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  • How to Write a Research Proposal | Examples & Templates

How to Write a Research Proposal | Examples & Templates

Published on October 12, 2022 by Shona McCombes and Tegan George. Revised on June 13, 2023.

Structure of a research proposal

A research proposal describes what you will investigate, why it’s important, and how you will conduct your research.

The format of a research proposal varies between fields, but most proposals will contain at least these elements:


Literature review.

  • Research design

Reference list

While the sections may vary, the overall objective is always the same. A research proposal serves as a blueprint and guide for your research plan, helping you get organized and feel confident in the path forward you choose to take.

Table of contents

Research proposal purpose, research proposal examples, research design and methods, contribution to knowledge, research schedule, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about research proposals.

Academics often have to write research proposals to get funding for their projects. As a student, you might have to write a research proposal as part of a grad school application , or prior to starting your thesis or dissertation .

In addition to helping you figure out what your research can look like, a proposal can also serve to demonstrate why your project is worth pursuing to a funder, educational institution, or supervisor.

Research proposal length

The length of a research proposal can vary quite a bit. A bachelor’s or master’s thesis proposal can be just a few pages, while proposals for PhD dissertations or research funding are usually much longer and more detailed. Your supervisor can help you determine the best length for your work.

One trick to get started is to think of your proposal’s structure as a shorter version of your thesis or dissertation , only without the results , conclusion and discussion sections.

Download our research proposal template

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Writing a research proposal can be quite challenging, but a good starting point could be to look at some examples. We’ve included a few for you below.

  • Example research proposal #1: “A Conceptual Framework for Scheduling Constraint Management”
  • Example research proposal #2: “Medical Students as Mediators of Change in Tobacco Use”

Like your dissertation or thesis, the proposal will usually have a title page that includes:

  • The proposed title of your project
  • Your supervisor’s name
  • Your institution and department

The first part of your proposal is the initial pitch for your project. Make sure it succinctly explains what you want to do and why.

Your introduction should:

  • Introduce your topic
  • Give necessary background and context
  • Outline your  problem statement  and research questions

To guide your introduction , include information about:

  • Who could have an interest in the topic (e.g., scientists, policymakers)
  • How much is already known about the topic
  • What is missing from this current knowledge
  • What new insights your research will contribute
  • Why you believe this research is worth doing

As you get started, it’s important to demonstrate that you’re familiar with the most important research on your topic. A strong literature review  shows your reader that your project has a solid foundation in existing knowledge or theory. It also shows that you’re not simply repeating what other people have already done or said, but rather using existing research as a jumping-off point for your own.

In this section, share exactly how your project will contribute to ongoing conversations in the field by:

  • Comparing and contrasting the main theories, methods, and debates
  • Examining the strengths and weaknesses of different approaches
  • Explaining how will you build on, challenge, or synthesize prior scholarship

Following the literature review, restate your main  objectives . This brings the focus back to your own project. Next, your research design or methodology section will describe your overall approach, and the practical steps you will take to answer your research questions.

To finish your proposal on a strong note, explore the potential implications of your research for your field. Emphasize again what you aim to contribute and why it matters.

For example, your results might have implications for:

  • Improving best practices
  • Informing policymaking decisions
  • Strengthening a theory or model
  • Challenging popular or scientific beliefs
  • Creating a basis for future research

Last but not least, your research proposal must include correct citations for every source you have used, compiled in a reference list . To create citations quickly and easily, you can use our free APA citation generator .

Some institutions or funders require a detailed timeline of the project, asking you to forecast what you will do at each stage and how long it may take. While not always required, be sure to check the requirements of your project.

Here’s an example schedule to help you get started. You can also download a template at the button below.

Download our research schedule template

If you are applying for research funding, chances are you will have to include a detailed budget. This shows your estimates of how much each part of your project will cost.

Make sure to check what type of costs the funding body will agree to cover. For each item, include:

  • Cost : exactly how much money do you need?
  • Justification : why is this cost necessary to complete the research?
  • Source : how did you calculate the amount?

To determine your budget, think about:

  • Travel costs : do you need to go somewhere to collect your data? How will you get there, and how much time will you need? What will you do there (e.g., interviews, archival research)?
  • Materials : do you need access to any tools or technologies?
  • Help : do you need to hire any research assistants for the project? What will they do, and how much will you pay them?

