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Margaret-Topping

Research Proposal to Decision

The 6 Steps of Applying for a PhD

You might know what you want to study, but what is the next step - how do you find your supervisor, how should you write a research proposal?

Dean of the Graduate School, Professor Margaret Topping guides you through the process below:


1. Identify your research area

When you are considering your research question or proposal, identify a suitable research centre or School at Queen’s that aligns with your project. Explore our web pages to meet our researchers and read their profiles.

2. Check the requirements

Check that you meet, or expect to meet the academic and, if applicable, English language requirements for your programme.

Also bear in mind that if you are applying for funding, there might be an application deadline. So keep an eye to see if your programme has a closing date for applications too.

3. Speak to your supervisor

If you're interested in a particular project, we suggest you contact the relevant academic before you apply, to introduce yourself and ask questions.

If you have your own research idea, contact the relevant School to discuss it with us.  If you are unsure of who to contact, email askahss@qub.ac.uk for guidance.  You might be asked to provide a short outline of your proposal to help us identify potential supervisors.

4. Finalise your Research Proposal

When you have spoken with an academic at Queen's and have developed your research ideas, it is time to finalise your research proposal.  If you would like to receive a guide to writing a research proposal please email askahss@qub.ac.uk.

5. Apply

Apply using our online Postgraduate Applications Portal go.qub.ac.uk/pgapply and follow the step-by-step instructions.

6. Get your decision

When we've made a decision, we'll send you an email which will advise you to log on to the Postgraduate Applications Portal to view the decision.