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How to create a dissertation proposal defense powerpoint (+example), published by steve tippins on june 21, 2022 june 21, 2022.

Last Updated on: 2nd February 2024, 02:45 am

As part of the dissertation process, you will need to create a dissertation proposal defense PowerPoint to present a summary of the plan for your study. You will need to show how important your study is and how it is useful. 

When creating the PowerPoint, keep in mind that you need to make sure all of your audience can understand all aspects of your study.  The exact content for the defense PowerPoint varies by college, discipline and department, so it is important that you discuss with your committee chair about the requirements. However, we will give some general guidelines that apply to most institutions.

woman in orange jacket wearing headphones and working on her dissertation defense

The defense typically takes 20‐30 minutes. You should keep the timeframe in mind as you consider the information you will have in your presentation. 

Except for aspects of your presentation, such as the research question(s) or hypothesis(es), do not just read the slides. Instead, explain or expand on what is on the slides. To ensure you keep within the timeframe, practice narrating your PowerPoint presentation. 

Although the APA manual does not provide guidelines for creating a PowerPoint presentation, you will need to follow some of the APA style guidelines within your PowerPoint. 

For example, provide in-text citations for quotes, paraphrases, images, graphs, and other information that should be cited. Also, you will need to provide a list of pertinent references. 

doctoral dissertation proposal presentation

The following are other format requirements for the slides :

  • Create 17-20 slides.
  • Do not provide a lot of information. Be concise and write a few sentences (approximately 1-7 on each slide). 
  • Because your slides will contain only a small amount of information, any extra information that you want to touch on should be put in the notes section of the PowerPoint. 
  • Write the information in your slides for visual appeal and optimum communication, using a legible font size. 
  • You can use graphics and images to enhance and reinforce the information. However, ensure that they do not distract from your information.
  • You can use bullet points but keep them to a minimum of 3-4 for each listing.

Example Dissertation Proposal Defense PowerPoint Format

man in denim shirt using his laptop to create a dissertation proposal

The dissertation proposal will consist of three chapters, which you will be providing information on in the presentation. Although the contents and order of the contents may vary, there are some basic parts of the proposal that are usually required.  

The following is a breakdown of the usual contents that are included in the presentation. Each of these headings below represents the titles of each slide. The information below the headings is the type of content you will need to provide. 

Title (1 slide) : 

  • Dissertation’s Title 
  • Department of Program of Study/Name of University
  • Chair and Committee Members

Statement of the Problem (1 slide):

  • Provide the problem that your dissertation will address. 

Purpose of the Study (1 slide):

  • Provide what the study will do relative to the issue(s) defined in the statement of the problem.

Significance of the Study (1 slide):

  • Provide the main argument of why the solution to the problem that you propose is important. 

Research Question(s)/Hypothesis(es ) (1 slide):

  • Provide the research question(s) or hypothesis(es) relevant to your field of study, written exactly as it is in your dissertation proposal.

The Literature Review (2 slides):  

  • These slides should consist of a coherent, organized overview of the main literature that frames your study’s problem, and the gap in literature that your study will address. Make sure that you include the sources. 

Theoretical/Conceptual Framework (1 slide):

  • This slide should consist of the theoretical/conceptual framework that will help you make sense of the phenomenon that you will investigate. 

Research Design (1 slide):

  • Provide the framework for the methods of data collection and data analysis. Indicate whether the study will be quantitative or qualitative.

Sample and Population (1 slide):

  • Provide the population that refers to the entire group that you will draw conclusions about, and the sample that refers to the specific group that you will collect data from.

Data Collection (1 slide):

  • Provide the methods by which you will obtain the data. If the research design is quantitative, provide methods such as correlation and regression, mean, mode and median or others. If the design is qualitative, provide methods such as, interviews, questionnaires with open-ended questions, focus groups, observation, game or role-playing, case studies, or others.

Data Analysis (1-2 slides):

  • This slide should contain the process you will use to understand, gather, compile, and process the data you will obtain. 

doctoral dissertation proposal presentation

Limitations (1 slide):

  • In this slide, explain the nature of the limitations and how they will be overcome during your research. 

Delimitations (1slide):

  • Provide the characteristics that describe the boundaries of your study and limit the scope, such as sample size, geographical location, population traits, or others.

References (1-2 slides):

  • Only provide those sources that you referred to in the presentation. Do not provide all the sources that you have in your dissertation proposal.

Thank You/Questions (1 slide):

  • Use this final slide to thank your committee and to request questions from them.

Note : For information about citing your references, refer to Chapters 9 and 10 of the APA Manual 7 th edition.

For instructions on how to create a PowerPoint, see How to Create a Powerpoint Presentation .

View this video for “ Tips and Tricks for your Proposal Defense Day Presentation ” 

You can find several examples of students’ Dissertation Proposal Defense presentations online by searching for “Dissertation Proposal Defense PowerPoint.”  You can also find one at this webpage .

Steve Tippins

Steve Tippins, PhD, has thrived in academia for over thirty years. He continues to love teaching in addition to coaching recent PhD graduates as well as students writing their dissertations. Learn more about his dissertation coaching and career coaching services. Book a Free Consultation with Steve Tippins

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How to Make an Impressive Ph.D. Proposal Presentation to the University Panel

Ph.D. Proposal Presentation


  • Format of  Ph.D. Proposal Presentation

Points to Ponder During Ph.D. Proposal Presentation

Slide 1: title slide, slide 2: introduction, slide 3: literature review, slide 4: motivation and research problem, slide 5: research question and objectives, slide 6: study design and methods, slide 7: predicted outcomes, slide 8: resources, slide 9: societal impact, slide 10: gantt chart, slide 11: potential challenges, slide 12: conclusion, ph.d. proposal presentation ppt download, how to convert my ph.d. proposal presentation to a survey paper, as a new ph.d. student, how can i improve my presentation skills for a ph.d. proposal presentation.

  • How should Ph.D. students overcome the fear and anxiety of giving a Ph.D. proposal presentation? 

What are the most common reasons for rejecting a Ph.D. proposal?   

  • What kind of profile is required to get into top Ph.D. programs? 

Is it very essential to have publications for getting accepted to the Ph.D. program?     

As part of the Ph.D. selection process, all students are required to present their Ph.D. proposal for approval to the Ph.D. Scrutiny Committee at the University. The goal of the Ph.D. proposal presentation and approval process is to receive constructive feedback on the proposal and ensure that the  Ph.D. proposal is feasible and appropriate for Ph.D. work. The panel also can look into the timeline of the proposed work to ensure its feasibility within the given time frame. Above all, it gives an opportunity to the research scholar to face the panel during the Ph.D. proposal presentation at the early stage of his research.

Please note, before making the presentation you need to submit the 10-12 page PhD proposal Report to the University and then make presentation in front of the selection panel. The selection panel will go through both your report and presentation for making selection. If you are not familiar with writing PhD proposal report, please visit my blog post on “Writing PhD Proposal Report to the University” for clear understanding of writing the PhD proposal report in a a concise and professional manner.

Format of  Ph.D. Proposal Presentation

The time duration of the presentation will be around 15-20 minutes.  The presentation slides should be simple, well-structured, and effective.

The presentation slides should include the following:

  • The Title of the work along with the candidate and supervisor details along with their affiliations.
  • Introduction to the proposal
  • A brief review of relevant literature
  • Motivation for the work
  • Statement of the research problem and goals
  • Research question, objectives of the proposal
  • Study design, methods for data collection, measures
  • Predicted outcomes if everything goes according to plan
  • Resources to complete the work
  • Societal impact
  •  A timetable of activities ( Gantt Chart )
  • Potential  challenges

Maintaining the time limitation of the  Ph.D. proposal presentation is crucial otherwise the panel members may stop the presentation after the time limit and the candidate may lose his chance to clearly explain the idea.

After the  Ph.D. proposal presentation, the candidate has to face the panel for clearing their doubts regarding the proposal. For this session to run smoothly, prior to this presentation the candidate has to present his work to his guide and other fellow researchers of his choice several times to get acquainted with the concepts and queries.

During the discussion, the panel may ask the following questions to the candidate

  • What is the (social, scientific) significance of the proposal?
  • How will you approach your research question?
  • Is your proposal novel? How is it related/compared to prior works?
  • What difficulties do you expect to encounter during the implementation?
  • What will be the impact of this proposal on research/society?
  • Show the sample of data you are planning to collect.
  • What research has already been done in the proposed area? What deficiencies or gaps need attention?
  • In the proposed domain, can you list the other ongoing research works?
  • Why do you think your research is reliable?
  • Why do you think your research is valid?
  • How do you validate your outcomes?
  • In what way(s) does your research proposal contributes to knowledge?
  • What research methodology do you use?
  • Why did you use a particular research methodology?
  • Can you bridge any gap in your work?
  • What are the limitations of the proposal?
  • Which programming language will you use to write your program? (for computer science students)
  • What source of data will be employed for the research? whether you are data is benchmarked?
  • Have you taken permission to use the data set you are planning to use in your research?
  • What is the strongest point in your proposal?
  • In what way your research is environment friendly?
  • Suppose the proposed method does not work then what alternate solution you have planned for?
  • Who are the experts you are in contact with in the domain you are working?
  • What are the gaps you have identified in paper XYZ shown in your references?
  • How is your method better than the method proposed in paper PQR?

During the Ph.D. proposal presentation, the following points should be given prime importance

  • Use simple color combinations (contrasting colors) for your slides
  • Make  eye contact with your panel members
  • Do not have any other personal material on the pen drive or External Hard Disk in which you carry your presentation
  • Do not write an entire paragraph in slides.
  • Add a story to your presentation . This story which you will discuss can be a problem you have seen in a specific domain where you are planning to work and explain how your research proposal may solve that problem.
  • Do not start teaching the basic concepts. The panel members already know the basic concepts. Only concentrate on objectives and methodology.
  • Start your presentation by disclosing a surprising /shocking fact, about the work you are considering. This will create interest in the panel members
  • Highlight the papers presented/ workshops attended by you relating to your research.
  • Acknowledge the domain experts with whom you are interacting to collect the data sets ( This will indirectly show the quality of the data sets you are planning to use ).
  • Use pause in between your presentation. A pause is an effective way to grab attention.
  • Offer alternative solutions/backup plans for your research work.
  • Do not cross the time limit
  • Have Backup slides
  • If you do not know the answer to any of the questions say confidently that you have not come across that concept or you do not have a clear idea regarding the same. Do not bluff. This may leave a wrong impression on the panel.

Ph.D. Proposal Presentation Template

  • Title of the work
  • Candidate’s name and affiliation
  • Supervisor’s name and affiliation
  • Briefly introduce the topic
  • Explain why the topic is important and relevant
  • Provide a brief overview of what the presentation will cover
  • Summarize the key findings of relevant literature
  • Identify gaps and limitations in the existing research
  • Explain how your work will contribute to filling these gaps
  • Explain the motivation behind your work
  • Clearly state the research problem you are addressing
  • State your research question
  • Clearly articulate your research objectives
  • Explain your study design and why you chose it
  • Describe your data collection methods and measures
  • Present your predicted outcomes if everything goes according to plan
  • Explain how these outcomes will contribute to the field
  • Identify the resources you will need to complete your work
  • Explain how you will obtain these resources
  • Describe the potential societal impact of your work
  • Explain how your work will benefit society
  • Present a Gantt chart representing the timetable of the activities planned
  • Explain how you will manage your time to complete your work on schedule
  • Identify potential challenges you may encounter during your research
  • Explain how you plan to address these challenges
  • Summarize the key points of your presentation
  • Conclude by emphasizing the significance of your work and its potential impact

Slide 13: Questions

  • Encourage the audience to ask questions
  • Thank the audience for their attention

Remember to keep your presentation simple, well-structured, and effective. Use clear and concise language, and make sure your presentation is visually engaging. Good luck with your PhD proposal presentation!

  • Title of the work: “A Comparative Study of Deep Learning Techniques for Image Recognition in Medical Imaging”
  • Candidate’s name and affiliation: Sarah Johnson, Department of Computer Science, University of ABC
  • Supervisor’s name and affiliation: Dr. Robert Lee, Department of Computer Science, University of ABC

In this slide, you have to include the title of your work, your name and affiliation as the PhD candidate, and your supervisor’s name and affiliation. The title should be concise and descriptive, conveying the essence of your research.

  • Briefly introduce the topic: Deep Learning Techniques for Image Recognition in Medical Imaging
  • Explain why the topic is important and relevant: Accurate and efficient image recognition in medical imaging is crucial for diagnosis, treatment planning, and monitoring of patient progress. However, the current state-of-the-art algorithms still have limitations in handling the complexities of medical images, such as noise, variation in size and shape, and variation in imaging protocols.
  • Provide a brief overview of what the presentation will cover: In this presentation, I will introduce my proposed research on a comparative study of deep learning techniques for image recognition in medical imaging. I will briefly cover the literature review, the research problem and goals, the study design, and the expected outcomes of the research.

In this slide, you have to provide an introduction to your research topic, explaining its importance and relevance in the field. The introduction should set the context for your research and explain why it matters.

  • Summarize the key findings of relevant literature: Previous research has shown that deep learning techniques, such as convolutional neural networks (CNNs) and recurrent neural networks (RNNs), have achieved state-of-the-art results in various image recognition tasks, including medical image recognition. However, the performance of these techniques can be affected by factors such as the size and complexity of the dataset, the selection of hyperparameters, and the choice of architecture.
  • Identify gaps and limitations in the existing research: While previous studies have compared the performance of different deep learning techniques for image recognition in general, there is a lack of research that compares and evaluates the performance of these techniques specifically in medical imaging. Additionally, there is a need for research that investigates the effectiveness of transfer learning, data augmentation, and other techniques for improving the performance of deep learning models in medical image recognition tasks.
  • Explain how your work will contribute to filling these gaps: The proposed research aims to contribute to filling these gaps by conducting a comparative study of various deep learning techniques for image recognition in medical imaging. The study will also investigate the effectiveness of transfer learning, data augmentation, and other techniques for improving the performance of these techniques in medical image recognition tasks. The results of this study will provide valuable insights into the strengths and limitations of different deep-learning techniques in medical imaging, and help inform the development of more accurate and efficient algorithms in the future.

