methods of data analysis that are suitable for the data set.

Furthermore, the thesis proposal aims to convince the committee that the topic should be approved, and it helps the students write the complete thesis.

The main factors of the thesis proposal are:

  • Topic
  • Thesis statement
  • Research questions
  • Introduction
  • Literature review
  • Methodology
  • References

Also, these elements may vary and depend on the type of the thesis. A good proposal will prove that your thesis or dissertation is relevant and important.

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Thesis Proposal Format

The thesis proposal gives a basic idea about your thesis to the professor. However, it doesn’t mean that the proposal is a mini-research paper or thesis.

For a good thesis proposal, you should follow the proper format. Without a proper format, your proposal is a waste piece of work.

Here is a correct thesis proposal format for your ease.

Elements Description
Title Page

The title page contains the descriptive title of the thesis.

It also includes the student name, supervisor’s name, department, institution, and submission date.

Table of Contents The table of contents lists all the main headings and subheadings with page numbers.
Introduction An introduction provides a brief overview of the research topic and highlights the historical background of the research. Also, it encourages the reader to read further.
Problem Statement Define the main purpose of the thesis.
Literature Review It contains a review of the literature on the topic and establishes the credibility of the proposal. Also, this section must be at least fifteen pages.
Research Goal Describe the main objective of your research. Also, discuss the hypothesis and the expected outcome.
Methodology It contains the description of your approach, materials, and procedures to achieve your main objective.
Evaluation of Results Describe the research findings and how the outcomes of the research to be evaluated.
Timetable for Completion of the Thesis This section contains the dates for completing research, first draft, final draft, and defense.
References Include all the sources that you cite in your thesis proposal. Also, follow the proper citation format for references.

For more, you can also check a thesis format guide to know about formatting your thesis.

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How to Write a Thesis Proposal?

For a good thesis, you must prepare a well-written thesis proposal. Therefore, for your help, we gathered some steps to guide you write the perfect proposal for the thesis.

  1. 1. Create the Thesis Proposal Outline

  2. The first step of writing the thesis proposal is to create an outline. With the help of an outline, you will easily write your thesis proposal without any difficulty.

    However, for the outline, you should follow the proper format. Here is a format for your ease.


  • Provide a general background of the subject area.
  • Define the research scope.
  • Explain the importance and research gap.

Literature Review

  • Provide a brief overview of the existing literature on your topic.
  • Mention the research gap that you find in the existing literature.

Research Question

  • Include the specific research questions.


  • Identify the methods that you used for your research.
  • Statistical analysis.
  • Explain how you collect data.
  • Explain the obstacles that you faced in conducting the research.

Preliminary Results and Discussion

  • Outline the results that you have obtained.
  • Describe how they fit in the framework of your thesis.


  • Contains the bibliography of sources and materials

Therefore, properly follow this outline format and create a well-written proposal outline.

  • 2. Knowing the Structure

  • In this step, you need to know the complete structure of the proposal. It consists of the following main parts:

    • Abstract
    • Introduction
    • Existing literature review
    • Thesis problem statement
    • Methodological Approach
    • Potential outcomes
    • Research limitations
    • Contributions to knowledge
    • Proposed thesis chapters
  • 3. Plan the Writing Process

  • Now, you have to organize everything before you start writing. Some students make a mistake, and they start writing the thesis proposal without a plan. Therefore, if you have a plan, then follow and stick to it.

  • 4. Writing the First Draft

  • Once you have finished writing the outline and planned your writing process, start writing the first draft. However, keep in mind that thesis proposals are writing in a formal style, so keep it simple. Also, make it easy to read and understand.

    Moreover, before writing it, consult your professor and understand their requirements of the thesis proposal.

  • 5. Proofreading and Editing

  • It is the last step, and you have to do it after finishing writing your proposal. In this step, you should read your proposal several times and correct all the mistakes. Also, never submit the proposal without proofreading.

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    Thesis Proposal Examples

    Take a look at the below examples and get an idea of the well-organized thesis proposal.

    Thesis Proposal Sample (PDF)

    Thesis Proposal Sample

    Masters Thesis Proposal (PDF)

    Masters Thesis Proposal

    PhD Thesis Proposal (PDF)

    PhD Thesis Proposal

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