Once you’ve found a field of study you’re passionate about, you’re ready to begin writing your proposal. Although Polymathic Scholars can choose to work on their proposal in individual sessions with a PS academic consultant, the majority enroll instead in the weekly seminar NSC 109, Polymathic Scholars 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 PS consultant or seminar instructor agree that it’s ready, the student will submit the final proposal online. From there, it will be evaluated by a member of the PS Faculty Panel. 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. Proposals that are judged less than satisfactory in any of the areas must be submitted for revision.
The following section guidelines from the NSC 109 seminar may be helpful in understanding the scope of the proposal.
We also encourage you to check out the five examples of approved proposals at our resources page.