What Is a College Prospectus?


In the college setting, a prospectus is a document written by a student that describes and plans their proposed paper. It should include the hypothesis or research question, a discussion of prior research done on the topic, and an outline for the argument to be presented in the paper.

Working Title

  • A working title is used in a prospectus. This is the paper's temporary title, which is often changed when the final draft is complete.


  • A prospectus includes the reasoning for why study of the topic is important. The writer should explain why his research matters and what difference it could make in the field of study.

Questions to Answer

  • A prospectus should include questions about the topic the writer hopes to answer through their research. If the writer has possible answers in mind, these should be included. It is important for the writer not to let his prior assumptions affect his research.


  • The prospectus should tell to whom or what entity the paper and its research will be directed. For example, if a paper is about quilting, prospective audiences might be primarily women and local, regional and national quilt guilds.

Annotated Bibliography

  • An annotated bibliography is a summary of each source listed in the bibliography.

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