If you want to know more about the research process , methodology , research bias , or statistics , make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples.


  • Sampling methods
  • Simple random sampling
  • Stratified sampling
  • Cluster sampling
  • Likert scales
  • Reproducibility


  • Null hypothesis
  • Statistical power
  • Probability distribution
  • Effect size
  • Poisson distribution

Research bias

  • Optimism bias
  • Cognitive bias
  • Implicit bias
  • Hawthorne effect
  • Anchoring bias
  • Explicit bias

Once you’ve decided on your research objectives , you need to explain them in your paper, at the end of your problem statement .

Keep your research objectives clear and concise, and use appropriate verbs to accurately convey the work that you will carry out for each one.

I will compare …

A research aim is a broad statement indicating the general purpose of your research project. It should appear in your introduction at the end of your problem statement , before your research objectives.

Research objectives are more specific than your research aim. They indicate the specific ways you’ll address the overarching aim.

A PhD, which is short for philosophiae doctor (doctor of philosophy in Latin), is the highest university degree that can be obtained. In a PhD, students spend 3–5 years writing a dissertation , which aims to make a significant, original contribution to current knowledge.

A PhD is intended to prepare students for a career as a researcher, whether that be in academia, the public sector, or the private sector.

A master’s is a 1- or 2-year graduate degree that can prepare you for a variety of careers.

All master’s involve graduate-level coursework. Some are research-intensive and intend to prepare students for further study in a PhD; these usually require their students to write a master’s thesis . Others focus on professional training for a specific career.

Critical thinking refers to the ability to evaluate information and to be aware of biases or assumptions, including your own.

Like information literacy , it involves evaluating arguments, identifying and solving problems in an objective and systematic way, and clearly communicating your ideas.

The best way to remember the difference between a research plan and a research proposal is that they have fundamentally different audiences. A research plan helps you, the researcher, organize your thoughts. On the other hand, a dissertation proposal or research proposal aims to convince others (e.g., a supervisor, a funding body, or a dissertation committee) that your research topic is relevant and worthy of being conducted.

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Book cover

Authoring a PhD

How to Plan, Draft, Write and Finish a Doctoral Thesis or Dissertation

  • Patrick Dunleavy 0

London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK

You can also search for this author in PubMed   Google Scholar

  • Covers all the core aspects of doctoral research, from forming research questions through to final submission
  • Includes a chapter on getting published, with practical guidance on writing and submitting journal papers and reshaping a thesis into a monograph
  • Draws on the author’s own experience of supervising over 30 PhD students

Part of the book series: Macmillan Study Skills (MASTSK)

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61 Altmetric

  • Table of contents

About this book

Authors and affiliations, about the author, bibliographic information.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution .

Table of contents (9 chapters)

Front matter, becoming an author.

Patrick Dunleavy

Envisioning the Thesis as a Whole

Planning an integrated thesis: the macro-structure, organizing a chapter or paper: the micro-structure, writing clearly: style and referencing issues, developing your text and managing the writing process, handling attention points: data, charts and graphics, the end-game: finishing your doctorate, publishing your research, back matter.

This engaging and highly regarded book takes readers through the key stages of their PhD research journey, from the initial ideas through to successful completion and publication. It gives helpful guidance on forming research questions, organising ideas, pulling together a final draft, handling the viva and getting published. Each chapter contains a wealth of practical suggestions and tips for readers to try out and adapt to their own research needs and disciplinary style.

  • social science
  • visual arts

Book Title : Authoring a PhD

Book Subtitle : How to Plan, Draft, Write and Finish a Doctoral Thesis or Dissertation

Authors : Patrick Dunleavy

Series Title : Macmillan Study Skills

DOI : https://doi.org/10.1007/978-0-230-80208-7

Publisher : Red Globe Press London

eBook Packages : Palgrave Social & Cultural Studies Collection , Social Sciences (R0)

Copyright Information : The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2003

Edition Number : 1

Number of Pages : XIII, 297

Additional Information : Previously published under the imprint Palgrave

Topics : Research Methods in Education

  • Find a journal
  • Publish with us

how to write a phd study plan

  • Manuscript Preparation

Know How to Structure Your PhD Thesis

  • 4 minute read

Table of Contents

In your academic career, few projects are more important than your PhD thesis. Unfortunately, many university professors and advisors assume that their students know how to structure a PhD. Books have literally been written on the subject, but there’s no need to read a book in order to know about PhD thesis paper format and structure. With that said, however, it’s important to understand that your PhD thesis format requirement may not be the same as another student’s. The bottom line is that how to structure a PhD thesis often depends on your university and department guidelines.

