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Writing a Project Proposal

Tips for Writing Fellowships Proposals

Most grant applications require proposals detailing how applicants would spend the money or time offered by the award. While different types of fellowships require different kinds of proposals, all need to persuade the selection committee that the proposed course of action is feasible and worthwhile.

Research Proposals: Research proposals need to cover the basics of the research project: what questions the applicants will be investigating, with whom they will collaborate, what methodologies and tools they will use, etc. In order to show the project's feasibility, applicants should describe a research timeline and explain where they will obtain the necessary resources and/or subjects for the project. Research proposals should also explain in what ways the project will contribute something new and important to the field of inquiry.

Study Proposals: Study proposals should discuss in depth the course of graduate study in which the applicant hopes to enroll. Applicants should talk about what appeals to them about the program, as well as what specific choices they would make within it (what specialized courses interest them, what research questions they might pursue if applicable, etc.). The proposal should demonstrate the applicant's knowledge of the program by discussing the people with whom the applicant would like to work and the resources that differentiate the department from other, similar ones.

Community or Independent Project Proposals: For grants that fund community-based or independent projects, applicants need to describe exactly how they will spend the time and resources allocated by the fellowship. It might be appropriate to include a general timeline or budget that demonstrates the project's feasibility. Finally, applicants should discuss the lasting impacts of the fellowship project—whether that be the ways a fellowship year would affect the applicants themselves or the mechanisms that would ensure that a community project would be sustainable long after the applicant leaves.