Format for the Preliminary Exam

The length of the proposal should not exceed 20 pages, double-spaced (Arial, 12-point, 1-inch margins), excluding title page and literature cited.  Number the pages consecutively beginning with the title page.  Adherence to this format will be considered in the final evaluation.

Title Page Descriptive title of proposal.  Your name.  Date, time, and location of the oral defense.  Names of all committee members. Not included in page limit.
Abstract Less than one page. Summarize the research proposed clearly describing the objectives.
Specific Aims Less than one page. State the broad, long-term objectives and describe concisely and realistically what the specific research is intended to accomplish and any hypotheses to be tested.
Background & Significance 2-3 pages. Briefly sketch the background to the proposal, critically evaluate the existing knowledge, and specifically identify the gaps the project is intended to fill.  Concisely relate the specific aims to the broad, long-term objectives.
Preliminary Studies Use this section to provide an account of preliminary studies by you (and/or the members of your laboratory with proper credit) pertinent to this application and/or any other information that will help to establish the experience and competence of the student to pursue the proposed project.
Experimental Design & Methods. Outline the experimental design and the procedures to be used to accomplish the specific aims of the project.  Include the means by which the data will be collected, analyzed, and interpreted.  Describe any new methodology and its advantages over existing methodologies.  Discuss potential difficulties and limitations of the proposed procedures and alternative approaches to achieve the aims.  Provide a tentative timetable for the investiga­tion.
Figures &  Tables Figures and tables (with legends) critical to the proposal must be included within the 20-page limit.  The student will have the opportunity to present additional figures during the oral presentation.
Literature Cited (not included in the page limit). Each citation must include the names of all the authors, title, book or journal, volume number, page numbers, and year of publication.  Make every effort to be judicious in compiling a relevant and current list of literature citations.