Writing a Research Proposal for a PhD/MPhil Application - Arts and Humanities

Write a research proposal for PhD, MPhil, and professional doctorate programmes at the University of Leicester

Applicants for PhD, MPhil, or professional doctorate degrees in arts and humanities subjects - such as archaeology, English, history, museum studies, etc. - are encouraged to use the guidance below when planning their research proposal.

1. Working Title

This should be as precise as possible - broad subject areas are too large for the scope of a PhD.

2. Abstract

This is a short summary of the proposal. It should state the research problem, its context, and its significance.

(Suggested Word Count: 150)

3. Research Questions

You should identify the research questions which you will be seeking to answer and explain why they are significant. What is the rationale of your proposed study, and what will be its original contribution to knowledge?

(Suggested Word Count: 100)

4. Overview

You need to show your understanding of the general subject area and explain how your proposed research project relates to the general area of study. If possible you should show how your academic/professional background equips you for research in this area.

(Suggested Word Count: 100-200)

5. Summary

This is the most important section of the proposal. It should be a summary of the proposed research. You need to explain what you want to research and why - your research needs to have a purpose.

(Suggested Word Count: 400-600)

6. Literature Review

You should refer to the key articles and books in the proposed area of research, showing on the one hand how they will support your research, but also demonstrating that there is a need for your research.

(Suggested Word Count: 200)

7. Methodology Statement

You should show some understanding of the methods that will be used to conduct the research and of any resources/ equipment/ fieldwork/ archival work that will be required. If specific resources will be needed (such as a specific archive of material) you should mention wher this is and if access is available.

(Suggested Word Count: 200)

8. Timescale

You should sketch what you hope to achieve in each year of your research - three years for a full-time PhD or six years for a part-time/distance learning PhD.

9. Bibliography

This should be a short list of the key articles and books mentioned in your application. Quality is more important than quantity - demonstrating engagement with the literatures both subject-specific and methodological as appropriate.

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