The level of detail required in your initial research proposal will depend on the programme you choose.
Research degrees (eg PhD, MLitt, MPhil, MMus, LLM, MJur)
Schools in the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences and the College of Life and Environmental Sciences, where students join an existing research group, need to know:
- Your research interests (but do not require a detailed proposal).
- Which areas of the College you would like to work in.
- The names of one or more potential supervisors.
All other schools in the Colleges of Arts and Law, Social Sciences, and Medical and Dental Sciences require a research proposal of between 1000 and 1500 words specifying the subject of the proposed research, the body of ideas or theory that will be used, the aim and objectives and the methodological approach to be adopted.
Combined research and taught programmes
A research proposal of approximately 1,000-1,500 words is required for the following programmes:
- MPhilB Contemporary German Studies
- MPhilB Philosophy
- MPhilBs in the College of Arts and Law, with the exception of applicants for the MPhilB Playwriting Studies, who should submit a play or production that they have written.
- MRes Conservation and Utilisation of Plant Genetic Resources
- Doctorate in Business Administration
- PhD with Integrated Study in Education and Learning
- PhD with Integrated Study in International Development
- SocScD in Applied Social Research
Writing a research proposal
A research proposal generally consists of an outline of your proposed research project, including your main research questions and the methods you intend to use. You should also comment on the potential impact and importance of your intended research and on how your work would interact with current trends in your academic field.
Although there is no set format or prescribed length for a research proposal, you can follow our guide to research proposal writing for some tips and advice on key themes, focuses and structure.
If you are applying to the College of Arts and Law, follow specific guidance on writing a research proposal for programmes within this college.