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How to write an MSc project proposal

File format

Any readable file format is acceptable for project outlines. Pdf is preferred. Submission is through the online form. Ideally the length should not exceed one page A4.

A project outline should contain

  • A clear statement of the research objectives of the project and why it is interesting.
  • A brief summary of the background to be assimilated and techniques required.
  • A statement of the prospective deliverables. What can the student be expected to achieve?
  • An indication of how this research relates to the real world: who should benefit from this line of research?
  • If the project involves data analysis you must provide evidence that the data is already available in a usable format.

Prospects for follow-on PhD projects

If your proposal has the potential to provide a follow-on PhD project for a MathSys CDT student, please also include

  • a short description of how the project could be extended to provide a basis for a PhD thesis.
  • under the terms of our EPSRC-MRC grant, at least 30% on average of the cost of MathSys studentships must be met from non-RCUK sources.
    Supervisors interested in supervising a follow-on PhD project are requested to indicate to what extent they can call on co-funding sources to meet this requirement, bearing in mind that to achieve 30% on average, for each student that is co-funded less than 30% we will need some other that is co-funded more than 30%.
  • details of any external partners who would be involved in the research (all PhD projects are required to involve an external non-academic partner)

Please beware of potential pitfalls

  • We will not approve scoping exercises or literature surveys. It should be clear that the project contains actual research rather than just research into prospective research.
  • Our students are not trained to do experimental work but they could certainly contribute to design of experiments through modelling or analysis of experimental data.
  • All-or-nothing projects should be avoided: a less successful student should still be able to get somewhere.
  • We will not approve projects involving data analysis if the data is not available at the time of submission of the project outline or if it seems as if the student will be required to spend a lot of time inputting or cleaning data.