All Classes: How to Write a Paper Proposal

There are two common reasons your proposal will be rejected:

  1. Someone else is already writing on the same thing
  2. Your proposal is vague

Do not write a proposal like this:

Hi professor! Is it okay if I write on Pride and Prejudice? I want to talk about Elizabeth and Darcy.

I will reject this proposal. It does not tell me any specifics– what exactly do you want to say about Elizabeth and Darcy? What are you going to show or prove in your paper? How does it differ from the other eleventeen billion paper proposals I have received about Elizabeth and Darcy?

Write a proposal like this:

I would like to write my essay on Macbeth. What I want to focus on is why Banquo’s son did not become the king at the end, even though the witches said so in their prophecy. Since Malcolm, not Fleance, became the king, I would like to write about some different theories on what happened and what Shakespeare had in mind.


Bridget’s mother in Bridget Jones’s Diary is just a selfish person and isn’t a hero in any way. For her own sake, she:

  1. cheats on her husband with Julio
  2. continually nags Bridget to marry somebody great, showing her vanity
  3. ​does not care about Bridget’s emotions being hurt

Conclusion: Bridget’s mom’s self-centered personality directly affects the conflicts in the development of the story.