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Research Proposal

The research proposal is a key requirement of your course. Your enrolment and candidature depend on approval of this proposal.

    Research Proposal Due Date

    From your commencement date, you must submit your approved research proposal to the GRS within:

    The due date for your Research Proposal in HDRhub represents the date that the approved research proposal is submitted to the GRS. The GRS recommends that you submit your completed Research Proposal application in HDRhub to your supervisors approximately two weeks prior to the due date to ensure the application is submitted to the GRS on or prior to the due date.

    HDRhub Submission of Research Proposal

    You can begin your research proposal application in HDRhub anytime after enrolment. Login to HDRhub and start your application. You will enter the answer to a series of questions in this online application form and you will also upload a 15 page written document that describes your research project.

    Once your research proposal has been approved by your advisory panel, you can submit your HDRhub Research Proposal application. The application will be sent to your supervisors for approval and then to your Graduate Research Coordinator for approval for submission to the GRS.

    Please contact your school's GRC well ahead of your submission deadline to ascertain your school's specific procedures. When your school approves your research proposal they are confirming:

    Guidelines for Research Proposal Written Document

    Your research proposal will be reviewed by your advisory panel. The specific details your advisory panel are asked to address are available here. Your proposal may be approved without changes or revisions may be required. If these revisions are substantial, you may need to resubmit your proposal for a second round review by your advisory panel.

    The sections that you need to include in this document are outlined below. The completed proposal that you upload to HDRhub should be 15 pages or less in length.

    Project Title and Summary

    • Title: Choose a title for your project that reflects your research question in one succinct phrase. Your title should include your key words. You may find it useful to review some thesis titles in your research area in the UWA Research Repository. Your title can be revised over the course of your candidature.
    • Summary: Provide a succinct overview of your project and clearly indicate why your proposed research is important, what your project aims to address, and how the project will be undertaken. Often it is easiest to write the summary after you have completed the research proposal as you can more easily identify your key points at this stage. Include only these key points in your summary - do not include anything new.

    Research Project

    You have the freedom to structure this section of your research proposal (aims, background and research project) in whatever way is most appropriate for your project and for your discipline. 

    • Describe the purpose of your project and what it aims to achieve. Clearly indicate how the project is significant and addresses an important problem. State the topic of your research. Frame this as a problem or question that you will answer.
    • Provide the background or context for your project to assist the reader in understanding the significance of your research. Refer only to key references in your research area - you will write a more comprehensive literature review for your thesis.
    • PhD students should clearly indicate how the project is original. One of the assessment criteria for a PhD is that is provides "an original contribution to knowledge of the subject".
    • Outline your methods, conceptual framework, or design as relevant to your discipline. Describe the specific techniques or procedures you propose to use to collect and analyse your data. Convince your reader that these techniques or procedures are appropriate for the type of study your are proposing and show how these distinct techniques will be used.


    Provide a list of the proposed supervisor and their percentage contribution to your supervision. For each supervisor, include a brief description of their role.

    Support for Writing your Research Proposal

    In addition to the support provided by your supervisory team, the GRS offers also offers support to help you write your research proposal.

    Find and register for upcoming events offered by the Graduate Education Officers in the HDRhub Events Calendar:

    • Research Proposal Q&A Sessions are held every month online. Drop in anytime in this one hour session to ask any questions you have about writing and submitting your research proposal.
    • Research Proposal Workshop held every month. This is an in-person workshop that runs for 2h. You can find the workshop booklet in the GRS LMS or download the booklet from the HDRhub event registration page.


    Turnitin is software that compares your text with a bank of other text, providing you with an indication of how closely your text matches other sources. The results provided by Turnitin can help you avoid plagiarism and improve your writing.

    For access to Turnitin in the UWA LMS, please send an email to [email protected]

    Before uploading text to Turnitin, you will need to consider if your text should remain private. It may not be appropriate to share your text if it includes sensitive, confidential and/or commercial-in-confidence information. Before sharing your text with any third party, you should always discuss the protection of your text with your supervisors. Only upload text that can be safely shared.

    If you are looking for support for UWA offers a number of Text Matching support tools including UWA StudySmarter?s Online Referencing Resources and UWA Library?s Referencing LibGuide. The library and StudySmarter also offer support for referencing, note-taking and paraphrasing the GRS provide academic writing workshops that will support you to develop your academic writing skills. Enhancing Postgraduate Awareness has also produced an informative YouTube video about the Use of Turnitin by postgraduate research students and supervisors. It provides advice on interpreting similarity indexes, filtering and excluding previously submitted versions of a draft.

    Special Requirements for Upgrading and Transferring Students

    You need to submit the research proposal coversheet and a research proposal following the research proposal guidelines with your application for candidature if you are:

    For more information, refer to regulations governing research higher degrees.