Project Proposal

Download the Project Proposal assignment (.pdf)

The Project Proposal is part of the Major Project assignment sequence.


  • March 11, 10:00 PM

General Assignment

As explained in the Major Project Overview, for your major project we are assuming that you are attending a conference in order to formally present a paper in your field. While the choice of conference is up to you, and while you need not actually submit and present at a conference, you should choose a conference open to undergraduate students. Likewise, while the paper topic is up to you, it should be in one of four forms: a primary research paper, a secondary research paper, a review of literature, or a lay article. (Please see the Major Project Overview for more information on each of these four forms.)

While your Project Memo signaled your intent to address particular topic, format, and venue, this Project Proposal is where you formally indicate the topic of your presentation paper, what form your paper will take, and which conference you are targeting.

Although you should think of this assignment as a formal proposal, and while you should pay attention to organization and design as if you would a formal proposal such as those covered in The MIT Guide to Science and Engineering Communication (pp. 150-181), you proposal will differ somewhat from the formal proposal structure as discussed in The MIT Guide pp. 171-175. For more information, see the Proposal Format section below.

As you work on your proposal, keep in mind both chapter 11 of The MIT Guide and the proposals lecture.

Proposal Format

Front Matter

Memo of Transmittal

Since this is an internal document (i.e., the communication is within an organization), it should be in the form of a formal memo rather than a letter. As with all memos or letters of transmittal, it should identify the CFP/RFP to which the proposal is responding (in this case that it is being submitted to fulfill the Project Proposal assignment) and it should give a brief overview of the contents of the proposal. You can see an example of a Letter of Transmittal on page 172 of The MIT Guide. Obviously, as a memo, yours will be formatted differently, but the general purpose is the same.

Cover Page

Your cover page can be designed however you wish. It should present the necessary information as described in The MIT Guide p. 171. For an example see The MIT Guide p. 173.

Project Summary

Given the nature of this assignment your Project Proposal summary will differ some from a standard summary. Your project summary should briefly identify the topic of your paper, identify the kind of paper you are proposing (primary research paper, secondary research paper, review of literature, or lay article), and indicate your target conference. While your project summary will cover much the same ground as your Project Memo, you shouldn’t just copy and paste the body of your Project Memo into the project summary section. Instead, you can use that text as a starting point and revise it. Note, for example, that the Project Memo assignment asks you to discuss issues I’m not asking for in this section of your proposal.

Table of Contents

You will want to include a table of contents for your proposal. For the purposes of this assignment you only need to identify first-level headings (i.e., sections) of your proposal.

List of Figures and Tables

If you include any figures or tables in your proposal, including any work schedules, please list them.

Compliance Matrix

Please include a compliance matrix. See the example in The MIT Guide p. 165.

Body of Proposal

Technical Section

In this section of your proposal, I would like you to include the following information:

  • Define your purpose and task for the project. (This will include the Major Project as a whole, the culminating paper and presentation, and the targeted conference.)
  • Identify the problem and its significance (i.e., what’s your topic is and why you are studying it), and your proposed objectives in undertaking the project. (As for objectives, primary research, secondary research, and reviews of literature all have the goal of discovering or learning something regardless of their different methods. Lay articles, on the other hand, seek to inform an audience for a specific purpose.)
  • Provide a clear statement of the work to be undertaken.
  • Explain, briefly, any work already done. For instance, if you’re conducting primary research where are you in the process? If you’re conducting secondary research or a literature review or if you are writing a lay article what kind of work have you previously done on this subject?
Management Section

In this section of your proposal, I’d like you to include the following information:

  • Identify the principal investigators (generally just you unless you’re collaborating on primary research, in which case you should identify the people with whom you are working—the paper and class presentation, however, should be solely authored by you).
  • Identify where work will be done for the project and the resources that you will use. (This will include library research, so don’t forget to include that!)
  • Provide a breakdown of tasks and a work schedule. You may consider including a work schedule for the project along the lines of the work schedule examples on page 166 of The MIT Guide.
  • Argue for your qualifications to undertake this project. (Note, you are all qualified by virtue of the reasons you are in this class, so look over your resumes and CVs and look over your course work and experiences as science and engineering majors here at Winthrop and identify some key reasons that illustrate your qualifications.)


Curriculum Vitae or Resume

Please include a copy of your CV or resume.

Instructor-review Draft

Please submit your proposal as an attachment via the Assignments tool in Blackboard.