PhD research proposal guidance notes
We welcome initial inquiries regarding possible study for a PhD. In the first instance, please contact Dr Tara McCormack (PhD Tutor) to discuss the general topic and the availability of suitable staff to supervise your thesis. If staff with appropriate research expertise are available for supervision, a full application should be submitted. Find out more information on submitting an application.
You will be required to include a research proposal (see guidance below), references, and a writing sample. You should choose a sample of written work that best represents your own independent research to date. In most cases this should be a dissertation from a masters degree or equivalent post-graduate qualification.
When applying, you should prepare a research proposal that is between 3,000 and 4,000 words in total, excluding timetable and bibliography. Your proposal should clearly indicate the area of research and should demonstrate your ability to develop and execute a 3-year (for full-time applicants) or 5-year (for part-time applicants) programme of independent research.
Your research proposal may contain the elements listed in our guidance. This structure is intended as a guide only, and should be adapted to the requirements of your proposed research where necessary.
It does not matter if you are not completely sure about certain aspects of your proposal at this stage, but we will be looking for evidence that you already know the broad field of research, have read an appropriate amount of relevant literature, and can make a convincing case for the topic you are proposing, as well as having considered the appropriate methodology to investigate this topic.