In this slide, you have to summarize the key findings of relevant literature in your research area, identify gaps and limitations in the existing research, and explain how your work will contribute to filling these gaps.

In this format, the information is organized into three sections: key findings, gaps and limitations, and contribution of proposed work. Each section is presented as a bullet point, with the main idea in bold, followed by a brief explanation. This format can be useful for presenting information in a clear and concise manner, while still providing enough detail to convey the main points.

In this format, the motivation and research problem are presented as two separate sections, with each section consisting of bullet points. The motivation section explains why the topic is important and why the proposed research is needed, while the research problem section clearly states the specific questions that the research will address. This format can help ensure that the motivation and research problem are clearly articulated and easy to understand.

In this format, the research question and research objectives are presented as two separate sections, with each section consisting of bullet points. The research question clearly states the specific problem that the research will address, while the research objectives explain the specific goals that the research aims to achieve in order to answer the research question. This format can help ensure that the research question and objectives are clearly articulated and easy to understand.

In this format, the study design and data collection methods are presented as two separate sections, with each section consisting of bullet points. The study design section provides an overview of the design of the study, including the specific groups being compared and the methods used to control for confounding factors. The data collection methods section describes the datasets and measures being used, as well as the specific methods being employed to train and test the deep learning models. This format can help ensure that the study design and methods are clearly explained and easy to understand.

In this format, the predicted outcomes are presented as bullet points, along with an explanation of how they will contribute to the field. The predicted outcomes are based on the study design and methods described in previous slides and can help to demonstrate the potential impact of the proposed research.

This slide presents the resources needed to complete the work, along with an explanation of how these resources will be obtained. This can help to demonstrate that the necessary resources have been identified and that a plan is in place to obtain them.

This slide presents the potential societal impact of the work and how it will benefit society. This can help to demonstrate the broader implications and significance of the research.

Work breakdown  of PhD work

Gnatt chart representing the timetable of the activities planned

You have to create a Gantt chart to represent the activities that are planned for completing this research work within the given time frame. The time frame can change depending on the Univesity’s stipulated guidelines for full-time and part-time Ph.D. programs.

The chart is divided into five different stages, which are:

  • Completion of the Course Work: You need to complete the coursework papers as per University Guidelines. This stage is expected to take 12 months.
  • Literature review: In this stage, we will review and analyze the existing literature to identify gaps and limitations in the research. This stage is expected to take 06 months.
  • Data collection: In this stage, we will collect the required data by conducting experiments and surveys. This stage is expected to take 06 months.
  • Data analysis: In this stage, we will analyze the collected data to draw meaningful insights and conclusions. This stage is expected to take 3 months.
  • Model development: In this stage, we will develop the proposed model and implement it. This stage is expected to take 12 months.
  • Results and Analysis: In this stage, we will gather the results from various dimensions of the proposed model and analyze them. This stage is expected to take 03 months.
  • Writing and submission: In this stage, we will write and submit the final research report and the thesis. This stage is expected to take 06 months.

You have to allocate appropriate time for each stage to complete the work on schedule. You have to keep track of the progress regularly and make necessary adjustments to the plan to ensure the timely completion of the research work.

In this section, you have to discuss some potential challenges which you may encounter during your research and how you plan to address them.

Potential Challenges:

  • Access to data: Since we are planning to collect data from several sources, it may be challenging to obtain access to all the necessary data.
  • Time constraints: We have a strict timeline to follow, and any delays could affect the overall success of the project.
  • Technical difficulties: There is always a risk of encountering technical difficulties during data collection or analysis.

Addressing the Challenges:

  • Data access: We will communicate with the relevant authorities and request access to the data needed for our research. We will also explore alternative sources of data if necessary.
  • Time constraints: We will break down our research into smaller, more manageable tasks and allocate sufficient time for each. We will also build in extra time in case of unexpected delays.
  • Technical difficulties: We will test our data collection and analysis tools thoroughly beforehand to minimize the risk of technical difficulties. We will also have contingency plans in place in case of any issues that may arise.

By identifying potential challenges and having a plan in place to address them, you can ensure that your research progresses smoothly and efficiently.

In conclusion, this presentation has outlined a research proposal for a comparative study of deep learning techniques for image recognition in medical imaging. The key points covered in this presentation are:

  • The importance of developing accurate and efficient image recognition techniques for medical imaging, which can assist in the diagnosis and treatment of various medical conditions
  • A review of the relevant literature in this field has identified the need for further research to compare the performance of different deep-learning techniques for image recognition in medical imaging
  • The research problem, objectives, and research question, aim to address this need by comparing the performance of different deep-learning techniques for image recognition in medical imaging
  • The study design and methods, which will involve collecting and analyzing medical imaging data using various deep-learning techniques
  • The predicted outcomes of the study, which could contribute to improving the accuracy and efficiency of image recognition in medical imaging
  • The resources required to complete the study, including access to medical imaging data and computational resources
  • The potential societal impact of the study, which could benefit patients and healthcare providers by improving the accuracy and efficiency of medical imaging
  • The timetable of activities, which has been represented in a Gantt chart to ensure that the study is completed on schedule
  • The potential challenges that may be encountered during the research, and the strategies that will be used to address these challenges.

Overall, this research proposal has the potential to contribute to the field of medical imaging by providing valuable insights into the performance of different deep-learning techniques for image recognition. By improving the accuracy and efficiency of image recognition in medical imaging, this research could ultimately benefit patients and healthcare providers.

Please enter your details to download the PPT of the PhD proposal presentation.

Here is an interesting thing. You may be wondering about the amount of effort you have put into preparing the Ph.D. proposal material and its further usage. Here is a quick tip. In fact, after finishing my Ph.D. proposal presentation my supervisor asked me to convert that material into a survey paper so that it can be showcased in the first Doctoral committee meeting to gain some brownie points from the members. I did the same and got lots of admiration from the committee members.

To convert your Ph.D. proposal material to a survey paper, you can start by using your existing literature review as the foundation. Expand your literature review to include a broader range of sources and provide a comprehensive overview of the research area. Use your research question and objectives to structure your paper and provide a detailed analysis of existing research, highlighting gaps and potential areas for future research.

Check out our blog posts listed below on how to write a survey paper and a structured literature review for more guidance on structuring and writing your paper.

How to write a better Survey Paper in 06 easy steps?

The Art of Conducting a Systematic Literature Review (SLR): Expert Advice for Researchers

Unlock Exclusive Access to the PhD Navigator Tool – for a Streamlined Research Experience for FREE!

Dear fellow researchers,

If you are a PhD research scholar or planning to pursue PhD, I understand the value of time in your PhD journey. That’s why I have organized my blog posts related to PhD meticulously, categorizing more than 100 articles into various stages of PhD (from planning of PhD to careers after PhD).

You can get this tool ABSOLUTELY FREE , by sending an email to [email protected] with the subject line “Subscribe: PhD Navigator Tool-1.0” By subscribing not only will you gain free access to this invaluable tool, but you’ll also receive regular updates on this tool and our blog’s latest insights, tips, and resources tailored for researchers.

Happy researching!

Best regards,

Dr Vijay Rajpurohit

A Ph.D. proposal presentation is a crucial step in obtaining approval for your research project. It requires careful planning, organization, and presentation skills to effectively communicate the significance, goals, and methods of your proposed research to the review committee.

By following the tips and guidelines discussed in this blog post, you can create an impressive and compelling presentation that showcases your expertise and potential to make a significant contribution to your field of study.

Remember to emphasize the importance and potential impact of your research, address potential challenges, and provide a clear timeline and plan for your project.

With a well-prepared presentation, you can increase your chances of obtaining approval for your Ph.D. proposal and embarking on a successful research journey.

Frequently Asked Questions

To get yourself accepted by the Ph.D. panel you need to do lots of research regarding the domain of interest in which you plan to pursue your Ph.D. Read the base paper thoroughly so that you will be clear regarding the basic implementation details.  You need to do lots of rehearsals in front of your friends and family members, and in front of the mirror.  

How should Ph.D. students overcome the fear and anxiety of giving a Ph.D. proposal presentation ? 

By improving their domain knowledge; interacting with domain experts; listening to podcasts and youtube videos related to the concerned domain;  and honing their communication skills,  Ph.D. students can overcome fear and anxiety while giving the presentation.

The main reasons for rejecting the proposal are the limited literature survey; incomplete research gap analysis of the domain; non-coherent objectives; and the poor link between the aim and the objectives.

What kind of profile is required to get into top Ph.D. programs?  

One or two good publications or conference presentations in the related domain of research will boost the chances of getting into top Ph.D. programs.

It is not essential to have publications for getting accepted to the Ph.D. programs. With thorough knowledge of the domain of research and clearly defined aims and objectives, one can impress the research panel to consider the applicant for the PhD admission.

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doctoral dissertation proposal presentation

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  • Dissertation Proposal

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Proposal Overview and Format

Proposal committee, proposal hearing or meeting.

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Students are urged to begin thinking about a dissertation topic early in their degree program. Concentrated work on a dissertation proposal normally begins after successful completion of the Second-Year Review, which often includes a “mini” proposal, an extended literature review, or a theoretical essay, plus advancement to doctoral candidacy. In defining a dissertation topic, the student collaborates with their faculty advisor or dissertation advisor (if one is selected) in the choice of a topic for the dissertation.

The dissertation proposal is a comprehensive statement on the extent and nature of the student’s dissertation research interests. Students submit a draft of the proposal to their dissertation advisor between the end of the seventh and middle of the ninth quarters. The student must provide a written copy of the proposal to the faculty committee no later than two weeks prior to the date of the proposal hearing. Committee members could require an earlier deadline (e.g., four weeks before the hearing).

The major components of the proposal are as follows, with some variations across Areas and disciplines:

  • A detailed statement of the problem that is to be studied and the context within which it is to be seen. This should include a justification of the importance of the problem on both theoretical and educational grounds.
  • A thorough review of the literature pertinent to the research problem. This review should provide proof that the relevant literature in the field has been thoroughly researched. Good research is cumulative; it builds on the thoughts, findings, and mistakes of others.
  • its general explanatory interest
  • the overall theoretical framework within which this interest is to be pursued
  • the model or hypotheses to be tested or the research questions to be answered
  • a discussion of the conceptual and operational properties of the variables
  • an overview of strategies for collecting appropriate evidence (sampling, instrumentation, data collection, data reduction, data analysis)
  • a discussion of how the evidence is to be interpreted (This aspect of the proposal will be somewhat different in fields such as history and philosophy of education.)
  • If applicable, students should complete a request for approval of research with human subjects, using the Human Subjects Review Form ( http://humansubjects.stanford.edu/ ). Except for pilot work, the University requires the approval of the Administrative Panel on Human Subjects in Behavioral Science Research before any data can be collected from human subjects.

Registration (i.e., enrollment) is required for any quarter during which a degree requirement is completed, including the dissertation proposal. Refer to the Registration or Enrollment for Milestone Completion section for more details.

As students progress through the program, their interests may change. There is no commitment on the part of the student’s advisor to automatically serve as the dissertation chair. Based on the student’s interests and the dissertation topic, many students approach other GSE professors to serve as the dissertation advisor, if appropriate.

A dissertation proposal committee is comprised of three academic council faculty members, one of whom will serve as the major dissertation advisor. Whether or not the student’s general program advisor serves on the dissertation proposal committee and later the reading committee will depend on the relevance of that faculty member’s expertise to the topic of the dissertation, and their availability. There is no requirement that a program advisor serve, although very often they do. Members of the dissertation proposal committee may be drawn from other area committees within the GSE, from other departments in the University, or from emeriti faculty. At least one person serving on the proposal committee must be from the student’s area committee (CTE, DAPS, SHIPS). All three members must be on the Academic Council; if the student desires the expertise of a non-Academic Council member, it may be possible to petition. After the hearing, a memorandum listing the changes to be made will be written and submitted with the signed proposal cover sheet and a copy of the proposal itself to the Doctoral Programs Officer.

Review and approval of the dissertation proposal occurs normally during the third year. The proposal hearing seeks to review the quality and feasibility of the proposal. The Second-Year Review and the Proposal Hearing are separate milestones and may not occur as part of the same hearing or meeting.

The student and the dissertation advisor are responsible for scheduling a formal meeting or hearing to review the proposal; the student and proposal committee convene for this evaluative period. Normally, all must be present at the meeting either in person or via conference phone call.

At the end of this meeting, the dissertation proposal committee members should sign the Cover Sheet for Dissertation Proposal and indicate their approval or rejection of the proposal. This signed form should be submitted to the Doctoral Programs Officer. If the student is required to make revisions, an addendum is required with the written approval of each member of the committee stating that the proposal has been revised to their satisfaction.

After submitting the Proposal Hearing material to the Doctoral Programs Officer, the student should make arrangements with three faculty members to serve on their Dissertation Reading Committee. The Doctoral Dissertation Reading Committee form should be completed and given to the Doctoral Programs Officer to enter in the University student records system. Note: The proposal hearing committee and the reading committee do not have to be the same three faculty members. Normally, the proposal hearing precedes the designation of a Dissertation Reading Committee, and faculty on either committee may differ (except for the primary dissertation advisor). However, some students may advance to Terminal Graduate Registration (TGR) status before completing their dissertation proposal hearing if they have established a dissertation reading committee. In these cases, it is acceptable for the student to form a reading committee prior to the dissertation proposal hearing. The reading committee then serves as the proposal committee.

The proposal and reading committee forms and related instructions are on the GSE website, under current students>forms.

Printing Credit for Use in GSE Labs

Upon completion of their doctoral dissertation proposal, GSE students are eligible for a $300 printing credit redeemable in any of the GSE computer labs where students are normally charged for print jobs. Only one $300 credit per student will be issued, but it is usable throughout the remainder of her or his doctoral program until the balance is exhausted. The print credit can be used only at the printers in Cubberley basement and CERAS, and cannot be used toward copying.

