Cluster proposal paper guidelines

The following are tips you should consider when writing your cluster proposal:


Your title should be creative and incorporate the theme of your paper. It should grab your reader’s attention and demonstrate your areas of study and goals.


Your introduction should set the tone for the rest of your paper. It should contain information about why you chose the Bachelor of General Studies degree, what your future educational, career, or personal goals are, and how you chose your areas of study.


The body of the paper should contain paragraphs about the courses in your cluster. These paragraphs should be logically organized and include specific information about each course. Generally, you will have a paragraph for each course, but in some cases, you may combine similar courses in one paragraph (ie: SPAN 211 & SPAN 212 covering intermediate Spanish). There are three things that should be covered in the paragraphs:

  1. A description of the course
  2. Specific knowledge or lessons learned from the course
  3. How the information from the course relates to your goals. If you have not taken the course yet, review the course description online and write about what you anticipate to learn in the course.


Your final paragraph should be your conclusion. This paragraph should recap the paper and readdress points that you introduced in your introduction. It should adequately conclude your proposal by conveying how the cluster of courses will help prepare you to meet your goals. 

Length and format

Your paper must be double-spaced and should not exceed 10 pages in length (excluding reference and title pages, if used). Statistics from previous submissions show that proposals less than 4 pages long have rarely passed. The paper should be formatted using MLA, APA, or Chicago format. Any other formats must be approved by your advisor in advance of submission. This includes proper citations/references as needed for the paper.

Academic integrity

Academic integrity will be strictly enforced. Reviewers may utilize outside resources (ie: to verify
originality of student writing. Any violation of academic integrity will be pursued as outlined in policy from the
Office of Student Conduct.

Writing tips

  • START EARLY! Only about 50% of cluster proposals turned in on the final deadline date or the day
    before receive a passing score. Almost all of these non-passing papers have significant issues with writing.
  • Remember, this is an academic paper. Your proposal should be prose, not a series of bulleted points.
  • Proofread your paper. Read it yourself and have others review your paper. The Writing Center is available
    to help you with your writing. Your paper must be at a “meets expectations” level in order to pass. See the cluster paper rubric for more information.
  • Try not to get too fancy in your sentences; this is a pitfall that often creates run-on sentences, sentence
    fragments, and unclear sentences.
  • Do not start all your paragraphs the same way. Repetition can bring down the quality of your writing.
  • Use proper capitalization for your paper, especially when writing about departments or course titles. Make
    sure to use the actual course numbers (ie: PSYC 121 instead of PSY LELC). Your reader should not have
    to have your transcript on hand to understand the information you are providing.

Sample cluster proposals

You can view sample cluster proposals, including those that received high marks as well as those that did not, by emailing the advising center at