English 288 - Winter, 2022

Prospectus Workshop

Class Information

Instructor: Ziser, Michael
CRN: 23676
Time: M 1:10-3:00
Location: 120 Voorhies


Though I do not believe that a plant will spring up where no seed has been, I have great faith in a seed. Convince me that you have a seed there, and I am prepared to expect wonders.
--Henry David Thoreau

This workshop aims to provide guidance and structure for students (mostly third-years) who have finished the preliminary exam and are turning to the task of discovering a dissertation topic, putting together a committee for the qualification exam and dissertation, drafting a prospectus, preparing for the qualification exam, and moving from the prospectus to the drafting of a first dissertation chapter. We will proceed through consideration of recent work from recent PhDs from Davis and elsewhere; informal discussion amongst ourselves and with invited guests; a modest number of sequenced pragmatic brainstorming, organizing, and writing exercises; and a significant helping of intrusive individualized prodding from myself and other faculty mentors. At the end of the workshop, some students will have a complete draft of a prospectus to use for qualification in the spring quarter, while others will have a clear idea of the additional work they must undertake to be ready to qual in the following fall.


Weekly Attendance and Participation (50%)
In a small course such as this one, perfect attendance and thorough preparation are key. If you must miss our meeting for any reason, please contact me ahead of time.

Draft Prospectus (50%)
Your final assignment will be a complete draft of your prospectus. This will be something that you submit both to Professor Ziser, your current main advisor, and at least one of your prospective committee members.