How to write a proposal

In order to apply for a DDes or DFA, you must submit a proposal of study that outlines the themes of your research project. The primary aim of the proposal is to identify the broad subject of your research, and the context in which your questions or issues arise. You will need to identify who else has been researching these issues, including both literature and creative artefacts and production. Finally, you will need to describe how you currently think you will go about doing the research and what methods you will use to add to academic and/or professional knowledge in the field. You should aim to write at least 1000 words (excluding bibliography)

Some key things to include are:

  • Background and Rationale
  • Research Question or Issue
  • Theoretical background
  • Methods
  • Bibliography

When the admissions tutors review your proposal, we should be able to see evidence that you have sufficient initial understanding of the field and the place of your research project in it, and that you have appropriate research skills. Once we have reviewed your themes, we will be able to assess the resources that the University needs in order to support your project, and to allocate suitable supervisors.

If the research proposal is assessed as satisfactory, it will be used as a basis for the discussion of your project at an interview. All applicants are interviewed prior to admission, either in person at the University, or online using Skype.


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