The Research Proposal guidelines are provided below in HTML format. These guidelines are also available PDF and RTF formats.

Support in writing the research proposal is provided on the Research Proposal Format webpages, in the How to Prepare and Submit a Research Proposal at UWA seminar, in the Research Proposal Workshop and the Research Proposal Writing Retreat.

  1. Project Title and Summary
  2. Research Project
  3. Research Project Details
  4. Research Training
  5. Budget
  6. Supervision

These guidelines are applicable to the following category of student/applicants:

  • In the University Rules for Higher Degrees for Research, under Rule 16 of the Doctor of Philosophy Rules, a student, other than one upgrading from a master's degree by research (by thesis) course, must provide a research proposal to the Board for approval, through the appropriate head of school and supervisor(s), within six months from the date of first enrolment for the course if enrolment is full-time or the equivalent as determined by the Board if the enrolment is part-time or a mixture of full- and part-time. The approval of a candidate's enrolment is dependent on the acceptance of a research proposal prepared by the candidate and endorsed by the supervisor(s) and the head(s) of the appropriate School(s).
  • In the University Rules for Higher Degrees for Research, under Rule 16 of the Master's Degree by Research Rules for courses administered by the Board of the Graduate Research School, a student must provide a research proposal to the Board for approval, through the head of school and supervisor(s), within four months from the date of first enrolment for the course if the enrolment is full-time, or the equivalent as determined by the Board if the enrolment is part-time or a mixture of full- and part-time. The approval of a candidate's enrolment is dependent on the acceptance of a research proposal prepared by the candidate and endorsed by the supervisor(s) and the head(s) of the appropriate School(s).
  • In the University Rules for Higher Degrees for Research, under Rule 22(2) of the Master's Degree by Research Rules for courses administered by the Board of the Graduate Research School, a student who wishes to upgrade to the degree of Doctor of Philosophy must, at the time of application for upgrade, provide a research proposal through the head of school for the Board's approval.
  • In the University Rules for Higher Degrees for Research, under Rule 2(1)(d) of the Doctor of Philosophy Rules, a student who has partially completed a research higher programme at another institution must complete a PhD research proposal approved by the Board, on the recommendation of the supervisor and the head of school.

A. Project Title and Summary

  1. Provide a short descriptive title of no more than 150 characters (approximately 20 words).
  2. Provide a brief summary of the proposed project in 250 words or less.

B. Research Project

  1. Aim(s) and Background: Describe the aim(s) of the project and briefly review the literature relevant to the project.
  2. Research project: Describe how the project is significant, how it addresses an important problem, and/or how it is original. Outline the conceptual framework, design and/or methods. Justify these with reference to the literature and indicate how the literature has been systematically reviewed to ensure that the proposed research does not reproduce previous research. Describe how the anticipated outcomes of the project will advance the discipline.
  3. Creative component (optional): If the project includes a creative component, describe this creative component and the link between this component and the proposed thesis.
  4. Reference list: Provide publication details of the literature cited.

C. Research Project Details

  1. Confidential /sensitive information: If the project involves the collection of confidential or sensitive information, describe how this information will be managed. You can find more information about confidentiality and intellectual property here.
  2. Intellectual property information: If the project involves intellectual property issues or is related to any arrangements or agreements that may affect the intellectual property arising from the research, describe how this will be managed. You can find more information about confidentiality and intellectual property here.
  3. Fieldwork information: If the project involves the research outside of UWA, describe how this work will be managed. Indicate when and where the research will be undertaken, whether or not a research visa is required, and how contact will be maintained with supervisor(s) during this period.
  4. Facilities: If the project requires any facilities, equipment or resources that are not available at UWA, indicate how these will be accessed.
  5. Statistical component: If the project involves statistical analysis, describe how this analysis will be undertaken.
  6. Skills audit: If additional skills training is required for the project, outline a strategy to attain these skills. Determine if skills training is required for the project using the skills audit proforma provided.
  7. Research project communication: Provide an overview for communication of the project research. For example, indicate anticipated publication of journal articles, extended abstracts, papers or book chapters and conference, workshop or seminar presentations. If possible, estimate where and when the research communication will occur. Indicate if the thesis is planned to be formatted as a series of papers.
  8. Approvals: Please list all the approvals required for the project. For example, UWA approvals are required for use of animals, the participation of human subjects, working with children, genetic manipulation, potentially biohazardous procedures and situations, the use and disposal of potent teratogens and carcinogens, and the use of ionising radiation or other hazardous items.
  9. Data Management: Please indicate how the data collected as part of the project will be stored. See http://www.is.uwa.edu.au/research/research-data-management-toolkit
  10. Research project plan: Provide a plan of the research project from enrolment to thesis submission. Where appropriate the plan should include time points related to experiments, studies, fieldwork, research communication, statistics courses, lab safety courses, approvals and skills training. A Gantt chart or timeline is the recommended format for this plan. This plan should be most detailed for the first year of candidature and each Annual Progress Report will then update the relevant twelve month period of the plan.

