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Research project proposal

The research project proposal is your opportunity to convince the selection panel that you are a suitable candidate for the research degree you have chosen.

A good proposal:

  • Is well-written, clear, concise and not cluttered with technical jargon.
  • Describes your objectives clearly and succinctly.
  • Shows that you have thought it through and explains how you intend to carry out the research to meet your objectives.
  • Outlines the specific expertise you bring to the research.

You should aim for 600-1000 words (11pt font minimum), and cover and structure your writing around the following points:


  • Choose a concise title (no more than one sentence) that clearly conveys the scope of the work you intend to undertake


  • Introduce the topic of research and explain its academic and/or industrial context.
  • Argue why the topic is worth investigating.
  • Demonstrate some knowledge and understanding of past and current work in the subject area. A good way of doing this is to carefully choose related academic papers and properly refer to them in your proposal. You are encouraged to be constructively critical of the academic work you intend to build on.

Aim and Method

  • Identify the overall aim of the project and some individual measurable objectives against which the outcome of the work could be assessed.
  • Detail how you would pursuit the research (the `research method’) and justify your choice in terms of your stated aim and objectives.
  • Discuss the type of evidence you will have to produce to assess whether your aim and objectives are met by your research.


  • Discuss the potential impact of the proposed work for academia or practice.
  • Discuss who is likely to benefit from your proposed research.

Your suitability

  • Argue why you are a suitable candidate for this research, based on your qualifications, skills and experience.
  • If specific resources are needed to carry out the project (e.g., special equipment, industrial case studies, etc.), explain how you will assure such resources.

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