for international applicants
The following tips and hints may help you when writing a research proposal for your application. Research implies a formal academic
process that investigates, analyses, and contributes original knowledge
to that field of study.
Research Degrees may be undertaken either by thesis
or by project. Where the outcome of the
research is a project, rather than a thesis, the most common trap when
writing a proposal is to describe the content or subject matter of the
published work instead of the 'what, why and how' of the research
process. The project component needs to provide a method of finding answers to your research questions. In fact, you must try to keep some of the passion out of your
description and be more analytical about what it is you are doing.
The official Higher Degree
by Research Application document has three major components to it. The
information you supply for each section should be contained within a
single page. It is therefore a sharp, smart document that avoids dense
prose and written in a language that is accessible to non-experts.
Title & Description
- WHAT is the research program?
proposal should have a descriptive title that is clear, concise and
which reflects the content of the proposed program. The title should
be no more than one long sentence. The description should
provide a detailed and accurate outline of the program which addresses
what are the
aims and objectives of the research?
what problem(s), issue(s) or question(s) are to be investigated?
what stages or tasks are involved in the research?
what resources and facilities are required?
what is the end product of the research?
will it be a written thesis, work of art, or some other
form or combination?
what is the location of the program?
will it be studio based or involve industry research
or field work?
- WHY this research program?
section should contain a detailed account of the reason(s) for undertaking
why is this
what will be the benefits to the community or industry
_expected to result from the research?
how will your research advance the understanding and
perception of the issues
how will your research contribute to that body of knowledge
_that constitutes your field of
The benefits of the program
to your self-development are assumed and do not constitute a sufficient
rationale or reason for undertaking post-graduate research.
Academic research inevitably
results in the production of original knowledge. Therefore it is important
for the candidate to emphasise this aspect of their proposed research
program. This may pose more of a difficulty in certain disciplines
than others, such as in the fine arts as compared with the sciences.
It is therefore necessary for the candidate to clearly articulate
the issues and debates within the realm that represents the focus
of their work.
Methods - HOW will you
undertake this research?
section should clearly indicate the nature of the various stages of
your program. This is usually best achieved by creating a projected
timeline to cover the duration of the program (24 months maximum full-time
or 48 months maximum part-time). Single line bullet points rather than
lengthy descriptions of each stage is best. List all the activities
that will make up the program, and group them into appropriate stages
or tasks. These steps should accord with what you have already detailed
in your description.
how long is
each stage or task expected to take?
will some stages run concurrently?
what information or data has to be gathered?
where will you gather this information from?
how will you evaluate this information?
how will this be implemented into your own work?
what experimentation or testing has to be undertaken?
does your project rely on the co-operation of organisations
other than RMIT?
if so, what is the nature of the support?
are there any funding issues that need to be addressed?
how you will determine when the aims of the program have
page of the Higher Degree by Research Candidature application document
asks you to summarise your project. In one paragraph consisting of perhaps
no more than 3 sentences, try to describe your research and its outcomes.
This is an excellent exercise which helps you focus and clarify for
yourself what it is that you are attempting. This short description
is also invaluable for succinctly describing your project to others
and becomes useful in promoting your work.
For the School of Creative Media's application procedures, <click here>