After submitting the signed dissertation proposal cover sheet to the Doctoral Programs Officer indicating approval (see above), students can submit a HELP SU ticket online at helpsu.stanford.edu to request the credit. When submitting the help ticket, the following should be selected from the drop-down menus for HELP SU:

Request Category :  Computer, Handhelds (PDAs), Printers, Servers Request Type :  Printer Operating System : (whatever system is used by the student, e.g., Windows XP.)

The help ticket will be routed to the GSE's IT Group for processing; they will in turn notify the student via email when the credit is available.

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Grad Coach

How To Write A Research Proposal

A Straightforward How-To Guide (With Examples)

By: Derek Jansen (MBA) | Reviewed By: Dr. Eunice Rautenbach | August 2019 (Updated April 2023)

Writing up a strong research proposal for a dissertation or thesis is much like a marriage proposal. It’s a task that calls on you to win somebody over and persuade them that what you’re planning is a great idea. An idea they’re happy to say ‘yes’ to. This means that your dissertation proposal needs to be   persuasive ,   attractive   and well-planned. In this post, I’ll show you how to write a winning dissertation proposal, from scratch.

Before you start:

– Understand exactly what a research proposal is – Ask yourself these 4 questions

The 5 essential ingredients:

  • The title/topic
  • The introduction chapter
  • The scope/delimitations
  • Preliminary literature review
  • Design/ methodology
  • Practical considerations and risks 

What Is A Research Proposal?

The research proposal is literally that: a written document that communicates what you propose to research, in a concise format. It’s where you put all that stuff that’s spinning around in your head down on to paper, in a logical, convincing fashion.

Convincing   is the keyword here, as your research proposal needs to convince the assessor that your research is   clearly articulated   (i.e., a clear research question) ,   worth doing   (i.e., is unique and valuable enough to justify the effort), and   doable   within the restrictions you’ll face (time limits, budget, skill limits, etc.). If your proposal does not address these three criteria, your research won’t be approved, no matter how “exciting” the research idea might be.

PS – if you’re completely new to proposal writing, we’ve got a detailed walkthrough video covering two successful research proposals here . 

Free Webinar: How To Write A Research Proposal

How do I know I’m ready?

Before starting the writing process, you need to   ask yourself 4 important questions .  If you can’t answer them succinctly and confidently, you’re not ready – you need to go back and think more deeply about your dissertation topic .

You should be able to answer the following 4 questions before starting your dissertation or thesis research proposal:

  • WHAT is my main research question? (the topic)
  • WHO cares and why is this important? (the justification)
  • WHAT data would I need to answer this question, and how will I analyse it? (the research design)
  • HOW will I manage the completion of this research, within the given timelines? (project and risk management)

If you can’t answer these questions clearly and concisely,   you’re not yet ready   to write your research proposal – revisit our   post on choosing a topic .

If you can, that’s great – it’s time to start writing up your dissertation proposal. Next, I’ll discuss what needs to go into your research proposal, and how to structure it all into an intuitive, convincing document with a linear narrative.

The 5 Essential Ingredients

Research proposals can vary in style between institutions and disciplines, but here I’ll share with you a   handy 5-section structure   you can use. These 5 sections directly address the core questions we spoke about earlier, ensuring that you present a convincing proposal. If your institution already provides a proposal template, there will likely be substantial overlap with this, so you’ll still get value from reading on.

For each section discussed below, make sure you use headers and sub-headers (ideally, numbered headers) to help the reader navigate through your document, and to support them when they need to revisit a previous section. Don’t just present an endless wall of text, paragraph after paragraph after paragraph…

Top Tip:   Use MS Word Styles to format headings. This will allow you to be clear about whether a sub-heading is level 2, 3, or 4. Additionally, you can view your document in ‘outline view’ which will show you only your headings. This makes it much easier to check your structure, shift things around and make decisions about where a section needs to sit. You can also generate a 100% accurate table of contents using Word’s automatic functionality.

doctoral dissertation proposal presentation

Ingredient #1 – Topic/Title Header

Your research proposal’s title should be your main research question in its simplest form, possibly with a sub-heading providing basic details on the specifics of the study. For example:

“Compliance with equality legislation in the charity sector: a study of the ‘reasonable adjustments’ made in three London care homes”

As you can see, this title provides a clear indication of what the research is about, in broad terms. It paints a high-level picture for the first-time reader, which gives them a taste of what to expect.   Always aim for a clear, concise title . Don’t feel the need to capture every detail of your research in your title – your proposal will fill in the gaps.

Need a helping hand?

doctoral dissertation proposal presentation

Ingredient #2 – Introduction

In this section of your research proposal, you’ll expand on what you’ve communicated in the title, by providing a few paragraphs which offer more detail about your research topic. Importantly, the focus here is the   topic   – what will you research and why is that worth researching? This is not the place to discuss methodology, practicalities, etc. – you’ll do that later.

You should cover the following:

  • An overview of the   broad area   you’ll be researching – introduce the reader to key concepts and language
  • An explanation of the   specific (narrower) area   you’ll be focusing, and why you’ll be focusing there
  • Your research   aims   and   objectives
  • Your   research question (s) and sub-questions (if applicable)

Importantly, you should aim to use short sentences and plain language – don’t babble on with extensive jargon, acronyms and complex language. Assume that the reader is an intelligent layman – not a subject area specialist (even if they are). Remember that the   best writing is writing that can be easily understood   and digested. Keep it simple.

The introduction section serves to expand on the  research topic – what will you study and why is that worth dedicating time and effort to?

Note that some universities may want some extra bits and pieces in your introduction section. For example, personal development objectives, a structural outline, etc. Check your brief to see if there are any other details they expect in your proposal, and make sure you find a place for these.

Ingredient #3 – Scope

Next, you’ll need to specify what the scope of your research will be – this is also known as the delimitations . In other words, you need to make it clear what you will be covering and, more importantly, what you won’t be covering in your research. Simply put, this is about ring fencing your research topic so that you have a laser-sharp focus.

All too often, students feel the need to go broad and try to address as many issues as possible, in the interest of producing comprehensive research. Whilst this is admirable, it’s a mistake. By tightly refining your scope, you’ll enable yourself to   go deep   with your research, which is what you need to earn good marks. If your scope is too broad, you’re likely going to land up with superficial research (which won’t earn marks), so don’t be afraid to narrow things down.

Ingredient #4 – Literature Review

In this section of your research proposal, you need to provide a (relatively) brief discussion of the existing literature. Naturally, this will not be as comprehensive as the literature review in your actual dissertation, but it will lay the foundation for that. In fact, if you put in the effort at this stage, you’ll make your life a lot easier when it’s time to write your actual literature review chapter.

There are a few things you need to achieve in this section:

  • Demonstrate that you’ve done your reading and are   familiar with the current state of the research   in your topic area.
  • Show that   there’s a clear gap   for your specific research – i.e., show that your topic is sufficiently unique and will add value to the existing research.
  • Show how the existing research has shaped your thinking regarding   research design . For example, you might use scales or questionnaires from previous studies.

When you write up your literature review, keep these three objectives front of mind, especially number two (revealing the gap in the literature), so that your literature review has a   clear purpose and direction . Everything you write should be contributing towards one (or more) of these objectives in some way. If it doesn’t, you need to ask yourself whether it’s truly needed.

Top Tip:  Don’t fall into the trap of just describing the main pieces of literature, for example, “A says this, B says that, C also says that…” and so on. Merely describing the literature provides no value. Instead, you need to   synthesise   it, and use it to address the three objectives above.

 If you put in the effort at the proposal stage, you’ll make your life a lot easier when its time to write your actual literature review chapter.

Ingredient #5 – Research Methodology

Now that you’ve clearly explained both your intended research topic (in the introduction) and the existing research it will draw on (in the literature review section), it’s time to get practical and explain exactly how you’ll be carrying out your own research. In other words, your research methodology.

In this section, you’ll need to   answer two critical questions :

  • How   will you design your research? I.e., what research methodology will you adopt, what will your sample be, how will you collect data, etc.
  • Why   have you chosen this design? I.e., why does this approach suit your specific research aims, objectives and questions?

In other words, this is not just about explaining WHAT you’ll be doing, it’s also about explaining WHY. In fact, the   justification is the most important part , because that justification is how you demonstrate a good understanding of research design (which is what assessors want to see).

Some essential design choices you need to cover in your research proposal include:

  • Your intended research philosophy (e.g., positivism, interpretivism or pragmatism )
  • What methodological approach you’ll be taking (e.g., qualitative , quantitative or mixed )
  • The details of your sample (e.g., sample size, who they are, who they represent, etc.)
  • What data you plan to collect (i.e. data about what, in what form?)
  • How you plan to collect it (e.g., surveys , interviews , focus groups, etc.)
  • How you plan to analyse it (e.g., regression analysis, thematic analysis , etc.)
  • Ethical adherence (i.e., does this research satisfy all ethical requirements of your institution, or does it need further approval?)

This list is not exhaustive – these are just some core attributes of research design. Check with your institution what level of detail they expect. The “ research onion ” by Saunders et al (2009) provides a good summary of the various design choices you ultimately need to make – you can   read more about that here .

Don’t forget the practicalities…

In addition to the technical aspects, you will need to address the   practical   side of the project. In other words, you need to explain   what resources you’ll need   (e.g., time, money, access to equipment or software, etc.) and how you intend to secure these resources. You need to show that your project is feasible, so any “make or break” type resources need to already be secured. The success or failure of your project cannot depend on some resource which you’re not yet sure you have access to.

Another part of the practicalities discussion is   project and risk management . In other words, you need to show that you have a clear project plan to tackle your research with. Some key questions to address:

  • What are the timelines for each phase of your project?
  • Are the time allocations reasonable?
  • What happens if something takes longer than anticipated (risk management)?
  • What happens if you don’t get the response rate you expect?

A good way to demonstrate that you’ve thought this through is to include a Gantt chart and a risk register (in the appendix if word count is a problem). With these two tools, you can show that you’ve got a clear, feasible plan, and you’ve thought about and accounted for the potential risks.

Gantt chart

Tip – Be honest about the potential difficulties – but show that you are anticipating solutions and workarounds. This is much more impressive to an assessor than an unrealistically optimistic proposal which does not anticipate any challenges whatsoever.

Final Touches: Read And Simplify

The final step is to edit and proofread your proposal – very carefully. It sounds obvious, but all too often poor editing and proofreading ruin a good proposal. Nothing is more off-putting for an assessor than a poorly edited, typo-strewn document. It sends the message that you either do not pay attention to detail, or just don’t care. Neither of these are good messages. Put the effort into editing and proofreading your proposal (or pay someone to do it for you) – it will pay dividends.

When you’re editing, watch out for ‘academese’. Many students can speak simply, passionately and clearly about their dissertation topic – but become incomprehensible the moment they turn the laptop on. You are not required to write in any kind of special, formal, complex language when you write academic work. Sure, there may be technical terms, jargon specific to your discipline, shorthand terms and so on. But, apart from those,   keep your written language very close to natural spoken language   – just as you would speak in the classroom. Imagine that you are explaining your project plans to your classmates or a family member. Remember, write for the intelligent layman, not the subject matter experts. Plain-language, concise writing is what wins hearts and minds – and marks!

Let’s Recap: Research Proposal 101

And there you have it – how to write your dissertation or thesis research proposal, from the title page to the final proof. Here’s a quick recap of the key takeaways:

  • The purpose of the research proposal is to   convince   – therefore, you need to make a clear, concise argument of why your research is both worth doing and doable.
  • Make sure you can ask the critical what, who, and how questions of your research   before   you put pen to paper.
  • Title – provides the first taste of your research, in broad terms
  • Introduction – explains what you’ll be researching in more detail
  • Scope – explains the boundaries of your research
  • Literature review – explains how your research fits into the existing research and why it’s unique and valuable
  • Research methodology – explains and justifies how you will carry out your own research

Hopefully, this post has helped you better understand how to write up a winning research proposal. If you enjoyed it, be sure to check out the rest of the Grad Coach Blog . If your university doesn’t provide any template for your proposal, you might want to try out our free research proposal template .

Literature Review Course

Psst… there’s more!

This post is an extract from our bestselling Udemy Course, Research Proposal Bootcamp . If you want to work smart, you don't want to miss this .

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How to write the discussion chapter


Mazwakhe Mkhulisi

Thank you so much for the valuable insight that you have given, especially on the research proposal. That is what I have managed to cover. I still need to go back to the other parts as I got disturbed while still listening to Derek’s audio on you-tube. I am inspired. I will definitely continue with Grad-coach guidance on You-tube.

Derek Jansen

Thanks for the kind words :). All the best with your proposal.


First of all, thanks a lot for making such a wonderful presentation. The video was really useful and gave me a very clear insight of how a research proposal has to be written. I shall try implementing these ideas in my RP.

Once again, I thank you for this content.

Bonginkosi Mshengu

I found reading your outline on writing research proposal very beneficial. I wish there was a way of submitting my draft proposal to you guys for critiquing before I submit to the institution.

Hi Bonginkosi

Thank you for the kind words. Yes, we do provide a review service. The best starting point is to have a chat with one of our coaches here: https://gradcoach.com/book/new/ .

Erick Omondi

Hello team GRADCOACH, may God bless you so much. I was totally green in research. Am so happy for your free superb tutorials and resources. Once again thank you so much Derek and his team.

You’re welcome, Erick. Good luck with your research proposal 🙂


thank you for the information. its precise and on point.

Nighat Nighat Ahsan

Really a remarkable piece of writing and great source of guidance for the researchers. GOD BLESS YOU for your guidance. Regards

Delfina Celeste Danca Rangel

Thanks so much for your guidance. It is easy and comprehensive the way you explain the steps for a winning research proposal.

