Among all challenges associated with a PhD project, a dissertation proposal for the doctoral degree may be viewed as one of the most difficult ones. The reason for that is the fact that you have to produce a convincing topic, aim and objectives as well as fully actionable methodology without actually doing any ‘official’ research in your selected sphere to simply get confirmation from your university of choice. The difficulty of the task can be partially reduced using a number of PhD dissertation proposal writing tips such as:

  1. Contacting several prospective supervisors to discuss your potential project prior to submitting an ‘official’ formal application to your selected university.
  2. Making extensive preliminary research to appraise the feasibility of your proposed PhD methodology.
  3. Working in the selected sphere for 1-2 years to acquire some original ideas for further analysis that may not be recognised by academia yet.

Let us consider some main elements that make a superior PhD dissertation proposal.

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While specific requirements may vary slightly from university to university, most expert writers would tell you that the key structural elements of a dissertation proposal for the doctoral degree remain the same.

In some cases, you will also need to include the name of your supervisor if they have already agreed to work with you on your project.

Most PhD Dissertation Proposals include:

  • Suggested topic/title
  • Research background and overview
  • Analysis of existing gaps in the academic and practitioner knowledge of the topic
  • Research questions and objectives
  • Perceived research significance
  • Proposed methodology and design
  • A plan of work


Another common problem with PhD dissertation proposal writing is finding the right balance between being too ambiguous about your research and going into too much detail about it. Let us summarise some ideas shared by our expert writers on what universities expect to see in top-quality student submissions.

Summing up, your proposal must clearly explain why your PhD research should be conducted and how it can be completed within the usual period of a PhD project spanning 3-4 years on average. It should be as SMART as possible in terms of your embedded goals. Your readers must get the feeling that your proposal is instantly actionable and can be set in motion the next day after its confirmation by the university.

  • Proposals are generally used to address two goals, namely to demonstrate that some topic is worthy of investigation and the proposal author is the right person to conduct it.
  • The first objective requires some degree of research in the selected sphere to demonstrate existing gaps within academic and practitioner knowledge.
  • The second goal is primarily realised via your methodology and preliminary analysis parts demonstrating your superior research competencies.
  • In most cases, universities view proposals as a ‘minimum viable product’ rather than a completed dissertation.
  • This means that they expect that some parts of it can change upon further discussions with your supervisor but they want to see a ‘solid core’ that will evolve into a strong academic project after further revisions.


While every doctoral dissertation proposal is unique, there certainly exist some common elements shared by most successful applications. Many of our writers have extensive experience including university work and supervision of PhD projects that allows them to know all best practices and latest trends in this sphere. According to our repeat customers, the following elements of their proposal orders convinced them to continue writing their full dissertations with us:

We offered them a choice of several PhD topics all of which were novel, original, and actionable.

The proposed methodological design was highly practical with recommended data collection and processing procedures being realistic and affordable to any PhD student.

Thorough preliminary analysis conducted by our writers ensured that no similar dissertations were published until the end of their work on the thesis.