History PhD research proposal - advice please?!


I am applying for a funded History PhD at a UK university, and have to submit a research proposal. Essentially, I have no idea how to go about this - I have an UG degree but not a MA (the university has agreed to waive this requirement if my application is successful), and as such I'm lost on even the basics of what a PhD proposal should look like. The university itself has no guidelines on their website, and when I emailed the department they simply stated that the proposal should be 'in line with what is generally required'.

Any advice would be great - ranging from what the average length of a Humanities proposal is, how extensive the references/indicative bibliography should be, how much detail I should give on my 3 year plan etc. The PhD itself has certain criteria set by the university and it is a topic which I have spent a lot of time researching, so I'm not so concerned about the actual content. I am just terrified of looking naive and having my application rejected on something as petty as stylistic idiocy!



My proposal (within the discipline of education) was set at a limit of 750 words, though I understand that the university now allows 1000. The 750 included background, proposed methodology & method & a maximum of 6 key references. If there are absolutely no rules from your institution, I should keep the proposal as short as you can and emphasise the originality of your position.
I hope that helps, & good luck!


If you know who your potential supervisor will be. I would contact him and discuss this with him. I did this with my potential supervisor and he would look at my work make recommendations so in the end had a really good proposal. Now Ive started its changed loads, but guess that's a different story!


Thanks for the advice! I do want to email the professor and ask him, but I'm in a bit of an awkward position as I already sent in a proposal a few months ago, which was very rushed as I only discovered the PhD 3 days before the deadline. Now interviews are rolling round and they've asked me to resubmit, and I'm torn between emailing for advice VERY late in the day and looking utterly daft, or resubmitting without asking the professor and hoping it's ok. Bleh.


It does seem a bit strange to ask for advice to be honest.. but I'm in a science field where this would be unusual and maybe it's different for history.