Desiré Forku

Thank you guys so much for the rich post. I enjoyed and learn from every word in it. My problem now is how to get into your platform wherein I can always seek help on things related to my research work ? Secondly, I wish to find out if there is a way I can send my tentative proposal to you guys for examination before I take to my supervisor Once again thanks very much for the insights

Thanks for your kind words, Desire.

If you are based in a country where Grad Coach’s paid services are available, you can book a consultation by clicking the “Book” button in the top right.

Best of luck with your studies.


May God bless you team for the wonderful work you are doing,

If I have a topic, Can I submit it to you so that you can draft a proposal for me?? As I am expecting to go for masters degree in the near future.

Thanks for your comment. We definitely cannot draft a proposal for you, as that would constitute academic misconduct. The proposal needs to be your own work. We can coach you through the process, but it needs to be your own work and your own writing.

Best of luck with your research!

kenate Akuma

I found a lot of many essential concepts from your material. it is real a road map to write a research proposal. so thanks a lot. If there is any update material on your hand on MBA please forward to me.

Ahmed Khalil

GradCoach is a professional website that presents support and helps for MBA student like me through the useful online information on the page and with my 1-on-1 online coaching with the amazing and professional PhD Kerryen.

Thank you Kerryen so much for the support and help 🙂

I really recommend dealing with such a reliable services provider like Gradcoah and a coach like Kerryen.


Hi, Am happy for your service and effort to help students and researchers, Please, i have been given an assignment on research for strategic development, the task one is to formulate a research proposal to support the strategic development of a business area, my issue here is how to go about it, especially the topic or title and introduction. Please, i would like to know if you could help me and how much is the charge.

Marcos A. López Figueroa

This content is practical, valuable, and just great!

Thank you very much!

Eric Rwigamba

Hi Derek, Thank you for the valuable presentation. It is very helpful especially for beginners like me. I am just starting my PhD.


This is quite instructive and research proposal made simple. Can I have a research proposal template?

Mathew Yokie Musa

Great! Thanks for rescuing me, because I had no former knowledge in this topic. But with this piece of information, I am now secured. Thank you once more.

Chulekazi Bula

I enjoyed listening to your video on how to write a proposal. I think I will be able to write a winning proposal with your advice. I wish you were to be my supervisor.

Mohammad Ajmal Shirzad

Dear Derek Jansen,

Thank you for your great content. I couldn’t learn these topics in MBA, but now I learned from GradCoach. Really appreciate your efforts….

From Afghanistan!

Mulugeta Yilma

I have got very essential inputs for startup of my dissertation proposal. Well organized properly communicated with video presentation. Thank you for the presentation.

Siphesihle Macu

Wow, this is absolutely amazing guys. Thank you so much for the fruitful presentation, you’ve made my research much easier.


this helps me a lot. thank you all so much for impacting in us. may god richly bless you all

June Pretzer

How I wish I’d learn about Grad Coach earlier. I’ve been stumbling around writing and rewriting! Now I have concise clear directions on how to put this thing together. Thank you!


Fantastic!! Thank You for this very concise yet comprehensive guidance.

Fikiru Bekele

Even if I am poor in English I would like to thank you very much.

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  • Introduction for Types of Dissertations
  • Overview of the Dissertation
  • Self-Assessment Exercise
  • What is a Dissertation Committee
  • Different Types of Dissertations
  • Introduction for Overview of the Dissertation Process
  • Responsibilities: the Chair, the Team and You
  • Sorting Exercise
  • Stages of a Dissertation
  • Managing Your Time
  • Create Your Own Timeline
  • Working with a Writing Partner
  • Key Deadlines
  • Self Assessment Exercise
  • Additional Resources
  • Purpose and Goals
  • Read and Evaluate Chapter 1 Exemplars
  • Draft an Introduction of the Study
  • Outline the Background of the Problem
  • Draft your Statement of the Problem
  • Draft your Purpose of the Study
  • Draft your Significance of the Study
  • List the Possible Limitations and Delimitations
  • Explicate the Definition of Terms
  • Outline the Organization of the Study
  • Recommended Resources and Readings
  • Purpose of the Literature Review
  • What is the Literature?
  • Article Summary Table
  • Writing a Short Literature Review
  • Outline for Literature Review
  • Synthesizing the Literature Review
  • Purpose of the Methodology Chapter
  • Topics to Include
  • Preparing to Write the Methodology Chapter
  • Confidentiality
  • Building the Components for Chapter Three
  • Preparing for Your Qualifying Exam (aka Proposal Defense)
  • What is Needed for Your Proposal Defense?
  • Submitting Your Best Draft
  • Preparing Your Abstract for IRB
  • Use of Self-Assessment
  • Preparing Your PowerPoint
  • During Your Proposal Defense
  • After Your Proposal Defense
  • Pre-observation – Issues to consider
  • During Observations
  • Wrapping Up
  • Recommended Resources and Readings (Qualitative)
  • Quantitative Data Collection
  • Recommended Resources and Readings (Quantitative)
  • Qualitative: Before you Start
  • Qualitative: During Analysis
  • Qualitative: After Analysis
  • Qualitative: Recommended Resources and Readings
  • Quantitative: Deciding on the Right Analysis
  • Quantitative: Data Management and Cleaning
  • Quantitative: Keep Track of your Analysis
  • The Purpose of Chapter 4
  • The Elements of Chapter 4
  • Presenting Results (Quantitative)
  • Presenting Findings (Qualitative)
  • Chapter 4 Considerations
  • The Purpose of Chapter 5
  • Preparing Your Abstract for the Graduate School
  • Draft the Introduction for Chapter 5
  • Draft the Summary of Findings
  • Draft Implications for Practice
  • Draft your Recommendations for Research
  • Draft your Conclusions
  • What is Needed
  • What Happens During the Final Defense?
  • What Happens After the Final Defense?

Preparing Your PowerPoint Topic 3:  Preparing for Defense

  • Statement of the Problem (1 slide)
  • Literature Review (1 slide)
  • Purpose of the Study (1 slide)
  • Research Question(s) (1 slide)
  • Sample and Population/ Instrumentation (1 slide)
  • Data Collection/ Data Analysis (1 slide)
  • Your research questions and findings (1 slide per question)
  • Implications for Practice (1 slide)
  • Recommendations for Research (1 slide) 
  • Review Abstract (1 slide)
  • Thank You/Questions (1 slide)

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  • Dissertation

How to Write a Dissertation Proposal | A Step-by-Step Guide

Published on 14 February 2020 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on 11 November 2022.

A dissertation proposal describes the research you want to do: what it’s about, how you’ll conduct it, and why it’s worthwhile. You will probably have to write a proposal before starting your dissertation as an undergraduate or postgraduate student.

A dissertation proposal should generally include:

  • An introduction to your topic and aims
  • A literature review  of the current state of knowledge
  • An outline of your proposed methodology
  • A discussion of the possible implications of the research
  • A bibliography  of relevant sources

Dissertation proposals vary a lot in terms of length and structure, so make sure to follow any guidelines given to you by your institution, and check with your supervisor when you’re unsure.

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Table of contents

Step 1: coming up with an idea, step 2: presenting your idea in the introduction, step 3: exploring related research in the literature review, step 4: describing your methodology, step 5: outlining the potential implications of your research, step 6: creating a reference list or bibliography.

Before writing your proposal, it’s important to come up with a strong idea for your dissertation.

Find an area of your field that interests you and do some preliminary reading in that area. What are the key concerns of other researchers? What do they suggest as areas for further research, and what strikes you personally as an interesting gap in the field?

Once you have an idea, consider how to narrow it down and the best way to frame it. Don’t be too ambitious or too vague – a dissertation topic needs to be specific enough to be feasible. Move from a broad field of interest to a specific niche:

  • Russian literature 19th century Russian literature The novels of Tolstoy and Dostoevsky
  • Social media Mental health effects of social media Influence of social media on young adults suffering from anxiety

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Like most academic texts, a dissertation proposal begins with an introduction . This is where you introduce the topic of your research, provide some background, and most importantly, present your aim , objectives and research question(s) .

Try to dive straight into your chosen topic: What’s at stake in your research? Why is it interesting? Don’t spend too long on generalisations or grand statements:

  • Social media is the most important technological trend of the 21st century. It has changed the world and influences our lives every day.
  • Psychologists generally agree that the ubiquity of social media in the lives of young adults today has a profound impact on their mental health. However, the exact nature of this impact needs further investigation.

Once your area of research is clear, you can present more background and context. What does the reader need to know to understand your proposed questions? What’s the current state of research on this topic, and what will your dissertation contribute to the field?

If you’re including a literature review, you don’t need to go into too much detail at this point, but give the reader a general sense of the debates that you’re intervening in.

This leads you into the most important part of the introduction: your aim, objectives and research question(s) . These should be clearly identifiable and stand out from the text – for example, you could present them using bullet points or bold font.

Make sure that your research questions are specific and workable – something you can reasonably answer within the scope of your dissertation. Avoid being too broad or having too many different questions. Remember that your goal in a dissertation proposal is to convince the reader that your research is valuable and feasible:

  • Does social media harm mental health?
  • What is the impact of daily social media use on 18– to 25–year–olds suffering from general anxiety disorder?

Now that your topic is clear, it’s time to explore existing research covering similar ideas. This is important because it shows you what is missing from other research in the field and ensures that you’re not asking a question someone else has already answered.

You’ve probably already done some preliminary reading, but now that your topic is more clearly defined, you need to thoroughly analyse and evaluate the most relevant sources in your literature review .

Here you should summarise the findings of other researchers and comment on gaps and problems in their studies. There may be a lot of research to cover, so make effective use of paraphrasing to write concisely:

  • Smith and Prakash state that ‘our results indicate a 25% decrease in the incidence of mechanical failure after the new formula was applied’.
  • Smith and Prakash’s formula reduced mechanical failures by 25%.

The point is to identify findings and theories that will influence your own research, but also to highlight gaps and limitations in previous research which your dissertation can address:

  • Subsequent research has failed to replicate this result, however, suggesting a flaw in Smith and Prakash’s methods. It is likely that the failure resulted from…

Next, you’ll describe your proposed methodology : the specific things you hope to do, the structure of your research and the methods that you will use to gather and analyse data.

You should get quite specific in this section – you need to convince your supervisor that you’ve thought through your approach to the research and can realistically carry it out. This section will look quite different, and vary in length, depending on your field of study.

You may be engaged in more empirical research, focusing on data collection and discovering new information, or more theoretical research, attempting to develop a new conceptual model or add nuance to an existing one.

Dissertation research often involves both, but the content of your methodology section will vary according to how important each approach is to your dissertation.

Empirical research

Empirical research involves collecting new data and analysing it in order to answer your research questions. It can be quantitative (focused on numbers), qualitative (focused on words and meanings), or a combination of both.

With empirical research, it’s important to describe in detail how you plan to collect your data:

  • Will you use surveys ? A lab experiment ? Interviews?
  • What variables will you measure?
  • How will you select a representative sample ?
  • If other people will participate in your research, what measures will you take to ensure they are treated ethically?
  • What tools (conceptual and physical) will you use, and why?

It’s appropriate to cite other research here. When you need to justify your choice of a particular research method or tool, for example, you can cite a text describing the advantages and appropriate usage of that method.

Don’t overdo this, though; you don’t need to reiterate the whole theoretical literature, just what’s relevant to the choices you have made.

Moreover, your research will necessarily involve analysing the data after you have collected it. Though you don’t know yet what the data will look like, it’s important to know what you’re looking for and indicate what methods (e.g. statistical tests , thematic analysis ) you will use.

Theoretical research

You can also do theoretical research that doesn’t involve original data collection. In this case, your methodology section will focus more on the theory you plan to work with in your dissertation: relevant conceptual models and the approach you intend to take.

For example, a literary analysis dissertation rarely involves collecting new data, but it’s still necessary to explain the theoretical approach that will be taken to the text(s) under discussion, as well as which parts of the text(s) you will focus on:

  • This dissertation will utilise Foucault’s theory of panopticism to explore the theme of surveillance in Orwell’s 1984 and Kafka’s The Trial…

Here, you may refer to the same theorists you have already discussed in the literature review. In this case, the emphasis is placed on how you plan to use their contributions in your own research.

You’ll usually conclude your dissertation proposal with a section discussing what you expect your research to achieve.

You obviously can’t be too sure: you don’t know yet what your results and conclusions will be. Instead, you should describe the projected implications and contribution to knowledge of your dissertation.

First, consider the potential implications of your research. Will you:

  • Develop or test a theory?
  • Provide new information to governments or businesses?
  • Challenge a commonly held belief?
  • Suggest an improvement to a specific process?

Describe the intended result of your research and the theoretical or practical impact it will have:

Finally, it’s sensible to conclude by briefly restating the contribution to knowledge you hope to make: the specific question(s) you hope to answer and the gap the answer(s) will fill in existing knowledge:

Like any academic text, it’s important that your dissertation proposal effectively references all the sources you have used. You need to include a properly formatted reference list or bibliography at the end of your proposal.

Different institutions recommend different styles of referencing – commonly used styles include Harvard , Vancouver , APA , or MHRA . If your department does not have specific requirements, choose a style and apply it consistently.

A reference list includes only the sources that you cited in your proposal. A bibliography is slightly different: it can include every source you consulted in preparing the proposal, even if you didn’t mention it in the text. In the case of a dissertation proposal, a bibliography may also list relevant sources that you haven’t yet read, but that you intend to use during the research itself.

Check with your supervisor what type of bibliography or reference list you should include.

