Dissertation Prospectus - Social Anthropology

All candidates must, in consultation with their advisors, select a dissertation topic and describe their proposed doctoral research in a prospectus. The prospectus should:

  1. Give a concise statement of the problem to be addressed in the dissertation or of the hypotheses it proposes to test. 
  2. Provide a literature review that draws on their reading lists and field essays.
  3. Provide a clear research design.
  4. Address the project with appropriate research methods.

The prospectus will normally be written in the G3 year after the general examination and in tandem with the Research Design/Proposal Writing course.

The candidate will discuss and defend the prospectus before his or her dissertation committee. The prospectus defense should take place prior to the beginning of dissertation fieldwork. Completion of the Human Subjects compliance forms and approval of them by Harvard’s Institutional Review Board must be completed before dissertation field work can begin (see the IRB website).


No more than 25-30 double-spaced pages, exclusive of the bibliography and any figures.