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PHD Help

Writing Your Ph.D. Proposal

There is an established format that you need to follow in order to write a successful Ph.D. proposal. It goes without saying that this should be in well structured, grammatical, Standard English, free from errors in punctuation and/or spelling.

The structure of the doctoral proposal needs to give a clear outline of what the thesis will cover and how this will be done. The thesis proposal should not be particularly long, however (usually not more than three thousand words at the most) yet it should say succinctly exactly what you hope to achieve and the methodology you will apply, as well as giving a brief outline of your reading thus far, perhaps with an embryonic bibliography. You will also need to give a timescale of the stages of completion.

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The basic structure of the thesis proposal in most cases should be as follows:

Remember throughout the preparation of your Ph.D. research proposal that you need to stress how original and important your research will be and how much it will add to the body of knowledge on the subject: you are aiming to impress!

Specimen Layout for Thesis Proposal

Title Page
Working title (need not be definitive) plus your name, academic institution, date and degree for which the thesis will ultimately be entered.

Table of Contents
This is self explanatory, just briefly listing contents of proposal with page numbers.

Abstract
This is a concise summary of the proposal and methodology (no more than one page).

Introduction
This should give an outline of how you intend the thesis to be established. You should emphasise how you see this contributing uniquely and originally to the body of knowledge on the subject.

Chapter One
A crucial chapter as you should continue smoothly from the introduction, establishing the themes and methodology and opening evidentiary support.

Chapter Two
Focus on one aspect of your thesis, supported by examples of evidence and analysis to be used and developing the grounding of theme and methodology in chapter one.

Chapter Three
Focus on one aspect of your thesis, supported by examples of evidence and analysis to be used. You can be a little more inventive now as your thesis is well founded.

Chapter Four
Focus on one aspect of your thesis, supported by examples of evidence and analysis to be used and begin to turn the thesis towards the conclusion.

Chapter Five
Focus on one aspect of your thesis, supported by examples of evidence and analysis to be used bringing the thesis towards its conclusion at end of this chapter.

Conclusion
Summation of your thesis proposal with indication of future possible research; this is very important to the success of your proposal so make it strong.

Bibliography
Full list of all texts, correctly referenced, consulted during the formulation of your proposal (see the section in this guide on bibliographies and referencing correctly).

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