Physics and Astronomy

Guidelines for writing a research proposal

The research proposal is central to your application to undertake doctoral study in the Department of Physics and Astronomy. You should read the following guidelines to ensure that your proposal includes the information we need to assess your application.

To support your application for a PhD place in the School of Mathematical & Physical Sciences, you should either:

  1. write a new project proposal in a specialised subject, which will appeal to our faculty, naming one or more preferred supervisors.
  2. write a general personal statement describing a broad topic of interest to you and our faculty. You should show how your areas of academic strength would benefit the topic. If you have more than one such topic, clearly address each one separately. You may indicate preferred supervisors and research groups.
  3. write a specific personal statement about why you are the right person for one of our advertised research projects. (Not all research groups advertise projects.)

As appropriate, you can

  • explain your interest and motivation to carry out the research
  • specify the questions you wish to investigate, including references to research literature
  • indicate which methods and techniques are adequate to achieve the research aims, and state whether you are able to apply them or wish to develop skills in them.

Your document can be from half to four pages in length, as necessary. Please upload it to your application in pdf format.

Details of our Research Groups can be found on the research webpage.

In the Financial Information section of the online form, you should:

  • Tell us which studentship you would like to be considered for. They are advertised on the scholarships web pages. Check your eligibility in the advertisement.
  • Tell us if you have another way of funding your studies should we be unable to offer you a studentship.
  • Tell us the name of your sponsor, or intended sponsor, if you will be funded by a third party. Inform us of any important deadlines.