Writing a Research Proposal
Proposals can cover any topic related to architecture, planning, urban design or landscape. Students who are considering a postgraduate research degree will find it helpful to find out more about the Schools' research and the particular interests of members of staff. This will help you to get an idea of the range of topics which can be supervised within the School. You can also look at the current list of thesis titles and completed theses.
Your research proposal is the most important part of your application to study and we cannot consider your application without it. Although there are no precise guidelines on how to write your proposal for a PhD, the following suggested structure should give you an idea of what we expect to find in a well-made outline. There are no limitations on the length of your proposal, although we would recommend that you keep it between 1,000 and 3,000 words.
- Title of proposed research topic
This should have both a short, succinct main title, and a longer more descriptive subtitle.
Outline the issue/problem/question under investigation indicating its significance and how it originated (why it arose). You should be trying to persuade the reader that your project is interesting and useful. Say how, if your research is successful, it might contribute to knowledge and understanding of the subject.
- Literature review
You ought to say something about the existing literature in the area of your proposed study showing what they say that is of relevance, and why it is not sufficient. This review need not be detailed, but it should indicate you are aware of the intellectual background of your project.
- Why Newcastle University?
Outline any academics or research groups at Newcastle University that you feel are relevant to your research.
- Research design
You must explain what sort of research methods or approaches you are proposing to employ, and why. You should indicate that you have thought carefully about the right technique to employ to investigate the issues you are concerned with. Briefly outline the data you need and the sources you will use indicating whether the data comes from published sources or field work.
- Further training
Summarise your experience in using the techniques required and identify any areas where you think that you would benefit from further training.
Set out a rough estimate of how much time you propose to allocate to each stage of your research work, i.e., full literature review; research method training; data collection; data analysis; writing up.
Further information and applications
Further information and links to funding and online application forms can be found on the postgraduate applications web pages. If you need to discuss your application contact the postgraduate research secretary.