Research proposal

It is very important that you submit your Research Proposal to the Department prior to making a formal application for admission into the PhD programme. Once you have drafted a research proposal (see the Guidelines below), please browse through the staff information on our departmental webpage ( to identify one or two academic staff members whose research areas and interests represent a close match to yours. You should then send your proposal to the staff member and ask if they would be available to supervise you. Once you have gained support for your proposal from a member of staff you then proceed to the university online application web page at

You may contact the PhD Admissions tutor, Dr Lindsay Miller (email:, for any other enquiries.

Guidelines for writing a research proposal

You must have a serious question in mind worthy of careful, thorough research. That is, you must be able to state a proposition (or a series of related propositions) worthy of detailed research and analysis.

The proposal should be written in English and include:

  1. a clear statement of the aims of the research and why it is a worthy and/or interesting topic;
  2. an outline of the research background of the topic, giving an overview of some current findings in the area, with references. From this background material it should be clear to a reader what the research problem is, and what issues you wish to investigate;
  3. the methods you intend to apply to the research questions. For example, how you will collect your data, who might be the appropriate respondents, whether you will use an established database, or case studies, or experimental methods, or questionnaires, etc. It should be clear to a reader the methodology to be used, its source, and its appropriateness for the purpose of the investigation;
  4. a brief summary;
  5. a list of references cited in your proposal.

The proposal should be around ten single-spaced pages including references.