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Caulfield, J. (2022, November 11). How to Write a Dissertation Proposal | A Step-by-Step Guide. Scribbr. Retrieved 25 March 2024, from https://www.scribbr.co.uk/thesis-dissertation/proposal/

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PhD Dissertation Defense Slides Design: Tips for designing the slides

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General tips for slide design

Use a plain background, for engineering, a plain, white background is generally ideal for dissertation proposals and defenses. don't pick a template that is too busy and distracting.,     , remember to add p age numbers, having page numbers in your slides will allow your advisors and peers to give comments. during your presentation, the committee members can use page numbers to reference specific slides for their questions. .

doctoral dissertation proposal presentation

Less is more

Don't put too many words on one slide (no more than 20 words per slide, in general)., when words are inevitable, highlight the keywords in each sentence (see examples from i. daniel posen's and l. cook's slides).

doctoral dissertation proposal presentation

Take advantage of animations

Use animations to explain complicated ideas in figures, tables, etc. you can use different slides instead of the animation functions in ms powerpoint; it will avoid overlapping text boxes or pictures when converted to pdf. , below is an example from c. kolb's defense slides. by a step-by-step revealing process, kolb was able to explain each detail without the distraction of other results. .

doctoral dissertation proposal presentation

Write down your notes 

Write down your notes with either bullet points or full sentences as a script. this can help you to remember what you want to say during your defense. when you are practicing, you won't have to come up with new things to say every time and won't forget what you planned to talk about. .

doctoral dissertation proposal presentation

Example 1: slide with notes - exact words to say (C. Mailings 2017)                                               Example 2: slide with notes - bullet points (I. D. Posen 2016) 

Be smart about the title of each slide

Use descriptive language to summarize the key point of the slide, and avoid using vague terms or the same title for several slides that have different contents..

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The Ultimate Guide to Preparing Your PhD Dissertation Defense Presentation

January 12, 2023

The Ultimate Guide for Preparing Your PhD Dissertation Defense Presentation

Chances are, you’ve been waiting years for this moment: preparing your PhD dissertation defense.

You’ve made it this far in your doctorate journey, so you’ll really want to nail the final thing standing between you and your PhD.

We’ll break down everything you need to know, from what the dissertation defense is to how to prepare and more importantly, succeed.

Here’s our ultimate guide for preparing for your PhD dissertation defense.

What Is a PhD Dissertation Defense Presentation?

A PhD dissertation defense is your chance to defend your work in front of the academics analyzing your research. You might also hear this called a “thesis defense.” 

Although the thought of having experts critique you in a cross-examination setting, a dissertation defense is just an opportunity for you to show off your best work .

What Is a PhD Dissertation Committee?

A PhD dissertation committee is a group you assemble to guide you through the dissertation process, from preparation to the revision of your dissertation. 

You choose the members of the committee after all the academic work is finalized. Usually, members will be trusted faculty — people you know well who you might consider a mentor. 

How to Prepare for Your PhD Dissertation Defense Presentation

Preparing for your PhD dissertation defense doesn’t have to be stressful. 

Try using Yoodli , an AI-powered speech coach that analyzes your speaking patterns and identifies areas in which you can improve. By practicing your dissertation defense presentation through Yoodli, you’ll be able to not only improve your speaking, but boost your confidence as well. 

For example, you can take an in-depth look at the filler words you use, including which ones come up the most often and precisely how often they come up.

The Ultimate Guide for Preparing Your PhD Dissertation Defense Presentation

Here are three more tips for preparing your PhD dissertation defense.

1. Don’t wait around.

One of the best things you can do for yourself when preparing your PhD dissertation defense is to start the work early. You won’t regret starting “too early” like you would regret starting the preparation too late in the game. 

Designing your presentation slides will take time and isn’t something you can slap together in a pinch. Right after your thesis is finalized, start on the slides. Your aim is to impress the committee with a thought-out, clear presentation that presents your work in a good light.

2. Practice, practice, practice.

It doesn’t matter how confident or comfortable you are with regard to your work and the actual PhD dissertation defense — you need to practice like your life depends on it. 

Be sure to practice not only the presentation, but also your body language, like hand gestures . You don’t want to seem too stiff or anxious during your dissertation defense, and practicing all these elements at once gives you an idea of what you need to work on. 

You’ll also want to work on your tone, to make sure you don’t come off as sounding monotonic . You want the committee members to feel interested and engaged. 

Taking one of Yoodli’s free public speaking courses — such as the fundamentals of public speaking — can also build on your confidence and make you feel more comfortable during the dissertation defense. 

Check out Yoodli’s 10-minute course here:

3. Check out other candidates’ presentations.

Sometimes, universities will offer open PhD dissertation defense presentations. If your university is one of them, it’s a great idea to attend a few . If your university doesn’t offer open dissertation presentations, check out other local universities that might offer these.

Watching other candidates’ presentations can help you not only get a firsthand look at how a presentation should (or shouldn’t!) go, but also to affirm that dissertation defense presentations aren’t as awful and scary as you might think they are. You might even get some insight or a few ideas for your own presentation while you’re at it.

The Bottom Line

Preparing for your PhD dissertation defense presentation doesn’t have to be overwhelming. After all, it’s all part of your doctorate journey . With preparation and practice, you can use this opportunity to shine and show off your best work. 

Start practicing with Yoodli.

Getting better at speaking is getting easier. Record or upload a speech and let our AI Speech Coach analyze your speaking and give you feedback.

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How to nail your PhD proposal and get accepted

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A good PhD research proposal may be the deciding factor between acceptance and approval into your desired program or finding yourself back at the drawing board. Being accepted for a PhD placement is no easy task, and this is why your PhD proposal needs to truly stand out among a sea of submissions.

That’s why a PhD research proposal is important: It formally outlines the intended research, including methodology, timeline, feasibility, and many other factors that need to be taken into consideration.

Here is a closer look at the PhD proposal process and what it should look like.


Key takeaways

  • A PhD proposal summarizes the research project you intend to conduct as part of your PhD program.
  • These proposals are relatively short (1000-2000 words), and should include all basic information and project goals, including the methodologies/strategies you intend to use in order to accomplish them.
  • Formats are varied. You may be able to create your own formats, but your college or university may have a required document structure that you should follow.

What is a PhD proposal?

In short, a PhD research proposal is a summary of the project you intend to undertake as part of your PhD program.

It should pose a specific question or idea, make a case for the research, and explain the predicted outcomes of that research.

However, while your PhD proposal may predict expected outcomes, it won’t fully answer your questions for the reader.

Your research into the topic will provide that answer.

Usually, a PhD proposal contains the following elements:

  • A clear question that you intend to answer through copious amounts of study and research.
  • Your plan to answer that question, including any methodologies, frameworks, and resources required to adequately find the answer.
  • Why your question or project is significant to your specific field of study.
  • How your proposal impacts, challenges, or improves the existing body of knowledge around a given topic.
  • Why your work is important and why you should be the one to receive this opportunity.

In terms of length when writing a PhD proposal, there isn’t a universal answer.

Some institutions will require a short, concise proposal (1000 words), while others allow for a greater amount of flexibility in the length and format of the proposal.

Fortunately, most institutions will provide some guidelines regarding the format and length of your research proposal, so you should have a strong idea of your requirements before you begin.

Benefits of a strong PhD application

While the most obvious benefit of having a strong PhD application is being accepted to the PhD program , there are other reasons to build the strongest PhD application you can:

Better funding opportunities

Many PhD programs offer funding to students , which can be used to cover tuition fees and may provide a stipend for living expenses.

The stronger your PhD application, the better your chances of being offered funding opportunities that can alleviate financial burdens and allow you to focus on your research.

Enhanced academic credentials

A strong PhD application, particularly in hot-button areas of study, can lead to better career opportunities in academics or across a variety of industries.

Opportunities for networking and research

Research proposals that are very well grounded can provide footholds to networking opportunities and mentorships that would not be otherwise available.

However, creating an incredible proposal isn’t always easy.

In fact, it’s easy to get confused by the process since it requires a lot of procedural information.

Many institutions also place a heavy emphasis on using the correct proposal structure.

That doesn’t have to be the issue, though.

Often, pre-designed templates, like the PandaDoc research proposal templates or PhD proposal templates provided by the institution of your choice, can do most of the heavy lifting for you.

doctoral dissertation proposal presentation

Research Proposal Template

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How to write a Phd proposal with a clear structure

We know that the prospect of writing a research proposal for PhD admission may appear the stuff of nightmares. Even more so if you are new to producing a piece such as this.

But, when you get down to the nitty gritty of what it is, it really isn’t so intimidating. When writing your PhD proposal you need to show that your PhD is worth it, achievable, and that you have the ability to do it at your chosen university.

With all of that in mind, let’s take a closer look at each section of a standard PhD research proposal and the overall structure.

1. Front matter

The first pages of your PhD proposal should outline the basic information about the project. That will include each of the following:

Project title

Typically placed on the first page, your title should be engaging enough to attract attention and clear enough that readers will understand what you’re trying to achieve.

Many proposals also include a secondary headline to further (concisely) clarify the main concept.

Contact information

Depending on the instructions provided by your institution, you may need to include your basic contact information with your proposal.

Some institutions may ask for blind submissions and ask that you omit identifying information, so check the program guidelines to be sure.

Research supervisor

If you already have a supervisor for the project, you’ll typically want to list that information.

Someone who is established in the field can add credibility to your proposal, particularly if your project requires extensive funding or has special considerations.

The guidelines from your PhD program should provide some guidance regarding any other auxiliary information that you should add to the front of your proposal.

Be sure to check all documentation to ensure that everything fits into the designated format.

2. Goals, summaries, and objectives

Once you’ve added the basic information to your document, you’ll need to get into the meat of your PhD proposal.

Depending on your institution, your research proposal may need to follow a rigid format or you may have the flexibility to add various sections and fully explain your concepts.

These sections will primarily be focused on providing high-level overviews surrounding your PhD proposal, including most of the following:

Overall aims, objectives, and goals

In these sections, you’ll need to state plainly what you aim to accomplish with your PhD research.

If awarded funding, what questions will your PHd proposal seek to answer? What theories will you test? What concepts will you explore in your research?

Briefly, how would you summarize your approach to this project?

Provide high-level summaries detailing how you mean to achieve your answers, what the predicted outcomes of your PhD research might be, and precisely what you intend to test or discover.


Why does your research matter? Unlike with many other forms of academic study (such as a master’s thesis ), doctorate-level research often pushes the bounds of specific fields or contributes to a given body of work in some unique way.

How will your proposed PhD research do those things?

Background details

Because PhD research is about pushing boundaries, adding background context regarding the current state of affairs in your given field can help readers better understand why you want to pursue this research and how you arrived at this specific point of interest.

While the information here may (or may not) be broken into multiple sections, the content here is largely designed to provide a high-level overview of your PhD proposal and entice readers to dig deeper into the methodologies and angles of approach in future sections.

Because so much of this section relies on the remainder of your document, it’s sometimes better to skip this portion of the PhD proposal until the later sections are complete and then circle back to it.

That way, you can provide concise summaries that refer to fully defined research methods that you’ve already explained in subsequent areas.

3. Methodologies and plans

Unlike a master’s thesis or a similar academic document, PhD research is designed to push the boundaries of its subject matter in some way.

The idea behind doctoral research is to expand the field with new insights and viewpoints that are the culmination of years of research and study, combined with a deep familiarity of the topic at hand.

The methodologies and work plans you provide will give advisors some insights into how you plan to conduct your research.

While there is no one right way to develop this section, you’ll need to include a few key details:

Research methods

Are there specific research methods you plan to use to conduct your PhD research?

Are you conducting experiments? Conducting qualitative research? Surveying specific individuals in a given environment?

Benefits and drawbacks of your approach

Regardless of your approach to your topic, there will be upsides and downsides to that methodology.

Explain what you feel are the primary benefits to your research method, where there are potential flaws, and how you plan to account for those shortfalls.

Choice of methodology

Why did you choose a given methodology?

What makes it the best method (or collection of methods) for your research and/or specific use case?

Outline of proposed work

What work is required for PhD research to be complete?

What steps will you need to take in order to capture the appropriate information? How will you complete those steps?

Schedule of work (including timelines/deadlines)

How long will it take you to complete each stage or step of your project?

If your PhDproject will take several years, you may need to provide specifics for more immediate timelines up front while future deadlines may be flexible or estimated.

There is some flexibility here.

It’s unlikely that your advisors will expect you to have the answer for every question regarding how you plan to approach your body of research.

When trying to push the boundaries of any given topic, it’s expected that some things may not go to plan.

However, you should do your best to make timelines and schedules of work that are consistent with your listed goals.

Remember : At the end of your work, you are expected to have a body of original research that is complete within the scope and limitations of the PhD proposal you set forth.

If your advisors feel that your subject matter is too broad, they may encourage you to narrow the scope to better fit into more standardized expectations.

4. Resources and citations

No PhD research proposal is complete without a full list of the resources required to carry out the project and references to help prove and validate the research.

Here’s a closer look at what you’ll need to submit in order to explain costs and prove the validity of your proposal:

Estimated costs and resources

Most doctoral programs offer some level of funding for these projects.

To take advantage of those funds, you’ll need to submit a budget of estimated costs so that assessors can better understand the financial requirements.

This might include equipment, expenses for fieldwork or travel, and more.

Citations and bibliographies

No matter your field of study, doctoral research is built on the data and observations provided by past contributors.

Because of this, you’ll need to provide citations and sources referenced in your PhD proposal documentation.

Particularly when it comes to finances and funding, it might be tempting to downplay the cost of the project.

However, it’s best to provide a realistic estimate in terms of costs so that you have enough of a budget to cover the PhD research.

Adjustments can be made at a later date, particularly as you conduct more research and dive further into the project.

Resources are often presented in the form of a table to make things easier to track and identify.

Using PhD proposal templates

Aside from any guidelines set forth by your institution, there are no particularly strict rules when it comes to the format of PhD proposals.

Your supervisor will be more than capable of guiding you through the process.

However, since everything is so structured and formal, you might want to use a PhD proposal template to help you get started.

Templates can help you stay on track and make sure your research proposal follows a certain logic.

A lot of proposal software solutions offer templates for different types of proposals, including PhD proposals.

But, should you use Phd proposal templates? Here are some pros and cons to help you make a decision.

  • Expedites the proposal process.
  • Helps you jumpstart the process with a flexible document structure.
  • Often provides sections with pre-filled examples.
  • Looks better than your average Word document.
  • May be limiting if you adhere to it too much.
  • Might not be perfectly suited to your specific field of research, requiring some customization.

