Prospectus Law and Legal Definition

A prospectus is a legal document that potential shareholders of an initial public offering of a stock must be provided before they can invest. It lists complete financial details of the company as well as the associated risks of the investment. A prospectus is also required for mutual funds and any regulated security.

There are many different kinds of prospectuses for different purposes. In the humanities, Ph.D. students are asked to submit dissertation prospectuses to their committees; most research grant applications require them; academic job candidates often include short prospectuses with their application materials; and book publishers request them as part of the process of considering a manuscript for publication. Editors of journals and essay volumes may also request a prospectus of a proposed article.