School of GeoSciences

Writing a research proposal

A guide for writing a research proposal for all MScR, MPhil and PhD degrees in the School of GeoSciences. 

If you are applying with your own project, you need to include a research proposal with your application. The proposal should not exceed four (4) pages in length for PhDs and two (2) pages for MScR.

Your proposal should contain 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.
7. References/bibliography References should fit within the 4 pages (or 2 for MScR) and should not exceed one page.


Please upload a PDF document in A4, font size 11, Arial or another sans serif font equivalent in size. 

Further guidance

The University has provided a comprehensive guide on writing a proposal.  

You can view or download it as a PDF: