Prospectus Semester

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Students in their first semester of HITM research should begin by writing their research prospectus, and by having it approved by their faculty director and all members of the supervisory committee. The Prospectus Approval Form must also be signed. (See Signature Options section below)

To learn more about the Prospectus Semester, read the Honors in the Major Handbook. The handbook provides a thorough, more in-depth overview of the information provided below.

The Prospectus

The research prospectus serves as a research proposal, giving the committee background information about the project and similar research, outlining the methods, and discussing the expectations for the projects' outcome. Specific requirements for a prospectus are discipline-specific, and students should contact their faculty director to discuss expectations about format, length, and content.

The research prospectus should be a minimum 10 pages of text, plus documentation (works cited, appendices, images, etc.). The creative prospectus should be a minimum of three pages of text, plus documentation (works cited, appendices, images, etc.)

The purpose of the prospectus is to define the scope of your research or creative project, and to clarify the steps you will take in researching and writing or implementing your work. A strong prospectus typically includes some, if not all, of the following elements:

  • A description of your project's nature and purpose, the issue(s) you will address, and their significance in your field.
  • A critical review of related work in your field, to provide background information and demonstrate the need for your project.
  • Your proposed research methods, along with an explanation of why your approach is appropriate for your research or creative activity.
  • Preliminary bibliography.


The supervisory committee for an HITM project is chaired by the faculty director, and should be comprised of a minimum of three, maximum of four full-time tenured, tenure-track, or specialized faculty. Visiting faculty members and post-doctorate researchers are also eligible to serve as a committee member. Graduate students are not eligible to serve as a committee member. Students should consult the Honors in the Major Handbook for additional information.

The structure of the supervisory committee is as follows:

  • One faculty director from the student's major
  • One additional faculty member from the department that houses the student's major (some departments house more than one major)
  • One "outside" faculty member from any department other than that which houses the student's major
  • An optional fourth faculty member from any department.

Members of the supervisory committee must read and approve the student's prospectus as well as the final project, and are required to be present for the formal defense. When selecting a supervisory committee, it is important to go over a proposed timeline, and give the committee member an opportunity to discuss any conflicts with their schedule.

Additional Considerations

At this stage, students may also need to consider what will be required for them to successfully complete their research. This may include, but not be limited to:

Electronic Signature Options

You must secure all signatures on one form. Do not submit three different PDF files, each with one signature. Also, because of how the online portal reads e-signed PDFs, you should "print" the e-signed and completed form as a new PDF before submitting so that all signatures will remain visible once you have uploaded to the online portal.

Your options for securing electronic signatures include:

  • HelloSign - An e-signature platform with a free option to receive three signatures per month, or a free trial to receive unlimited signatures. Please note that if you opt for the free trial, you should choose the monthly option ($15/month) instead of the annual option ($180/year) in the event the trial ends and you are charged.
  • DocuSign - An e-signature platform free to use for FSU faculty and staff. You may either ask your faculty director to circulate a form on your behalf for signatures, or you may pay $10/month for a single user account for sending out up to five documents a month.
  • Electronic signatures on a PDF - All HITM forms have been formatted for electronic signatures. If your faculty director and committee members are able to sign a PDF electronically, you may circulate the same PDF file to each individual.
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