OK. Here’s the situation.

I finished all the edits and revisions I’d planned for the prospectus. I’m really not convinced that this version is better than the last one, but this one has the important advantage of including revisions suggested by my advisor, and I think that can only be helpful. So as far as I’m concerned, I am done editing this fucker.*


It’s still 2900 words too long.

Okay, see, every prospectus I’ve seen in my department has been about 30 pages. That seemed reasonable to me. Upon checking the “official” requirements, though, I learned that the maximum length allowed for a prospectus in my department is 2000 words. What the hell? I mean, my bibliography alone is 2000 words (and no, I’m not counting the bib in the word count. That was just, how you say, a hyperbolic rhetorical device). So I asked around, and asked some more, and learned that students in my department think 30 pages is the right length; administrators, however, say that people have been “going way over” the length limit recently, and it really should be 2000 words.

Except what happens when I look like a total slacker because every other prospectus the committee gets next month is three times as long? I’m assuming that won’t happen, hopefully, because my advisor–who’s also the guy in charge of all these things–is encouraging me to get it as close to 2000 words as possible.

Should I just tell him that 4900 is as close to 2000 as I can get?

Or, alternately: does anyone have any quick, easy ideas for how to cut that much while maintaining some kind of coherence?

*Unless, of course, any of the following occur: a) my advisor reads it again in a cranky mood and decides it’s Just All Wrong; b) the other faculty at the colloquium where I’ll present this (in 2 weeks) totally hate it and destroy my last shred of self-confidence; or c) it doesn’t pass the committee and I have to rewrite it. I am refusing to think about all of those possibilities right now.