Apply for a PhD

Stage 1: The Pre-application Form and Draft Research Proposal

The pre-application form is not a formal application, but gives us a clear idea of the subject area, materials and questions that you are interested in pursuing, and helps us identify potential supervisors.

This pre-application should include a draft research proposal. Before you write this it is essential to view the department's staff and research webpages to identify that we cover your field of interest.

A research proposal should normally be c.1500-2000 words long, and should contain the following elements:

- The title of the proposed research: This should be precise. Broad subject areas are too large for the scope of a PhD.

- Abstract (150 words): This is a short summary of the proposal. It should state the research problem, its context and its significance.

- Overview (100-200 words): You need to show your understanding of the general subject area and explain how your chosen research subject fits into the general area of study. If possible, you should show how your own background equips you for research in this area.

- Presentation of Research (4-600 words): This is a summary of the proposed research. This is the most important section of the proposal. You need to explain what you want to research and why. Your research needs to have a purpose.

- Literature Review (200 words): You need to refer to the key articles and books related to your proposed area of research. This needs to support your research. Within the literature review you need to show that there is a need for your research.

- Research Questions (100 words): You need to identify the research questions which you will be seeking to answer and explain why they are important.

- Methodology (200 words): You must show understanding of the methods required to conduct the research and of any equipment and fieldwork required. If specific materials are to be used (eg. archives, finds) mention where these are and if access to these is available.

- Bibliography: This should comprise a short list of the key articles and books mentioned in your application.

There is a free online course on 'Developing Your Research Project', written by a member of our academic staff, that you will find extremely useful:

Stage 2: Full Application to Leicester University

Once the topic and Research Proposal has been approved by us and a supervisor selected, then PhD applicants can move to the full application stage.  

Please ensure that you complete Stage 1 before making a full application to the University. If you wish to study with us, your topic and Research Proposal MUST be have been agreed within the School of Archaeology and Ancient History before you begin Stage 2.

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