School of Education

How to Apply

Applications can be made online and are accepted throughout the year.

Applicants who meet the entry requirements are normally invited for interview. Interviews for places on the programme will take place in Nottingham, or by telephone where travel is not possible.

Research proposal

A research proposal should clearly define the topic that you are interested in studying, as well as providing an indication that you have begun to identify and develop an interesting and original research question in relation to that topic. In your proposal, you therefore need to demonstrate that you: 

  • understand the area in which you plan to undertake research 
  • are able to identify an interesting and original research question 
  • have some understanding of how to conduct research (for example by providing evidence of a masters degree, project work or relevant research experience)

Your proposal will be read by academics who have an interest in a similar field in order to determine whether their expertise would enable them to act as your research supervisor during the course of your postgraduate study. 


Schools may not always have staff whose interests match your own, and this must be taken into consideration before making a decision on your application. Your supervisor will be a key figure in your years as a research student and it is important that you can be offered high-quality guidance and supervision from an appropriate member of staff.

Most potential supervisors will consider research proposals as preliminary indicators of your area of interest and will not necessarily assume that the proposal defines exactly the research that you will undertake. However, you should avoid making any substantial changes to the broad direction of your research after acceptance into the programme. Whilst it is natural for ideas to evolve and change, you will not be forced to adhere to specifics of your proposal, but you should remember that the proposal is the foundation of your working relationship with your supervisors so it cannot be radically altered without discussion and consultation with them. 

All academic staff belong to one of our research centres.

Proposal contents and length

A typical research proposal will be somewhere between 1,500 and 3,000 words. While there is no definite format, these research proposal guidelines should help in the preparation of a research proposal.

Proposal format

It is important to remember that the research proposal is not only judged on content, it is also judged on form. It must look professional. It should be typed and it should be written in good English. It should be well-structured, with section headings clearly indicated. If you are submitting a photocopy, make sure it is a photocopy of the highest quality.

Acceptance into a programme will be based upon both your academic ability and the availability of interested and suitably qualified supervisors. The research proposal makes the difference when it comes to finding supervisors and this part of the application is therefore crucial.

Visas and immigration

We strongly recommend that overseas students contact their local British Embassy or High Commission to get the most up to date advice before applying. Information can be found on local British Embassy or High Commission websites. Additional information is provided by the University of Nottingham International Office website.

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Application checklist

To ensure a speedy process when dealing with applications please ensure that your application includes the following:

  • A research proposal (we are unable to process your application if you have not included a research proposal) 
  • Copies of relevant certificates for example, Bachelors/Masters (authenticated) 
  • Copies of relevant transcripts 
  • Two supporting academic references 
  • Students with English as a second or other language should enclose a copy of their English Language qualifications 
  • Completed online application form*

* Supporting documents may be sent separately to the Postgraduate Admissions Office. Please indicate on each document your application ID number for ease of processing by the Admissions Office.



School of Education

University of Nottingham
Jubilee Campus
Wollaton Road
Nottingham, NG8 1BB

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