In our PhD research proposal template , we give you just enough direction to help you follow through but we don’t limit your creativity to a point that you can’t express yourself and all the nuances of your research.

For almost all sections, you get a few useful PhD research proposal examples to point you in the right direction.

The template provides you with a typical PhD proposal structure that’s perfect for almost all disciplines.

It can come in quite handy when you have everything planned out in your head but you’re just having trouble putting it onto the page!

Writing a PhD proposal that convinces

Writing and completing a PhD proposal might be confusing at first.

You need to follow a certain logic and share all the required information without going too long or sharing too much about the project.

And, while your supervisor will certainly be there to guide you, the brunt of the work will still fall on your shoulders.

That’s why you need to stay informed, do your research, and don’t give up until you feel comfortable with what you’ve created.

If you want to get a head start, you might want to consider our research proposal template .

It will offer you a structure to follow when writing a PhD proposal and give you an idea on what to write in each section.

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Research proposals for PhD admission: tips and advice

One of the most important tips for any piece of writing is to know your audience. The staff reviewing your PhD proposal are going through a pile of them, so you need to make sure yours stands within a few seconds of opening it.

The way to do this is by demonstrating value and impact. Academic work is often written for a niche community of researchers in one field, so you need to demonstrate why your work would be valuable to people in that area.

The people reviewing your proposal will likely be in that field. So your proposal should be a little like a sales pitch: you need to write something engaging that identifies with the “customer”, speaks to a problem they’re having, and shows them a solution.

Taking some inspiration from the former University of Chicago professor Larry McEnerney , here are some ideas to keep in mind…

  • It’s common for undergraduates and even seasoned academics to write in a specific format or style to demonstrate their understanding and signal that they’re part of the academic community. Instead, you want to write in such a way that actually engages the reader.
  • Identify an uncharted or underexplored knowledge gap in your field, and show the reader you have what it takes to fill in that gap.
  • Challenge the status quo. Set up an idea that people in your field take for granted — maybe a famous study you think is flawed — and outline how your project could knock it down.
  • This is why it’s important to understand who your audience is. You have to write your proposal in such a way that it’s valuable for reviewers. But within your proposal, you should also clearly define which community of researchers your project is for, what problems they have, and how your project is going to solve those problems.
  • Every community of researchers has their own implicit “codes” and “keywords” that signal understanding. These will be very different in each field and could be very subtle. But just by reading successful PhD research proposal examples in your field, you can get a sense of what those are and decide how you want to employ them in your own work.
  • In this model authors start “at the bottom of the glass” with a very narrow introduction to the idea of the paper, then “fill the glass” with a broader and broader version of the same idea.
  • Instead, follow a “problem-solution” framework. Introduce a problem that’s relevant to your intended reader, then offer a solution. Since “solutions” often raise their own new problems or questions, you can rinse and repeat this framework all the way through any section of your proposal.

But how can you apply that advice? If you’re following something like our research proposal template , here are some actionable ways to get started.

  • Your title should be eye-catching , and signal value by speaking to either a gap in the field or challenging the status quo.
  • Your abstract should speak to a problem in the field, one the reviewers will care about, and clearly outline how you’d like to solve it.
  • When you list the objectives of your proposal , each one should repeat this problem-solution framework. You should concretely state what you want to achieve, and what you’re going to do to achieve it.
  • While you survey your chosen field in the literature review, you should refer back to the knowledge gap or status quo that you intend to work on. This reinforces how important your proposed project is, and how valuable it would be to the community if your project was successful.
  • While listing your research limitations , try to hint at new territory researchers might be able to explore off the back of your work. This illustrates that you’re proposing boundary-pushing work that will really advance knowledge of the field.
  • While you’re outlining your funding requirements , be clear about why each line item is necessary and bring it back to the value of your proposed research. Every cent counts!

Frequently asked questions

How long should a phd proposal be.

There really isn’t a specific rule when it comes to the length of a PhD proposal. However, it’s generally accepted that it should be between 1,000 and 2,000 words.

It’s difficult to elaborate on such a serious project in less than 1,000 words but going over 2,000 is often overkill. You’ll lose people’s attention and water down your points.

What’s the difference between a dissertation proposal and a PhD proposal?

There seems to be some confusion over the terms “dissertation” and “PhD” and how you write proposals for each one. However, “dissertation” is just another name for your PhD research so the proposal for a dissertation would be the same since it’s quite literally the same thing.

Does a PhD proposal include budgeting?

Yes, as mentioned, you need to demonstrate the feasibility of your project within the given time frame and with the resources you need, including budgets. You don’t need to be exact, but you need to have accurate estimates for everything.

How is a PhD proposal evaluated?

This will change from one institution to another but these things will generally have a big impact on the reviewers:

  • The contribution of the project to the field.
  • Design and feasibility of the project.
  • The validity of the methodology and objectives.
  • The supervisor and their role in the field.

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Originally published June 9, 2023, updated February 6, 2024

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PhD Thesis Guide

This phd thesis guide will guide you step-by-step through the thesis process, from your initial letter of intent to submission of the final document..

All associated forms are conveniently consolidated in the section at the end.

Deadlines & Requirements

Students should register for HST.ThG during any term in which they are conducting research towards their thesis. Regardless of year in program students registered for HST.ThG in a regular term (fall or spring) must meet with their research advisor and complete the  Semi-Annual PhD Student Progress Review Form to receive credit.

Years 1 - 2

  • Students participating in lab rotations during year 1, may use the optional MEMP Rotation Registration Form , to formalize the arrangement and can earn academic credit by enrolling in HST.599. 
  • A first letter of intent ( LOI-1 ) proposing a general area of thesis research and research advisor is required by April 30th of the second year of registration.
  • A second letter of intent ( LOI-2 ) proposing a thesis committee membership and providing a more detailed description of the thesis research is required by April 30th of the third year of registration for approval by the HST-IMES Committee on Academic Programs (HICAP).

Year 4 

  • Beginning in year 4, (or after the LOI-2 is approved) the student must meet with their thesis committee at least once per semester.
  • Students must formally defend their proposal before the approved thesis committee, and submit their committee approved proposal to HICAP  by April 30 of the forth year of registration.
  • Meetings with the thesis committee must be held at least once per semester. 

HST has developed these policies to help keep students on track as they progress through their PhD program. Experience shows that students make more rapid progress towards graduation when they interact regularly with a faculty committee and complete their thesis proposal by the deadline.

Getting Started

Check out these resources  for finding a research lab.

The Thesis Committee: Roles and Responsibilities

Students perform doctoral thesis work under the guidance of a thesis committee consisting of at least three faculty members from Harvard and MIT (including a chair and a research advisor) who will help guide the research. Students are encouraged to form their thesis committee early in the course of the research and in any case by the end of the third year of registration. The HST IMES Committee on Academic Programs (HICAP) approves the composition of the thesis committee via the letter of intent and the thesis proposal (described below). 

Research Advisor

The research advisor is responsible for overseeing the student's thesis project. The research advisor is expected to:

  • oversee the research and mentor the student;
  • provide a supportive research environment, facilities, and financial support;
  • discuss expectations, progress, and milestones with the student and complete the  Semi-Annual PhD Student Progress Review Form each semester;
  • assist the student to prepare for the oral qualifying exam;
  • guide the student in selecting the other members of the thesis committee;
  • help the student prepare for, and attend, meetings of the full thesis committee, to be held at least once per semester;
  • help the student prepare for, and attend, the thesis defense;
  • evaluate the final thesis document.

The research advisor is chosen by the student and must be a faculty member of MIT* or Harvard University and needs no further approval.  HICAP may approve other individuals as research advisor on a student-by-student basis. Students are advised to request approval of non-faculty research advisors as soon as possible.  In order to avoid conflicts of interest, the research advisor may not also be the student's academic advisor. In the event that an academic advisor becomes the research advisor, a new academic advisor will be assigned.

The student and their research advisor must complete the Semi-Annual PhD Student Progress Review during each regular term in order to receive academic credit for research.  Download Semi Annual Review Form

*MIT Senior Research Staff are considered equivalent to faculty members for the purposes of research advising. No additional approval is required.

Thesis Committee Chair

Each HST PhD thesis committee is headed administratively by a chair, chosen by the student in consultation with the research advisor. The thesis committee chair is expected to:

  • provide advice and guidance concerning the thesis research; 
  • oversee meetings of the full thesis committee, to be held at least once per semester;
  • preside at the thesis defense; 
  • review and evaluate the final thesis document.

The thesis committee chair must be well acquainted with the academic policies and procedures of the institution granting the student's degree and be familiar with the student's area of research. The research advisor may not simultaneously serve as thesis committee chair.

For HST PhD students earning degrees through MIT, the thesis committee chair must be an MIT faculty member. A select group of HST program faculty without primary appointments at MIT have been pre-approved by HICAP to chair PhD theses awarded by HST at MIT in cases where the MIT research advisor is an MIT faculty member.**

HST PhD students earning their degree through Harvard follow thesis committee requirements set by the unit granting their degree - either the Biophysics Program or the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS).

** List of non-MIT HST faculty approved to chair MIT thesis proposals when the research advisor is an MIT faculty member.

In addition to the research advisor and the thesis committee chair, the thesis committee must include one or more readers. Readers are expected to:

  • attend meetings of the full thesis committee, to be held at least once per semester;
  • attend the thesis defense; 

Faculty members with relevant expertise from outside of Harvard/MIT may serve as readers, but they may only be counted toward the required three if approved by HICAP.

The members of the thesis committee should have complementary expertise that collectively covers the areas needed to advise a student's thesis research. The committee should also be diverse, so that members are able to offer different perspectives on the student's research. When forming a thesis committee, it is helpful to consider the following questions: 

  • Do the individuals on the committee collectively have the appropriate expertise for the project?
  • Does the committee include at least one individual who can offer different perspectives on the student's research?  The committee should include at least one person who is not closely affiliated with the student's primary lab. Frequent collaborators are acceptable in this capacity if their work exhibits intellectual independence from the research advisor.
  • If the research has a near-term clinical application, does the committee include someone who can add a translational or clinical perspective?  
  • Does the committee conform to HST policies in terms of number, academic appointments, and affiliations of the committee members, research advisor, and thesis committee chair as described elsewhere on this page?

[Friendly advice: Although there is no maximum committee size, three or four is considered optimal. Committees of five members are possible, but more than five is unwieldy.]

Thesis Committee Meetings

Students must meet with their thesis committee at least once each semester beginning in the fourth year of registration. It is the student's responsibility to schedule these meetings; students who encounter difficulties in arranging regular committee meetings can contact Julie Greenberg at jgreenbe [at] mit.edu (jgreenbe[at]mit[dot]edu) .

The format of the thesis committee meeting is at the discretion of the thesis committee chair. In some cases, the following sequence may be helpful:

  • The thesis committee chair, research advisor, and readers meet briefly without the student in the room;
  • The thesis committee chair and readers meet briefly with the student, without the advisor in the room;
  • The student presents their research progress, answers questions, and seeks guidance from the members of the thesis committee;

Please note that thesis committee meetings provide an important opportunity for students to present their research and respond to questions. Therefore, it is in the student's best interest for the research advisor to refrain from defending the research in this setting.

Letters of Intent

Students must submit two letters of intent ( LOI-1 and LOI-2 ) with applicable signatures. 

In LOI-1, students identify a research advisor and a general area of thesis research, described in 100 words or less. It should include the area of expertise of the research advisor and indicate whether IRB approval (Institutional Review Board; for research involving human subjects) and/or IACUC approval (Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee; for research involving vertebrate animals) will be required and, if so, from which institutions. LOI-1 is due by April 30 of the second year of registration and and should be submitted to HICAP, c/o Traci Anderson in E25-518. 

In LOI-2, students provide a description of the thesis research, describing the Background and Significance of the research and making a preliminary statement of Specific Aims (up to 400 words total). In LOI-2, a student also proposes the membership of their thesis committee. In addition to the research advisor, the proposed thesis committee must include a chair and one or more readers, all selected to meet the specified criteria . LOI-2 is due by April 30th of the third year of registration and should be submitted to HICAP, c/o Traci Anderson in E25-518.

LOI-2 is reviewed by the HST-IMES Committee on Academic Programs (HICAP) to determine if the proposed committee meets the specified criteria and if the committee members collectively have the complementary expertise needed to advise the student in executing the proposed research. If HICAP requests any changes to the proposed committee, the student must submit a revised LOI-2 for HICAP review by September 30th of the fourth year of registration. HICAP must approve LOI-2 before the student can proceed to presenting and submitting their thesis proposal. Any changes to the thesis committee membership following HICAP approval of LOI-2 and prior to defense of the thesis proposal must be reported by submitting a revised LOI-2 form to HICAP, c/o tanderso [at] mit.edu (Traci Anderson) . After final HICAP approval of LOI-2, which confirms the thesis committee membership, the student may proceed to present their thesis proposal to the approved thesis committee, as described in the next section.

Students are strongly encouraged to identify tentative thesis committee members and begin meeting with them as early as possible to inform the direction of their research. Following submission of LOI-2, students are required to hold at least one thesis committee meeting per semester. Students must document these meetings via the Semi- Annual PhD Student Progress Review form in order to receive a grade reflecting satisfactory progress in HST.ThG.

Thesis Proposal and Proposal Presentation

For MEMP students receiving their degrees through MIT, successful completion of the Oral Qualifying Exam is a prerequisite for the thesis proposal presentation. For MEMP students receiving their degrees through Harvard, the oral qualifying exam satisfies the proposal presentation requirement.

Proposal Document

Each student must present a thesis proposal to a thesis committee that has been approved by HICAP via the LOI-2 and then submit a full proposal package to HICAP by April 30th of the fourth year of registration. The only exception is for students who substantially change their research focus after the fall term of their third year; in those cases the thesis proposal must be submitted within three semesters of joining a new lab. Students registering for thesis research (HST.THG) who have not met this deadline may be administratively assigned a grade of "U" (unsatisfactory) and receive an academic warning.

