Applying for a PhD

Formulate your research idea

To study for a PhD you need to be able to make an original contribution to the understanding of a problem, the advancement of knowledge or the generation of new ideas. You need to have a sound knowledge of the area in which you propose to study and be able to demonstrate that your research can be sustained for three to four years.

Contact a potential supervisor

Complete the Postgraduate Research Enquiry Form and LJMU academics with experience in your field will contact you to discuss your proposal in more detail. If you want to talk to us about this, get in touch with The Doctoral Academy: 

Tel: +44 (0) 151 904 6375 

Draft your research proposal

Research proposals should be no more than 2,500 words and should outline your:

  • area of research
  • core questions
  • methodologies 
  • approach
  • timescale

Your research proposal should include:

  • the title of your PhD (this can be revised at a later date)
  • a summary of what you want to examine 
  • brief overview of your general area of study, summarising current knowledge and recent debates on the topic (you should demonstrate your familiarity with the field and your ability to communicate clearly and concisely) 
  • the central aims and questions that will guide your research (prioritise one or two main questions, from which secondary questions may follow)
  • how you intend to answer your research questions
  • your main research techniques (interviews, case studies, modelling, etc) and data collection procedures
  • an explanation of why your research is important and what makes it original
  • a bibliography identifying the most relevant and recent works for your subject area

Make your application

Using the research application form you will need to provide:

  • details of your qualifications
  • details of your work experience
  • details of academic referees 
  • a personal statement
  • your research proposal


For information on funding, please refer to our financing your study pages. You can search for current PhD opportunities here and contact The Doctoral Academy:

Tel: +44 (0) 151 904 6375