D. Research Training

  1. Research Training Plan: Provide a plan of research training from enrolment to thesis submission. This plan should include the dates for submission of Research Proposal paperwork, Annual Report paperwork, Confirmation of Candidature paperwork (PhD students only), ACE completion date, planned coursework enrolments (as appropriate) and planned annual leave periods. The plan should also include any proposed research training activities such as attendance at research skills, academic writing or grant writing workshops, or courses planned to develop transferable skills such as career development, project management, commercialization, leadership, communication or public policy training.
  2. Confirmation of Candidature (PhD candidates only): In conjunction with supervisors and the school, and using the research project and research training plans, list the designated tasks for Confirmation of Candidature in the table provided on the back of the Research Proposal coversheet. These designated tasks will be used to assess progress in the first year of candidature. Many schools have general confirmation of candidature requirements. (see http://www.postgraduate.uwa.edu.au/students/candidature/confirmation).
  3. Working hours: The UWA Policy on Graduate Research Training states that students are expected to spend at least 30 hours per week (or equivalent if the candidature is part time) to research higher degree studies. If normal working hours are planned to be less than 30 hours Monday to Friday 9am-5pm then please indicate what they will be.

E. Budget

  1. Costs and budget justification: What is the proposed budget for the project? Clearly indicate if funds will be provided by the school or other source(s) such as project grant funding. Include a breakdown of costs, including administrative, research, training and travel costs. The table shown below is the recommended format for the budget. Please indicate if the $1850 Graduate Research Student Travel Award will be used – this is the only funding that should be attributed to the GRS. Justify the major items listed in the budget including a brief description of the item and how it relates to the project.
Research Proposal Guidelines Budget Example
Research Proposal Guidelines Budget Example

F. Supervision

Provide a list of the proposed supervisors and their percentage contribution to supervision.

Every student must have at least two UWA supervisors. You can find the definitions and details of UWA supervisor types in Section 4 of the Graduate Research Training Policy.

For each supervisor, include a brief description of their role and their percentage contribution to the project. You may find the Student Perception of Research Supervision (SPORS) questionnaire useful for comparing your expectations of supervision with your supervisors' expectations.

Submission of the research proposal

Enrolled candidates should complete a Research Proposal Coversheet and submit two copies of their proposal and coversheet through the supervisor and Head of School/Graduate Research Coordinator to the Graduate Research School.

Prospective candidates applying on the basis of an incomplete PhD from another institution should complete the Application For Postgraduate Study Form and submit two copies of the Details of Proposed Research and application form (plus other supporting documentation as required) through the proposed supervisor and Head of School/Graduate Research Coordinator to the Graduate Research School.

Applicants applying to transfer (upgrade) from a Masters programme at UWA to the PhD should complete the Application to Upgrade From Master By Research to the Doctor Of Philosophy (PhD) Form and submit two copies of the Proposed Research and Upgrade form through the proposed supervisor and Head of School/Graduate Research Coordinator to the Graduate Research School.

Candidates, supervisors and Heads of School must ensure that the coversheet is completed and signed, as it certifies that the assurances made therein have been made to the Board. No research proposal or application for candidature can be considered without these assurances.

Late submission of the Research Proposal may result in the discontinuation of candidature.