The written proposal should be no longer than 4500 words, excluding references. This is intended to help students develop their proposal-writing skills by gaining experience composing a practical proposal; the length is comparable to that required for proposals to the NIH R03 Small Research Grant Program. The proposal should clearly define the research problem, describe the proposed research plan, and defend the significance of the work. Preliminary results are not required. If the proposal consists of multiple aims, with the accomplishment of later aims based on the success of earlier ones, then the proposal should describe a contingency plan in case the early results are not as expected.

Proposal Presentation

The student must formally defend the thesis proposal before the full thesis committee that has been approved by HICAP.

Students should schedule the meeting and reserve a conference room and any audio visual equipment they may require for their presentation. To book a conference room in E25, please contact Joseph Stein ( jrstein [at] mit.edu (jrstein[at]mit[dot]edu) ).

Following the proposal presentation, students should make any requested modifications to the proposal for the committee members to review. Once the committee approves the proposal, the student should obtain the signatures of the committee members on the forms described below as part of the proposal submission package.

[Friendly advice: As a professional courtesy, be sure your committee members have a complete version of your thesis proposal at least one week in advance of the proposal presentation.]

Submission of Proposal Package

When the thesis committee has approved the proposal, the student submits the proposal package to HICAP, c/o Traci Anderson in E25-518, for final approval. HICAP may reject a thesis proposal if it has been defended before a committee that was not previously approved via the LOI-2.

The proposal package includes the following: 

  • the proposal document
  • a brief description of the project background and significance that explains why the work is important;
  • the specific aims of the proposal, including a contingency plan if needed; and
  • an indication of the methods to be used to accomplish the specific aims.
  • signed research advisor agreement form(s);
  • signed chair agreement form (which confirms a successful proposal defense);
  • signed reader agreement form(s).

Thesis Proposal Forms

  • SAMPLE Title Page (doc)
  • Research Advisor Agreement Form (pdf)
  • Chair Agreement Form (pdf)
  • Reader Agreement Form (pdf)

Thesis Defense and Final Thesis Document

When the thesis is substantially complete and fully acceptable to the thesis committee, a public thesis defense is scheduled for the student to present his/her work to the thesis committee and other members of the community. The thesis defense is the last formal examination required for receipt of a doctoral degree. To be considered "public", a defense must be announced to the community at least five working days in advance. At the defense, the thesis committee determines if the research presented is sufficient for granting a doctoral degree. Following a satisfactory thesis defense, the student submits the final thesis document, approved by the research advisor, to Traci Anderson via email (see instructions below).

[Friendly advice: Contact jrstein [at] mit.edu (Joseph Stein) at least two weeks before your scheduled date to arrange for advertising via email and posters. A defense can be canceled for insufficient public notice.]

Before the Thesis Defense 

Committee Approves Student to Defend: The thesis committee, working with the student and reviewing thesis drafts, concludes that the doctoral work is complete. The student should discuss the structure of the defense (general guidelines below) with the thesis committee chair and the research advisor. 

Schedule the Defense: The student schedules a defense at a time when all members of the thesis committee will be physical present. Any exceptions must be approved in advance by the IMES/HST Academic Office.

Reserve Room: It is the student's responsibility to reserve a room and any necessary equipment. Please contact imes-reservation [at] mit.edu (subject: E25%20Room%20Reservation) (IMES Reservation) to  reserve rooms E25-140, E25-141, E25-119/121, E25-521. 

Final Draft: A complete draft of the thesis document is due to the thesis committee two weeks prior to the thesis defense to allow time for review.  The thesis should be written as a single cohesive document; it may include content from published papers (see libraries website on " Use of Previously Published Material in a Thesis ") but it may not be a simple compilation of previously published materials.

Publicize the Defense:   The IMES/HST Academic Office invites the community to attend the defense via email and a notice on the HST website. This requires that the student email a thesis abstract and supplemental information to  jrstein [at] mit.edu (Joseph Stein)  two weeks prior to the thesis defense. The following information should be included: Date and time, Location, (Zoom invitation with password, if offering a hybrid option), Thesis Title, Names of committee members, with academic and professional titles and institutional affiliations. The abstract is limited to 250 words for the poster, but students may optionally submit a second, longer abstract for the email announcement.

Thesis Defense Guidelines

Public Defense: The student should prepare a presentation of 45-60 minutes in length, to be followed by a public question and answer period of 15–30 minutes at discretion of the chair.

Committee Discussion:  Immediately following the public thesis presentation, the student meets privately with the thesis committee and any other faculty members present to explore additional questions at the discretion of the faculty. Then the thesis committee meets in executive session and determines whether the thesis defense was satisfactory. The committee may suggest additions or editorial changes to the thesis document at this point.

Chair Confirms Pass: After the defense, the thesis committee chair should inform Traci Anderson of the outcome via email to tanderso [at] mit.edu (tanderso[at]mit[dot]edu) .

Submitting the Final Thesis Document

Please refer to the MIT libraries  thesis formatting guidelines .

Title page notes. Sample title page  from the MIT Libraries.

Program line : should read, "Submitted to the Harvard-MIT Program in Health Sciences and Technology, in partial fulfillment of the the requirements for the degree of ... "

Copyright : Starting with the June 2023 degree period and as reflected in the  MIT Thesis Specifications , all students retain the copyright of their thesis.  Please review this section for how to list on your title page Signature Page: On the "signed" version, only the student and research advisor should sign. Thesis committee members are not required to sign. On the " Accepted by " line, please list: Collin M. Stultz, MD, PhD/Director, Harvard-MIT Program in Health Sciences and Technology/ Nina T. and Robert H. Rubin Professor in Medical Engineering and Science/Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.

The Academic Office will obtain Professor Stultz's signature.

Thesis Submission Components.  As of 4/2021, the MIT libraries have changed their thesis submissions guidelines and are no longer accepting hard copy theses submissions. For most recent guidance from the libraries:  https://libguides.mit.edu/mit-thesis-faq/instructions  

Submit to the Academic Office, via email ( tanderso [at] mit.edu (tanderso[at]mit[dot]edu) )

pdf/A-1 of the final thesis should include an UNSIGNED title page

A separate file with a SIGNED title page by the student and advisor, the Academic Office will get Dr. Collin Stultz's signature.

For the MIT Library thesis processing, fill out the "Thesis Information" here:  https://thesis-submit.mit.edu/

File Naming Information:  https://libguides.mit.edu/

Survey of Earned Doctorates.  The University Provost’s Office will contact all doctoral candidates via email with instructions for completing this survey.

Links to All Forms in This Guide

  • MEMP Rotation Form (optional)
  • Semi-Annual Progress Review Form
  • Letter of Intent One
  • Letter of Intent Two

Final Thesis

  • HST Sample thesis title page  (signed and unsigned)
  • Sample thesis title page  (MIT Libraries)

Walden University

Capstone Documents: Oral Defense

  • Supplemental Resources for the PhD Social Work
  • DBA Capstone: Traditional Capstone Options
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  • DBA Capstone: Consulting Capstone Option
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  • Doctor of Nursing Program Capstone Resources
  • DNP Capstone Resources NURS 8702 and NURS 8703
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  • Doctoral Prospectus Resources This link opens in a new window
  • Oral Defense
  • Capstone Committee Process
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  • DHA Doctoral Study Landing Page
  • DHA Doctoral Study (Fall 2021 or after)
  • Previous Page: Doctoral Prospectus Resources
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Oral Defense Information

  • Conference Call Request Form (Faculty Only)

Please submit this form at least three business days prior to the requested conference call date.  This form is used when the necessary approvals are in place to hold a conference call for one of the following: For Student and Committee Members  (sessions are recorded):

  • Proposal Oral Presentation - The Proposal Oral Presentation should only be scheduled  after committee approval of the proposal has been finalized .
  • Final Oral Presentation - The Final Oral Presentation should only be scheduled  after Form & Style approval has been finalized . When scheduling the Final Oral Presentation, the requested day/time should take place no sooner than the day following the Form & Style due date or date of return if completed before the due date.
  • Faculty Only Oral Defense Resources

Presentation Templates

Here are a few oral presentation templates to get you started in preparing for your oral presentation.  If a template is not listed for your program; this program currently does not provide generic models for the oral presentation. Please, reach out to your committee chair to determine the appropriate materials to prepare and the process that will be used in the call

  • PhD Dissertation Proposal Oral Defense Template
  • PhD Dissertation Final Oral Defense Template
  • DBA Presentation Template
  • DBA Consulting Capstone Oral Defense Template
  • DHA Oral Defense Template
  • DHS Proposal Oral Defense Template
  • DHS Final Oral Template
  • DIT Proposal Oral Presentation Template
  • DIT Final Oral Presentation Template
  • DrPH Oral Proposal Defense PowerPoint Template
  • DrPH Oral Final Defense PowerPoint Template
  • DSW Proposal Defense Template
  • DSW Final Oral Defense Template
  • DNP Final Project Defense Template

Oral Defense Archives (Listen to Oral Defenses)

  • Oral Defense Recordings (Student Access Only)

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PhD Defense Template

You’ve done the hard work to prepare your PhD dissertation, and now there’s only one step left: your defense. And Beautiful.ai has the perfect presentation template to help you along the way.

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Our PhD defense template can also help you:

  • Customize your PhD presentation for different audiences
  • Synthesize months of academic work into a concise presentation
  • Successfully defend your PhD thesis to your panel

Use our template to create an effective PhD defense presentation

Your PhD defense presentation is a critical step in your academic journey – one that requires a smart and sophisticated format, layout, and story flow. That’s why our template includes everything you need to create an effective presentation. Tailoring this defense template to your unique PhD thesis is simple. Whether you need to create additional data points or showcase more findings, you can quickly bring your visions to life with these customizable templates and our entire library of professionally designed template slides.

Title Slide

Pro Tips for creating your own PhD defense presentation template

When you are thinking of creating your own impactful Phd defense presentation, keep these best practices in mind:

Condensing hours and hours of research can be daunting. Build an outline or table of contents first, then simply stick to that structure as you create your presentation.

It can be easy to get caught up in your research and findings, but don’t forget to answer critical questions like, ‘Why is this important?’ and ‘What results have you achieved?’

Remember: You aren’t recreating your entire thesis into a visual presentation. Limit the amount of content and data you add to each slide.

Your PhD defense presentation is your chance to share all of your hard work. Don’t be afraid to showcase bits of your personality throughout.

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  • Knowledge Base
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  • How to Write a Research Proposal | Examples & Templates

How to Write a Research Proposal | Examples & Templates

Published on October 12, 2022 by Shona McCombes and Tegan George. Revised on November 21, 2023.

Structure of a research proposal

A research proposal describes what you will investigate, why it’s important, and how you will conduct your research.

The format of a research proposal varies between fields, but most proposals will contain at least these elements:


Literature review.

  • Research design

Reference list

While the sections may vary, the overall objective is always the same. A research proposal serves as a blueprint and guide for your research plan, helping you get organized and feel confident in the path forward you choose to take.

Table of contents

Research proposal purpose, research proposal examples, research design and methods, contribution to knowledge, research schedule, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about research proposals.

Academics often have to write research proposals to get funding for their projects. As a student, you might have to write a research proposal as part of a grad school application , or prior to starting your thesis or dissertation .

In addition to helping you figure out what your research can look like, a proposal can also serve to demonstrate why your project is worth pursuing to a funder, educational institution, or supervisor.

Research proposal length

The length of a research proposal can vary quite a bit. A bachelor’s or master’s thesis proposal can be just a few pages, while proposals for PhD dissertations or research funding are usually much longer and more detailed. Your supervisor can help you determine the best length for your work.

One trick to get started is to think of your proposal’s structure as a shorter version of your thesis or dissertation , only without the results , conclusion and discussion sections.

Download our research proposal template

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Writing a research proposal can be quite challenging, but a good starting point could be to look at some examples. We’ve included a few for you below.

  • Example research proposal #1: “A Conceptual Framework for Scheduling Constraint Management”
  • Example research proposal #2: “Medical Students as Mediators of Change in Tobacco Use”

Like your dissertation or thesis, the proposal will usually have a title page that includes:

  • The proposed title of your project
  • Your supervisor’s name
  • Your institution and department

The first part of your proposal is the initial pitch for your project. Make sure it succinctly explains what you want to do and why.

Your introduction should:

  • Introduce your topic
  • Give necessary background and context
  • Outline your  problem statement  and research questions

To guide your introduction , include information about:

  • Who could have an interest in the topic (e.g., scientists, policymakers)
  • How much is already known about the topic
  • What is missing from this current knowledge
  • What new insights your research will contribute
  • Why you believe this research is worth doing

As you get started, it’s important to demonstrate that you’re familiar with the most important research on your topic. A strong literature review  shows your reader that your project has a solid foundation in existing knowledge or theory. It also shows that you’re not simply repeating what other people have already done or said, but rather using existing research as a jumping-off point for your own.

In this section, share exactly how your project will contribute to ongoing conversations in the field by:

  • Comparing and contrasting the main theories, methods, and debates
  • Examining the strengths and weaknesses of different approaches
  • Explaining how will you build on, challenge, or synthesize prior scholarship

Following the literature review, restate your main  objectives . This brings the focus back to your own project. Next, your research design or methodology section will describe your overall approach, and the practical steps you will take to answer your research questions.

To finish your proposal on a strong note, explore the potential implications of your research for your field. Emphasize again what you aim to contribute and why it matters.

For example, your results might have implications for:

  • Improving best practices
  • Informing policymaking decisions
  • Strengthening a theory or model
  • Challenging popular or scientific beliefs
  • Creating a basis for future research

Last but not least, your research proposal must include correct citations for every source you have used, compiled in a reference list . To create citations quickly and easily, you can use our free APA citation generator .

Some institutions or funders require a detailed timeline of the project, asking you to forecast what you will do at each stage and how long it may take. While not always required, be sure to check the requirements of your project.

Here’s an example schedule to help you get started. You can also download a template at the button below.

Download our research schedule template

If you are applying for research funding, chances are you will have to include a detailed budget. This shows your estimates of how much each part of your project will cost.

