Your first thesis committee meeting must occur before May 1st of your third year; however we encourage you to do it earlier if your project permits. Remember: it may take several months to schedule a meeting date, so start planning early. Deliver your proposal to your committee at least one week before your meeting.
Please write your proposal in an NIH-NRSA format. This means that you will need to include:
A. Abstract overview
B. Specific Aims
This section should consist of a concise summary of the problem you intend to address, a hypothesis, and the aims you plan to use to experimentally address the hypothesis.
C. Background and Significance
This section should provide the background context necessary to understand the problem you are addressing and why you believe the problem and your research are significant.
D. Preliminary Studies
Work that you have completed to date should be included. If you find it necessary to include work done by others, be sure to clarify which is your work, and which is work done by others.
E. Research Design and Methods
This section should include your experimental plan and the specific techniques you intend to use to address it. You may wish to break this into a Methods section, in which you include technical information about how you will obtain reagents and perform experiments, and an Experimental Design section in which you describe the experiments designed to address each of your aims. Alternatively, you may find it easier to include technical information within each Aim. In either case, remember to consider and discuss possible pitfalls, alternative plans, and the conclusions you hope to draw.
F. References Cited in the Proposal
Sections A-E should be 10-15 pages in length. Section F is not included in this page limit.
In Teresa's office (388 Nanaline Duke), you will find an excellent example of a thesis proposal written by a Cell Biology *mystery* student – you are welcome to take a look at this sample as you are preparing your own proposal.