Create your own research proposal

If you can't find a research project to suit you? Find out how to develop your own research proposal.

If you can't find what you're looking for in our current list of research projects, we give you the opportunity to develop your own research proposal, and approach one of our academics outlining your ideas to see if they provide a good fit to your interests.

What is a research proposal?

A research proposal is a short document that summarises the research you want to undertake. It will outline the question you intend to address, the subject background, your proposed research methods, and, importantly, will demonstrate how your research is original, and what it will contribute to the current understanding in the subject. You may also be required to include a bibliography, and your CV.

What to include in your research proposal

To make sure you have all the support and information you need to write a successful research proposal, we’ve provided some advice and information you might find useful.

Your initial research proposal should:

  • be approximately 500 words
  • include an outline of your research interests
  • detail your initial thoughts about a topic
  • have references to previous work
  • discuss the methodology and general approach you wish to take
  • indicate how your research will make an original contribution to knowledge.

Some schools/departments require you to complete a more detailed proposal before they can make a final decision on your application. Check to see if this applies to the department/project you are applying to. If you do not have a firm research proposal you should still provide as much information as possible with your application, including possible topic areas and intended source(s) of funding.

Always make sure you discuss your proposed research area with a potential supervisor before submitting your application. If you know the subject area you wish to work in, but do not have a particular supervisor in mind, you can contact the department’s administrator who will be able to help.