Make sure to check what type of costs the funding body will agree to cover. For each item, include:

  • Cost : exactly how much money do you need?
  • Justification : why is this cost necessary to complete the research?
  • Source : how did you calculate the amount?

To determine your budget, think about:

  • Travel costs : do you need to go somewhere to collect your data? How will you get there, and how much time will you need? What will you do there (e.g., interviews, archival research)?
  • Materials : do you need access to any tools or technologies?
  • Help : do you need to hire any research assistants for the project? What will they do, and how much will you pay them?

If you want to know more about the research process , methodology , research bias , or statistics , make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples.


  • Sampling methods
  • Simple random sampling
  • Stratified sampling
  • Cluster sampling
  • Likert scales
  • Reproducibility


  • Null hypothesis
  • Statistical power
  • Probability distribution
  • Effect size
  • Poisson distribution

Research bias

  • Optimism bias
  • Cognitive bias
  • Implicit bias
  • Hawthorne effect
  • Anchoring bias
  • Explicit bias

Once you’ve decided on your research objectives , you need to explain them in your paper, at the end of your problem statement .

Keep your research objectives clear and concise, and use appropriate verbs to accurately convey the work that you will carry out for each one.

I will compare …

A research aim is a broad statement indicating the general purpose of your research project. It should appear in your introduction at the end of your problem statement , before your research objectives.

Research objectives are more specific than your research aim. They indicate the specific ways you’ll address the overarching aim.

A PhD, which is short for philosophiae doctor (doctor of philosophy in Latin), is the highest university degree that can be obtained. In a PhD, students spend 3–5 years writing a dissertation , which aims to make a significant, original contribution to current knowledge.

A PhD is intended to prepare students for a career as a researcher, whether that be in academia, the public sector, or the private sector.

A master’s is a 1- or 2-year graduate degree that can prepare you for a variety of careers.

All master’s involve graduate-level coursework. Some are research-intensive and intend to prepare students for further study in a PhD; these usually require their students to write a master’s thesis . Others focus on professional training for a specific career.

Critical thinking refers to the ability to evaluate information and to be aware of biases or assumptions, including your own.

Like information literacy , it involves evaluating arguments, identifying and solving problems in an objective and systematic way, and clearly communicating your ideas.

The best way to remember the difference between a research plan and a research proposal is that they have fundamentally different audiences. A research plan helps you, the researcher, organize your thoughts. On the other hand, a dissertation proposal or research proposal aims to convince others (e.g., a supervisor, a funding body, or a dissertation committee) that your research topic is relevant and worthy of being conducted.

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PhD Dissertation PowerPoint Template

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The PhD Dissertation PowerPoint Template provides a professional structure and layouts designed for dissertation presentations. A dissertation is the work submitted to support the conclusion of an academic degree or professional qualification, presenting the author’s research and findings in an area of study. The PhD Dissertation PowerPoint Template is designed as an academic presentation slide deck where the PhDc will compile it work in a supporting document of their message.

The educational PowerPoint template of PhD dissertation contains 9 slides, with diagrams, charts, and shapes for describing your research and thesis. These PowerPoint templates will help prepare a compelling dissertation defense. The comprehensive slide deck of dissertation covers a structured approach of documentation. All the diagrams and data charts will be useful for documenting a PhD dissertation following the traditional sections structure:

  • Abstract – Discuss the abstract model of what you are trying to prove. Implemented as a Text slide with abstract background graphics
  • Introduction – A background of work, basic terminologies, and problem description. The layout is created as an Hexagon picture including placeholders and the dissertation presentation agenda theme.
  • Literature Review – Discuss related work, analysis, and interpretation. Designed as 4 segments with infographic icons to discuss thesis literature.
  • Methodology – Describe the methodology used in your research. You can use the 4 steps curved timeline diagram for the research model.
  • Research Findings – It involves proof of model, type of study and tools to gather supporting data. Magnifying glass 4 steps puzzle diagram research metaphor
  • Results – Data collected from various sources and analysis for proof of thesis. Custom stacked data-driven chart template for reports
  • Discussion – 4 sections to display presentation discussion points
  • Conclusion – 6 sections for research questions, answers, contribution, and future work

Every dissertation has its specifics, but this structure will help you diagram your presentation, following best practices. You will be able to tell your dissertation story in a compelling way, which will engage your audience.

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PhD Dissertation

Phd dissertation presentation, free google slides theme and powerpoint template.

In order to achieve the highest academic degree there is, you need the best presentation for your dissertation. Years of hard work will pay off with this free template by Slidesgo, which can help you focus on your message without having to worry about the visual design.

The color palette is neutral, as it plays with gray, conveying maturity. You’ll find several inspiring pictures with a grayish blue filter, and these come with a nice variety of topics that reinforce the human side of things. Use our slides to place quotes, tables, timelines and graphs to properly display references, data, schedule and statistics. You’ll find it very easy to distribute your text within the composition, and the typography focuses on seriousness and stability. Everyone will soon address you as Doctor!

Features of this template

  • A professional presentation template with a minimalist look and inspiring pictures
  • 100% editable and easy to modify
  • 16 different slides to impress your audience
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  • Includes 1000+ icons and Flaticon’s extension for customizing your slides
  • Designed to be used in Google Slides and Microsoft PowerPoint
  • 16:9 widescreen format suitable for all types of screens
  • Includes information about fonts, colors, and credits of the free resources used

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Example Dissertation Proposal Presentation Powerpoint Presentation Slides

Select our Example Dissertation Proposal Presentation PowerPoint Presentation Slides to interpret and explain results. The structure of dissertation PowerPoint complete deck includes slides on agenda, outline, project title, introduction, literature review, purpose statement, hypothesis, methods, statically analysis, results, bar graph, pie chart, discussion, study limitations, conclusion findings, the implications for future research, reference, etc. This is also useful for academic purposes, MBA student can use this to present their final project, it can reduce their time and effort. Furthermore, the research proposal Presentation template can portray concepts like survey results, data analysis and interpretation, dissertation structure, statistical consulting, research structure thesis proposal and many more. The thesis proposal Presentation slide outline results, discussions, and conclusion, the presenter can save their time and efforts on making their presentation from scratch. Download our professionally designed dissertation ppt slides to explain the dissertation in a logical flow. Facilitate jovial banter with our Example Dissertation Proposal Presentation Powerpoint Presentation Slides. Enable folks to have a good hearted discussion.


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Presenting Example Dissertation Proposal Presentation PowerPoint Presentation Slides. The deck contains a complete set of 44 high-resolution presentation slides. Users can edit PPT background, font, text, etc. You can download the presentation, in both widescreen (16:9) and standard (4:3) aspect ratio. From text to video, animation to logo insert anything. The PPT templates are compatible with Google Slides, PDF and JPG formats.

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July 8, 2021

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July 7, 2021

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  1. How To Write A Dissertation Proposal For A Research Paper?

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  1. Dissertation Proposal Guidelines and Oral Presentation Template

    The dissertation proposal is required for all doctoral students. It addresses 1) why the research is relevant, 2) the focus of the research, and 3) how the research will be conducted. Students prepare a written document and give an oral presentation to the supervisory committee. This template is to serve as a general outline for…

  2. PhD Dissertation Defense Slides Design: Start

    This Guide was created to help Ph.D. students in engineering fields to design dissertation defense presentations. The Guide provides 1) tips on how to effectively communicate research, and 2) full presentation examples from Ph.D. graduates. The tips on designing effective slides are not restricted to dissertation defense presentations; they can ...

  3. How to Create a Dissertation Proposal Defense ...

    The dissertation proposal will consist of three chapters, which you will be providing information on in the presentation. Although the contents and order of the contents may vary, there are some basic parts of the proposal that are usually required. The following is a breakdown of the usual contents that are included in the presentation.

  4. How to Write a Dissertation or Thesis Proposal

    Writing a proposal or prospectus can be a challenge, but we've compiled some examples for you to get your started. Example #1: "Geographic Representations of the Planet Mars, 1867-1907" by Maria Lane. Example #2: "Individuals and the State in Late Bronze Age Greece: Messenian Perspectives on Mycenaean Society" by Dimitri Nakassis.

  5. Impressive Ph.D. Proposal Presentation to the University Panel

    As part of the Ph.D. selection process, all students are required to present their Ph.D. proposal for approval to the Ph.D. Scrutiny Committee at the University. The goal of the Ph.D. proposal presentation and approval process is to receive constructive feedback on the proposal and ensure that the Ph.D. proposal is feasible and appropriate for ...

  6. Dissertation Proposal

    Proposal Overview and Format. Students are urged to begin thinking about a dissertation topic early in their degree program. Concentrated work on a dissertation proposal normally begins after successful completion of the Second-Year Review, which often includes a "mini" proposal, an extended literature review, or a theoretical essay, plus advancement to doctoral candidacy.

  7. How To Write A Research Proposal (With Examples)

    Make sure you can ask the critical what, who, and how questions of your research before you put pen to paper. Your research proposal should include (at least) 5 essential components : Title - provides the first taste of your research, in broad terms. Introduction - explains what you'll be researching in more detail.

  8. Preparing Your PowerPoint

    Topic 3: Preparing for Defense. In this activity, you will draft your PowerPoint for your proposal defense. During your defense you will typically have 10-15 minutes for your presentation. There are approximately 9-12 slides. They have read the study, so focus more on findings and implications, less on literature.

  9. How to Write a Dissertation Proposal

    Table of contents. Step 1: Coming up with an idea. Step 2: Presenting your idea in the introduction. Step 3: Exploring related research in the literature review. Step 4: Describing your methodology. Step 5: Outlining the potential implications of your research. Step 6: Creating a reference list or bibliography.

  10. PDF Guidelines for Preparing Your Doctoral Thesis Proposal

    Sections, length, and formatting. Your thesis proposal must include the following sections, each strictly limited to the number of pages specified: Title page (1 page) Specific Aims (1 page) Research Context and Strategy (6 pages, including figures and tables) References. You should observe the following formatting requirements:

  11. Tips for designing the slides

    PhD Dissertation Defense Slides Design: Tips for designing the slides ... For engineering, a plain, white background is generally ideal for dissertation proposals and defenses. Don't pick a template that is too busy and distracting. ... to Add P age Numbers Having page numbers in your slides will allow your advisors and peers to give comments ...

  12. The Ultimate Guide to Preparing Your PhD Dissertation Defense Presentation

    Here are three more tips for preparing your PhD dissertation defense. 1. Don't wait around. One of the best things you can do for yourself when preparing your PhD dissertation defense is to start the work early. You won't regret starting "too early" like you would regret starting the preparation too late in the game.

  13. What Is a Dissertation?

    A dissertation is a long-form piece of academic writing based on original research conducted by you. It is usually submitted as the final step in order to finish a PhD program. Your dissertation is probably the longest piece of writing you've ever completed. It requires solid research, writing, and analysis skills, and it can be intimidating ...

  14. How to nail your PhD proposal and get accepted

    When writing your PhD proposal you need to show that your PhD is worth it, achievable, and that you have the ability to do it at your chosen university. With all of that in mind, let's take a closer look at each section of a standard PhD research proposal and the overall structure. 1. Front matter.

  15. PhD Thesis Guide

    Thesis Proposal and Proposal Presentation. Thesis Defense and Final Thesis Document. Links to All Forms in This Guide. This PhD Thesis Guide will guide you step-by-step through the thesis process, from your initial letter of intent to submission of the final document. All associated forms are conveniently consolidated in the section at the end.

  16. Academic Guides: Capstone Documents: Oral Defense

    Oral Defense Information. Please submit this form at least three business days prior to the requested conference call date. This form is used when the necessary approvals are in place to hold a conference call for one of the following: For Student and Committee Members (sessions are recorded): Proposal Oral Presentation - The Proposal Oral ...

  17. PhD Defense Template

    A streamlined presentation that's as professional as it is impressive. All with just a few clicks of the mouse. Our PhD defense template can also help you: Customize your PhD presentation for different audiences. Synthesize months of academic work into a concise presentation. Successfully defend your PhD thesis to your panel.

  18. PDF The Qualitative Doctoral Dissertation Proposal

    INTRODUCTION. The dissertation proposal is one of the milestones in the education of a doctoral candidate. The proposal begins the final long leg of the doctoral journey, and its acceptance is usually met with a well-deserved sense of accomplishment, a sigh of relief, and a tingle of anticipation. It is indeed a personal milestone.

  19. How to Write a Research Proposal

    Example research proposal #1: "A Conceptual Framework for Scheduling Constraint Management" Example research proposal #2: "Medical Students as Mediators of Change in Tobacco Use" Title page. Like your dissertation or thesis, the proposal will usually have a title page that includes: The proposed title of your project; Your name

  20. PhD Dissertation PowerPoint Template

    The PhD Dissertation PowerPoint Template provides a professional structure and layouts designed for dissertation presentations. A dissertation is the work submitted to support the conclusion of an academic degree or professional qualification, presenting the author's research and findings in an area of study.

  21. PhD Dissertation Google Slides Theme and PowerPoint Template

    Free Google Slides theme and PowerPoint template. In order to achieve the highest academic degree there is, you need the best presentation for your dissertation. Years of hard work will pay off with this free template by Slidesgo, which can help you focus on your message without having to worry about the visual design. The color palette is ...

  22. Example Dissertation Proposal Presentation Powerpoint Presentation

    The thesis proposal Presentation slide outline results, discussions, and conclusion, the presenter can save their time and efforts on making their presentation from scratch. Download our professionally designed dissertation ppt slides to explain the dissertation in a logical flow. Facilitate jovial banter with our Example Dissertation Proposal ...

  23. PDF Dissertation Proposal Rubric

    Dissertation Proposal Rubric. Graduate School of Education: Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership. Dissertation Proposal Rubric: 5-part dissertation (with edits by Dannelle D. Stevens, Coordinator and Gayle Thieman, Doctoral Program Committee Member) Score every dimension: Unsatisfactory = 1; Emerging = 2; Proficient = 3; Exemplary = 4.