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Once you’ve found a field of study you’re passionate about, you’re ready to begin writing your proposal. Polymaths enroll in a weekly seminar NSC 109, Topic 4: Polymathic Capstone Field Invention, the last eight weeks of which are dedicated to workshopping proposals with other Polymaths.

The proposal is a short document that consists of four sections. Students are asked to

  • describe their intended field of study, indicate some of the questions they hope to investigate, and identify the academic disciplines they think will be useful in answering them;

  • explain why they’re interested in the field;

  • name two faculty whose research interests are relevant to their field; and

  • identify the courses they plan to take and explain their relevance.

Virtually all proposals go through at least three extensive revisions. When the student and the seminar instructor agree that it’s ready, the student will submit the final proposal online. Proposals must earn a satisfactory rating in four areas: 1) merit of the field for academic study, 2) clarity of articulation of the field and the student’s objectives, 3) merit of selected courses, and 4) accuracy of the field’s name. Following submission, the student meets with three members of the program's faculty steering committee to discuss their objectives and solicit further guidance.  

The following section guidelines from the NSC 109 seminar may be helpful in understanding the scope of the proposal.

Section 1

Section 2

Sections 3 and 4

We also encourage you to check out the five examples of approved proposals at our resources page.