wiki How is a “wiki,” similar to Wikipedia, which means that many of our articles are co-written by multiple authors. It also helps researchers to know if your paper will be helpful to them before they expend time reading it.
Do not use your formal dissertation abstract, the one that is officially submitted along with your thesis; this sort of abstract is generally too narrow and technical.
Try to keep the abstract to no more than one single-spaced page or two 1.5-spaced pages.
Exceeding stated limitations in length is a serious failure which will indicate a lack of understanding as to the purpose of an abstract.
The biggest challenge in writing a dissertation abstract is to retain focus and not exceed the word count.
economic or religious history), and some will simply want to know that the dissertation is intelligently framed and interesting.
A look at the recent hires will tell you a lot about the direction the department is going, and could help you decide whether to stress, say, your dissertation's contribution to medieval liturgy or to the anthropology of ritual in preindustrial societies; to take another example, one department may be particularly interested that you do Irish history, whereas another will want to know that you work on gender.
Do not bother describing or identifying your research trips, prestigious sources of funding, major adviser, or timetable for completion; this is what your cover letter is for.
When you've finished a first draft, have your adviser(s) read it over, and see if you can get a candid opinion from someone who is not your adviser.
Remember: in most cases, you'll be applying to a department that has no historian in your field, and therefore you need to find ways to make your abstract appealing to others.
Imagine a committee composed of faculty in this department with whom you have never discussed academic subjects; that's who you should be writing for.