Guidelines on Thesis Proposal Writing

The guidelines presented in this article are designed specifically for those who have applied for PhD degree and who are expected to submit a proposal for their dissertation research. So, if you are one of such students, hopefully, this article will prove to be of great benefit for you.


Main Aims of Thesis Proposals

Actually, a thesis proposal should have a persuasive nature. Specifically, it should convince the dissertation committee that your topic is worth consideration and further research. In particular, the thesis proposal should reflect on the following:

  1. Clear indication why there is a need for researching this particular topic;
  2. What specific about the topic contributes to the originality or novelty in the field;
  3. Whether the topic is practicable in terms of data, funding, supervision, equipment, methodology, instruments, etc.;
  4. Whether the research can be properly conducted and finished within a specified time limit (six semesters for full-time candidates, for example).
  5. Consideration of the ethical issues that may appear in the context of conducting the research.
  6. How the topic corresponds to your personal academic interests and skills.

How to Differentiate between a Master's and a PhD Thesis Proposal

Actually, the most detailed and comprehensive clarification on what your thesis proposal should look like can be derived from your academic supervisor or postgraduate coordinator. The differences of a PhD thesis proposal from a Master's proposal may lie in the number of pages and complexity of research. Besides, as a rule, you are required to indicate research originality (or novelty) in a PhD research.

How to Identify Target Audience

The thesis proposal is required to be presented in the form of a report. Actually, you have to provide the research plan during the seminar in front of the audience. Therefore, to deliver successful presentation, you need to know who your target audience will be. It can be presented in front of your academic supervisor and your group mates or in front of the postgraduate committee. In any case, you should prepare correspondingly.

Your Main Goal

The main goal you should persevere while writing your thesis proposal is to gain understanding and comprehension of your research aims and objectives. Besides, you need to identify the significance of the research, focus on methodology, predict potential problems, solutions, and outcomes, as well as plan interventions.

Preparing Your Proposal

The process of proposal preparation can be rather complex as you will need to submit a number of drafts and agree on different aspects of the proposal with your supervisor. Therefore, it is important to have sufficient time for proposal writing and work on it on a regular basis in order to have it fulfilled by the deadline.


It is required that you provide an original piece of writing. Therefore, make sure to do the following:

  1. Provide sufficient supporting evidence for the ideas, concepts, arguments or models that you put forward.
  2. Provide sufficient analysis and derive some new data.
  3. Make sure to come up with a new concept, model or theory.