Completing your application Completing your application

To apply for an MPhil and PhD degree, we will need to assess your complete research application,

You will need:

  • a complete application form
  • a research proposal of 2,000 words (see below for brief guidance)
  • an example of previous written work (see below for brief guidance)
  • two academic references
  • full transcripts of your higher education degrees.
  • evidence of your English proficiency if English is not your first language
  • a CV detailing your work experience to date
  • a personal statement of 500 to 1,000 words

Applications can be made on line via

For enquiries regarding admissions, please contact our Research Student Director, Pieter Serneels, at

Your research proposal

The most important aspect of a PhD application is the research proposal. The School of International Development will consider applications which comply with the requirements below.


Research interest

Before preparing your application, if possible please identify:

1. At least one member of staff at the School of International Development who might be your supervisor.

2. Read that member of staff's academic papers that are recent and related to your research interest.

3. Whether your chosen field is relevant to one or more of the papers written by the member of staff. Please clearly state your subject area and research topic.


Find out more about staff research interests and the School's research themes.

You must state clearly on the title page of your proposal within which area of supervision your proposal falls. Please also indicate your preferred/potential supervisor. Failure to do so will result in rejection of your proposal.

We would like your proposal to be no more than 2000 words (excluding references). The proposal is not expected to be a finished document, and you may wish to refine or change your research focus in negotiation with your supervisor at a later date. The main aim of the proposal is to provide the School with an idea of your research interests and intent.


Your proposal should include the following:

1. Your research topic: identify your subject area and indicate your research question(s).

2. General review of the literature: in this section you should elucidate the general discipline or field in which your study will be located with your reasons for choosing this field.

3. Specific review of the literature: you should provide a review of the literature which demonstrates clearly the key debates in the literature. You need to give references to key articles and research texts. You need to elaborate on what makes your proposal an original piece of work, as a PhD should contain an original piece of research.

4. Method: you need to indicate how you will answer your research question(s). You will need to explain which techniques you will use and why these techniques are considered to be acceptable and valid, and reference other studies in cognate themes of research.

5. Timescale: provide a timescale for the conduct of your research, including literature review, methodological design, conduct of field work and write up.

6. References: provide a list of references to the sources which you have mentioned in your application.


Example of previous written work

Along with the research proposal we also require research applicants to submit an example of previous written work, this can be part of their masters dissertation, journal article published, working papers, research report, etc.

For those unable to submit electronically, applications and enquiries should be sent to the following address:

Faculty of Social Sciences
Postgraduate Research Office (PPE)
Elizabeth Fry Building, 2.30
University of East Anglia
Norwich Research Park
Norwich NR4 7TJ

Telephone: +44 (0)1603 591709
Submit an application to:

Telephone: +44 (0)1603 597231