Your project proposal will serve two purposes: for you to end up with a solid plan for your project and for me to make sure your project fits my expectations and help you improve it where it doesn’t. If you are working with a partner, you will turn in each of these documents together.


Your outline is due 1/25 and should at least include:

  • Topic area you want to focus on (eg parasitism)
  • Example real-world organisms/systems with behavior you find interesting
  • What that interesting behavior is and why it is interesting?

Optionally, you can also include:

  • What are some hypotheses (from the literature or not) on how that behavior could have evolved?
  • What axioms can you code to test those hypotheses?
  • Bibliography that you have consulted so far or will consult

Proposal draft

Your draft is due 2/1 so that it can be distributed to classmates for peer review. It should be written in paragraph form and discuss:

  • The system/behavior of interest and why it is interesting (ie ‘weird’ from an evolutionary perspective)
  • Your specific research question/hypothesis
  • A high-level idea of what axioms you will code to test your research question/hypothesis
  • Additions that you can pursue if you have time but aren’t critical to get a result
  • A bibliography of sources you have already consulted or will consult

I expect this to take at least 2 pages but you can certainly write more than that if needed.

Proposal final

Your final draft of your proposal is due 2/5. It should include the same that the draft did but with more polish/edits based on my and your peers’ feedback.


The outline, draft, and peer review will be graded on effort and you should simply be sure to have provided each of the required pieces, even if they are rough. I will be giving feedback on what is needed to earn full points on the final proposal

The proposal will be graded as follows (out of 100):

Item Points
Introduces appropriate background information 10
Argues effectively about why the system is interesting scientifically 10
Proposes specific research question and/or hypothesis 10
Outlines clearly how project will answer the research question 30
Proposed project is feasible in the timeframe 5
Additions specified and effectively build on the core project 10
Bibliography sufficient 5
Writing is appropriately formal 5
Writing is clear 5
Writing flows smoothly 5
Less than 5 errors in spelling, grammar, and punctuation 5