Outlining your research proposal

For an MRes, MPhil, DBA or PhD application, we need you to outline your research proposal.

The majority of our students indicate the area they'd like to research, but we need to see a more detailed proposal.

It should be around 1500 words to allow us to assess the quality of your application and to decide whether we have the right expertise to supervise your project.

Your proposal should have:

  • a title
  • some background information on why your proposed research is important (what's the question you want to answer? Why does this answer matter? What questions will you ask to address your main question? How will your proposed research add to knowledge in your chosen area?)
  • a brief consideration of relevant literature to indicate what debates the research aims to engage with, what gaps or problems have been identified, or what models the project hopes to explore or test
  • an outline of the proposed research methodology
  • a list of references (to support your literature review)

We're not looking for your proposal to be fully worked out and polished, or have a detailed research design and schedule.

We save that for your first year of study.

We simply want to help you get your proposal right from the start.

However, we do need to see that your proposal shows enough theoretical and methodological awareness to demonstrate your capability of undertaking PhD study in your chosen area.

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