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Writing a PhD Proposal for Studentship Application

Writing a PhD studentship application proposal can be daunting if you do not know how to write it properly. This guide will help you formulate a good PhD proposal. Within this guide are some aspects that you need to consider when writing a PhD proposal.

What is a PhD studentship proposal?

It is an outline for a proposed project. It is designed to define a clear question and the method you will use to answer it. It should highlight a project’s originality and its relevance to the field of study. It should also explain how it will develop, improve or challenge an existing literature in the same field of study. A studentship application proposal should also convince potential supervisors and funders of the importance of your work, why you are the right person to do it and of course to accept your application for studentship.

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Are PhD proposals binding and cannot be modified?

PhD proposals are not generally binding and permanent in terms of form. A good PhD studentship application proposal is dynamic because there may be changes that must be applied later in the project. There is no fixed length for a proposal. PhD studentship UK format, for example, may be different in length compared to proposals in Northern America but still has the same goal and the same method of completion.

What is the proper structuring of a PhD proposal?

There may be differences in terms of structure or formats for proposal depending on the department that you want to work in. Usually, this structure is used in almost all of them:

  • Title

The key words of the project should be included here. Make sure that they convey the message of your approach to answering the question of the project.

  • Research Overview

In this section of your studentship application proposal, you should write the overview of the research project. Make it a point that it fits within other existing discourses, literature and debates. Include all the debates you want to engage with but be sure to stay in context of the field where you want to work in.

  • Research Positioning

This part should generally not go over 900 words.  It should discuss the texts that you deem important for your research project. It should also demonstrate your ideas and understanding of the issue that you plan to work on.

  • Research Design and Methodology

This section should indicate clearly the methods and structure you intend to use. This part of your studentship application proposal should include the parameters of the research. Also, the discussion of your approach and the rationale of it should also be included in this segment. Specific aims and your objectives should also be placed here. There should also be a short discussion of the research timeline in this part of your proposal.

  • Research References

Make it a point that your references will convey that you have a firm grasp of the field of study you are working on and you know the relevant literature to support your project. Do not fail to reference texts and other resources that you think will be very important in your analysis. Make sure that it shows the proper reflection of important texts and not just a bibliography list.

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