PhD application support provided in free online course by University of Leicester

Posted by pt91 at Aug 24, 2017 01:20 PM |
'Discovering Your PhD Potential: Writing a Research Proposal' shows how to research and write a high-quality research proposal for postgraduate applications

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office on 24 August 2017

A free online course which provides support for potential postgraduate researchers will be offered by the University of Leicester and will begin on 4 September.

The five-week course, delivered on the FutureLearn platform, will enable potential postgraduate applicants from across the globe to put together a clear and detailed proposal for doctoral/PhD research. The course will provide a context for PhD study and give applicants a feel for the self-initiated work and motivation required for such studies.

The course will ask the participants to think through and reflect on the different stages of proposal writing and to share ideas online with fellow applicants and encourage active discussion. It will act as a ‘taster’ of postgraduate research, helping to identify some of the skills, training and techniques needed not only to support the completion of their proposal, but also to pursue their research.

As well as appealing primarily to postgraduate research (PhD/DPhil) applicants, the course may have a wider appeal to those wanting to learn more about developing effective research bids.

The MOOC will be co-ordinated by Professor Neil Christie, recently Director of Postgraduate Research in the College of Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities at the University of Leicester.

Neil says: "The course will demonstrate how to set a realistic, manageable and impactful research question, how to write a literature review, and will explain various research designs and methodologies. At the end of the course participants will be able to summarise what they have learned into a first draft of a research proposal. Being able to generate a clear, strong and focused proposal is key to enhancing the chances of being accepted to undertake doctoral study."

Each week around two hours of study will be required to complete a range of exercises including online discussions and research tasks, with the themes drawn together in a weekly email providing feedback and comments.

In addition, the University of Leicester is offering a complementary course 'People Studying People: Research Ethics in Society', which explores the value of ethical thinking for research, using an ethical appraisal framework to develop and evaluate studies. This six-week course begins on 18 September and looks at the ethical implications of designing a study and recruiting participants, taking into consideration different stakeholder perspectives.

The FutureLearn platform is built around providing a learning experience in small, manageable and engaging chunks. Course materials have been prepared with this in mind, and contain a combination of short texts, images, videos and audio clips.

To date over 140,000 learners have taken at least one of the University’s Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs).

More information about the 'Discovering Your PhD Potential: Writing a Research Proposal' course is available here:

More information about the 'People Studying People: Research Ethics in Society' course is available here:

More information about MOOCs at the University of Leicester is available here:


Notes to editors:

For more information contact: Professor Neil Christie on or 0116 252 2617

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