Please Note: This requirement is in addition to any prospectus submission requirements in your home department. 

With the approval of the ICLS Prospectus Committee, students may begin working on the dissertation after being awarded the M.Phil. degree. To obtain this approval, candidates must submit a dissertation prospectus for review, along with a supplementary statement and signed cover sheet:

  • The detailed prospectus should be approximately 15 pages in length and should include a brief bibliography of works to be examined and sources to be used. The prospectus should be submitted within six months after the M.Phil. qualifying examination, or at the time the prospectus is submitted to the home department.  Students should consult their advisers and the ICLS Director or the ICLS Director of Graduate Studies before drawing up the prospectus. It should describe both the topic and the methods the student plans to use. Students should secure not only a sponsor from the list of departmentally approved Ph.D. faculty sponsors, but also a second reader in order to receive advice on the project and on drafts at all stages.

All proposals require an ICLS Dissertation Prospectus cover sheet and a brief supplementary statement.

  • ICLS Dissertation Prospectus cover sheet: This document requires the signatures of your sponsor and a second reader and should be turned in at the ICLS administrative office with a copy of your prospectus. Either the sponsor or second reader must be ICLS affiliated. Prospecti with cover sheets may be submitted in person or via email, though email is preferred in the form of a single PDF with all materials-signed cover sheet, supplementary statement, then prospectus. Scanned originals or electronically-signed cover sheets will also be accepted.
  • The brief (1-2 page) Supplementary Statement must specify the elements of your research that you consider to be comparative. These may vary depending on the particular project: for instance, a comparative dissertation may involve work across multiple national contexts, work with primary materials in more than one language, or work drawing on different disciplinary methodologies. It may also be necessary to explain the implications of your comparative approach in relation to the norms of your home department, noting the way your project expands or revises received practice in your field. The prospectus and summary statement should provide evidence of your competence to carry out the comparative aspects of your project, whether that means training or a grasp of the relevant scholarship in a given discipline.

We will accept your prospectus and accompanying materials throughout the academic year with an academic year cut-off date of the first Monday in April. Deadlines are generally the first Monday of each month, although the actual review may take place later in each month depending on the prospectus committee’s meeting dates. After all materials have been submitted, the ICLS Prospectus Committee will review your prospectus and vote to decide whether or not to accept the proposal. Prospecti are reviewed throughout the academic year only at these monthly meetings. Those submitted after the April deadline will not be reviewed until the committee reconvenes in the Fall.

You must email all materials to ICLS at:

It is also strongly encouraged that students in the dissertation-writing phase present their work in the ICLS Graduate Student Colloquium.