Research Proposals


The following remarks are intended to help those applying for a place to study for the Ph.D., as well as those applying for a place on one of the Faculty’s M.Phil. courses. They are also intended to help with subsequent applications to funding bodies. For further details on available funding see ‘Funding for Home and EU Students’ or ‘Funding for Overseas Students’.

The Research Proposal

Your research proposal should be 500 words long. It needs to give those assessing your application an impression of the strength and originality of your proposed research, and its potential to make a contribution to knowledge. It should be written in clear, jargon-free, and unexceptionable prose. Grammatical mistakes and typographical errors give a very bad impression. You should make sure you cover the following areas (without explicitly dividing the proposal into headings):

You may find it helpful to look at the following examples of successful research proposals.

Sample Research Proposal for MPhil 1
Sample Research Proposal for MPhil 2
Sample Research Proposal for MPhil 3
Sample Research Proposal for PhD 1

It is vital that you show that your research is necessary. It is not enough that it happens to interest you. You should make clear that it will be of use and interest to others working in your field, or on a particular author, or indeed in neighbouring fields. You should show how your work will make a contribution to knowledge and to the practice of our subject.


Please also visit the Student Registry website for more information on what to include in your proposal.

If you have any questions about the application process or funding, please get in touch with us.

Director of Graduate Studies
Faculty of English