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Your Research Proposal

Submitting a research proposal is the most important part of the application process.

Your research proposal will outline your proposed area of study and the objectives of your research. This will include the topic that you plan to study and the research question you intend to answer. You will also include a plan of how you intend to complete your doctorate.

Your research proposal will be used to match you with an appropriate supervisor and show us that you are prepared for doctoral level research. We recommend that you look at the research interests of academic staff before writing your proposal to see if they match your interests.

Your research proposal should contain the following elements:

  • Aims and objectives - Which argument or hypothesis will you be aiming to prove? You should lay out the main research questions you intend to explore.
  • Rationale - Why do you want to carry out this research? You need to explain why your research question is important and demonstrate the need for the study, identifying the main literature in the field.
  • Methodology - How are you going to carry out your research? What information are you trying to find and how will you collect and analyse this? It is OK if your plans change during the research process, your proposal is only indicative.
  • Timeline - What are you planning to do and when? You should show an indicative plan so that we can see you have a feasible timeline.
  • Literature - you should include a bibliography of your reading to date which has led you to wish to pursue research in this area.

For guidance on writing your proposal please see the Find a PhD website.

Please note that Northumbria University applicants must complete a proposal of approximately 1,000 words. Applications cannot be considered without a research proposal, and you are required to submit one even if applying for a funded scholarship or a specific research vacancy with a pre-defined research description.

If you are applying for a course within Newcastle Business School or Northumbria Law School, you will need to use the PGR Research Proposal Template.


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Northumbria Research Link

Northumbria Research Link (NRL) is an open access repository of Northumbria University's research output.

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