Graduate Student Resources & Guidelines

Thesis Prospectus Guidelines

All students must complete a thesis prospective before beginning their required master’s thesis.

General Guidelines

The prospectus helps ensure that the student and their thesis review committee both understand and consent to the work of the master’s thesis. Therefore, the more detailed and precise the prospectus, the less chance for misunderstanding as students undertake the writing of the thesis.

To be certain that they understand what is expected of them, students should discuss the prospectus with their department chair or advisor. The prospectus should be submitted to the Department of Religion for the student’s record. In addition, students should submit one copy of the prospectus to each member of their thesis committee.


Although the shape of the thesis may change somewhat during the process of research and writing, the prospectus should generally indicate that the writer comprehends the nature and trajectory of the thesis subject. The student should be familiar with current literature in the broader field of their thesis subject and be able to demonstrate awareness of how the chosen topic fits into this field of knowledge and scholarship.


The length of the prospectus will vary according to the nature of the student’s chosen topic and the student’s progress to date, but in general, it is expected that a prospectus will be between seven and 15 pages long, including references.

  1. A title page: working title, name, date, academic advisor, thesis committee, etc. (1 page)

  2. A description of the topic (no more than 1 page, double-spaced)

  3. The research questions: hypotheses or questions to be addressed in the thesis. State clearly how these relate to the existing literature.

  4. An explanation of chosen methodology: This includes a description of the texts, artifacts, or other data to be collected, and the methods that will be used to analyze them.

  5. A tentative outline of chapters, in brief, descriptive paragraph format

  6. A proposed work schedule, with estimated date of completion

  7. A bibliography that demonstrates critical awareness of pertinent literature in the broader field of your subject, in addition to the literature that is relevant to your particular topic. These two types of sources should be listed under separate headings



Past students in the Religion Department’s graduate program have interned at sites including:

  • American Islamic Congress
  • Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy
  • Council on American-Islamic Relations
  • Institute for Women's Policy Research
  • International Center for Religion and Diplomacy
  • KARAMAH: Muslim Women Lawyers for Human Rights
  • Middle East Institute
  • Muslim Advocates
  • Muslim Public Affairs Council
  • Pew Research Center
  • Public Religion Research Institute
  • Rumi Forum
  • Salam Institute for Peace and Justice

Find internship opportunities through GW’s Career Services Center, including the Knowledge in Action Career Internship Fund.