How to write a research proposal

If you decide to apply for a research project, you will need to write a research proposal, which will form part of your MPhil/PhD application. Before creating your research proposal, we suggest that you read about the application process for MPhils/PhDs at Derby.

Planning your research proposal

Before applying to study an MPhil/PhD, you should review the critical literature in your subject area and specifically in your topic of interest. You should have a clear understanding of the current questions within your chosen topic; from this, you can identify the research question you want to investigate.

Speak to a supervisor

We recommend that you speak to a potential supervisor before creating your research proposal. The supervisor will be able to provide initial feedback on whether your research interests align with research at our University. Also, they can tell you if there are additional requirements, specific to their College, that need to be added into the research proposal template we’ve outlined below.

To search for a supervisor, take a look at our list of researchers, Colleges or our Research Centres and Groups.

To check if there are college-specific requirements for your research proposal, you can contact the Chair of the relevant College Research Committee:

Creating your research proposal

When you have identified a potential research question, you need to prepare an outline research proposal, which should be a maximum of 1,000 words. This should consist of:

The proposal is not fixed and may change after discussion with your potential supervisory team and as your research develops.

You should also prepare a personal statement (maximum 500 words) indicating: