I graduated last year and had been working on a problem. Now I have some progress and am interested in applying (non US places mostly, mathematical physics). How should I write a thesis proposal? I have the draft version of my work but it is extremely technical and will require serious patience to read the whole thing. Whoever I can summarize the important ideas in a smaller thing.

My question is if I should attach an abstract, a summary and the draft of the paper along with the introductory mail? How should the mail be structured?

On a side note, one of the people at the institute had commended my work some time back when I had sent them a previous draft.

  • Where I live, each institution have it's own norms for proposal and you have to adapt your draft to institution format.
    – Cochise
    Jan 3, 2018 at 14:23
  • Don't worry your draft is technical. Your work will be read by senior researches in the same field.
    – Cochise
    Jan 3, 2018 at 14:25

2 Answers 2


What worked for me was to select a potential advisor and schedule a meeting to check her interest on my ideas. Then I wrote that more or less like a project for technical people (that could come from different backgrounds, but in my field) structuring the text in a way that guided the reader.

Now, thinking back, it could have been easier to do it if I have structured it similar to a position paper.


Usually, a proposal should not be highly technical, rather showing the motivation behind this idea, and the problem you are going to solve. In most cases, the method is deviated from what is written in the proposal.

Therefore, it would be better to give an introduction focusing on the problem and how to solve it. Then the related work, which is highly important in such a proposal in order to not starting from scratch and also not exactly repeating what others have done. The core section should focus on the approach that you will follow by illustrating the advantages of each method and the disadvantages of other methods, which will not be used. I really do not think a high-level explanation is needed here.

I would conclude the proposal with a section entitled "application" (this depends on your field of studies), which shows the importance of what you propose.

About the abstract, yes it is important to give a brief description of the manuscript.

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