Learn how to write a PhD proposal that will stand out from the rest
- Critical thinking skills
- You have an adequate grasp of the existing literature and know how your research will contribute to it
- Clear direction and objectives. You do this by formulating clear research questions
- Appropriate methods. This shows that you can link your understanding of the literature, research design and theory.
- An understanding of what’s required in a PhD
- Designed a project that is feasible.
Your PhD Proposal.
On one page.
Use our free template to quickly visualise every element of your proposed thesis.
What is a PhD Proposal?
What needs to be included in a PhD proposal?
- The research context
- The approach you take
2. The research context
- What are the most important authors, findings, concepts, schools, debates and hypotheses?
- What gaps exist in the literature?
- How does your thesis fill these gaps?
3. The approach you will take
- The overall approach taken (is it purely theoretical, or does it involve primary or empirical research? Maybe it’s both theoretical and empirical?).
- The theoretical perspective you will use when you design and conduct your research.
- Why you have chosen this approach over others and what implications this choice has for your methods and the robustness of the study
- Your specific aims and objectives
- Your research methodology
4. Concluding Paragraphs
- A discussion on the limitations of the study
- A reiteration of your contribution
- A proposed chapter structure (this can be an appendix)
- Proposed month-by-month timetable (this can also be an appendix). The purpose of this timetable is not show that you understand every stage required and how long each stage takes relative to others.
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Tips to turn an average proposal into one that will be accepted
1. Be critical
2. Don’t go into too much detail too soon in your proposal
- In section one, you present the headlines in the introductory paragraphs. These are the research questions, aims, objectives, contribution and problem statement. State these without context or explanation.
- When discussing the research context in section two, you provide a little more background. The goal here is to introduce the reader to the literature and highlight the gaps.
- When describing the approach you will take, you present more detailed information. The goal here is to talk in very precise terms about how your research will address these gaps, how, the implications of these choices and your expected findings.
3. Be realistic
4. Use clear, concise sentences
5. Get it proofread by someone else
6. Work with your proposed supervisor, if you’re allowed
7. Tailor your proposal to each department and institution you are applying to
Having your PhD proofread will save you time and money
Our top-rated PhD proofreaders check your writing, formatting, references and readability. The goal? To make sure your research is written and presented in the most compelling manner possible.
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