Writing a Research Proposal for Postgraduate Study (MTh and PhD)

A good research proposal should not merely articulate a general topic of interest, but rather demonstrate a candidate’s ability to conceive their research in terms of a viable project. Your proposal should therefore include the following elements:

  • A clear description of the proposed thesis topic, indicating the precise research question you will investigate over the course of your work.
  • An account of how the proposed topic fits into the existing field.
  • A description of the methodology to be used to pursue the research question (e.g., study of written sources, social surveys, fieldwork, etc.).
  • An account of why Trinity College is suited to the proposed research.
  • A brief, provisional outline of the thesis.
  • A representative bibliography of the types of sources you plan to consult in the course of your research.

Proposals should be no longer than 1500 words, not counting the representative bibliography, and your name ought to appear in the upper right hand corner of each page of the document. The proposal should be submitted with your application alongside other supporting documents.

Accepted candidates will not necessarily be bound by the proposal that accompanied their application. Its purpose is to reveal something of the applicant’s preparation and insight. During the first months of work, research students often adjust their proposals in consultation with their supervisors.

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