Your research proposal is an essential part of your application that will be used to assess your suitability for the PhD programme, and link you to an appropriate academic colleague who can support you throughout your studies.

Proposal requirements

When submitting your proposal please make sure it meets the following requirements so we can properly assess your suitability for the programme. It should:

  • Have a title
  • Explain your particular topic or question you wish to study
  • Briefly summarise existing research on the topic, making reference to publications as appropriate
  • Give a clear outline of the research you intend to do, with a timeframe where possible

Word Limit

Please ensure your proposal meets our word limit requirements. These are different depending on which PhD programme you are applying for, so please ensure you check this carefully.

For those applying to PhD with Integrated Study in Accounting/Finance/Management or to the MSc by Research in Management, the research proposal must be between 1,000 and 1,500 words (excluding references and appendices).

For those applying to PhD Business Economics/Financial Technology/Management Science and Analytics the research proposal must be between 3,000 and 5,000 words (excluding references and appendices).

If you have any questions about the proposal word limit please contact the PGR Admissions Team at

Important points

  • If accepted, you are not committed to following your research proposal exactly, although any major changes must be agreed with your supervisory team
  • Applications received without a research proposal will not be considered
  • A personal statement does not meet the requirements of a research proposal
  • Your research proposal may be submitted to the Turnitin plagiarism detection system

Writing an effective proposal

A weak proposal can lead to an application being unsuccessful. To help you stand out from the crowd we have created a detailed guide on how to get started.

How to write a good research proposal