School of GeoSciences

Writing a research proposal

Proposal template for writing a research proposal for a PhD programme within the School of GeoSciences. The following information applies for both Social Science and Physical Science PhD programmes.

If you are applying with your own project, you need to include a research proposal with your application. The proposal should not exceed 4 pages in length (A4, font size 11, Arial or another sans serif font equivalent in size to Arial 11) and include the following headings:

1. Introduction

Give an introductory statement explaining what your proposed research topic is and why it is important.

2. Outline of key theory and research on the topic

Outline existing theoretical and/or empirical debate and state how your proposed research relates to this body of knowledge

3. Main Research Question

What specific issue or question will your proposed research examine?

4. Methodology

What method, or methods, will you use to answer your research question?

5. Ethical Issues

Note any ethical issues arising from your research (ethics can be interpreted in a broad sense as well as, for example, matters of consent and confidentiality).

6. Timetable

Provide a timetable for your research and the period of writing up your thesis. If you intend to do fieldwork overseas, say what this will entail and how it fits into the timetable.

Further guidance

Student Recruitment and Admissions have also written a guide on how to create a good research proposal, which is available as a PDF file.

How to write a good research proposal