A research proposal is a project outline of approximately 3,000 words (including references and bibliography) which you write as part of the application process. We use it to assess the quality and originality of your ideas, whether you are able to think critically and whether you have a grasp of the relevant literature.
It also gives us important information about the perspectives you intend to take on your research area, and how you fit into the Discipline Areas research profile overall. This is helpful when assigning a supervisor. We encourage you to discuss your proposal informally with a potential supervisor BEFORE making a formal application to ensure it is of mutual interest. Please note though that we cannot guarantee that we will be able to allocate you to the supervisor you initially contact and may allocate you to another expert in the area.
You will not be forced to follow the proposal exactly once you have started to study. It is normal for students to refine their original proposal, in light of detailed literature review, further consideration of research approaches and comments received from the supervisors (and other academic staff).
With your application, it is vital that you enclose a sufficiently detailed research proposal outline. This must be structured as follows:
We often have to reject students who meet the academic qualifications required but have not produced a satisfactory research proposal. Our advice is:
The following books are widely available from bookshops and libraries and may help in preparing your research proposal (as well as in doing your research degree):