But, let’s take a look at a general PhD thesis format. We’ll look at the main sections, and how to connect them to each other. We’ll also examine different hints and tips for each of the sections. As you read through this toolkit, compare it to published PhD theses in your area of study to see how a real-life example looks.

Main Sections of a PhD Thesis

In almost every PhD thesis or dissertation, there are standard sections. Of course, some of these may differ, depending on your university or department requirements, as well as your topic of study, but this will give you a good idea of the basic components of a PhD thesis format.

  • Abstract : The abstract is a brief summary that quickly outlines your research, touches on each of the main sections of your thesis, and clearly outlines your contribution to the field by way of your PhD thesis. Even though the abstract is very short, similar to what you’ve seen in published research articles, its impact shouldn’t be underestimated. The abstract is there to answer the most important question to the reviewer. “Why is this important?”
  • Introduction : In this section, you help the reviewer understand your entire dissertation, including what your paper is about, why it’s important to the field, a brief description of your methodology, and how your research and the thesis are laid out. Think of your introduction as an expansion of your abstract.
  • Literature Review : Within the literature review, you are making a case for your new research by telling the story of the work that’s already been done. You’ll cover a bit about the history of the topic at hand, and how your study fits into the present and future.
  • Theory Framework : Here, you explain assumptions related to your study. Here you’re explaining to the review what theoretical concepts you might have used in your research, how it relates to existing knowledge and ideas.
  • Methods : This section of a PhD thesis is typically the most detailed and descriptive, depending of course on your research design. Here you’ll discuss the specific techniques you used to get the information you were looking for, in addition to how those methods are relevant and appropriate, as well as how you specifically used each method described.
  • Results : Here you present your empirical findings. This section is sometimes also called the “empiracles” chapter. This section is usually pretty straightforward and technical, and full of details. Don’t shortcut this chapter.
  • Discussion : This can be a tricky chapter, because it’s where you want to show the reviewer that you know what you’re talking about. You need to speak as a PhD versus a student. The discussion chapter is similar to the empirical/results chapter, but you’re building on those results to push the new information that you learned, prior to making your conclusion.
  • Conclusion : Here, you take a step back and reflect on what your original goals and intentions for the research were. You’ll outline them in context of your new findings and expertise.

Tips for your PhD Thesis Format

As you put together your PhD thesis, it’s easy to get a little overwhelmed. Here are some tips that might keep you on track.

  • Don’t try to write your PhD as a first-draft. Every great masterwork has typically been edited, and edited, and…edited.
  • Work with your thesis supervisor to plan the structure and format of your PhD thesis. Be prepared to rewrite each section, as you work out rough drafts. Don’t get discouraged by this process. It’s typical.
  • Make your writing interesting. Academic writing has a reputation of being very dry.
  • You don’t have to necessarily work on the chapters and sections outlined above in chronological order. Work on each section as things come up, and while your work on that section is relevant to what you’re doing.
  • Don’t rush things. Write a first draft, and leave it for a few days, so you can come back to it with a more critical take. Look at it objectively and carefully grammatical errors, clarity, logic and flow.
  • Know what style your references need to be in, and utilize tools out there to organize them in the required format.
  • It’s easier to accidentally plagiarize than you think. Make sure you’re referencing appropriately, and check your document for inadvertent plagiarism throughout your writing process.

PhD Thesis Editing Plus

Want some support during your PhD writing process? Our PhD Thesis Editing Plus service includes extensive and detailed editing of your thesis to improve the flow and quality of your writing. Unlimited editing support for guaranteed results. Learn more here , and get started today!

Journal Acceptance Rates

  • Publication Process

Journal Acceptance Rates: Everything You Need to Know

PowerPoint Presentation of Your Research Paper

  • Publication Recognition

How to Make a PowerPoint Presentation of Your Research Paper

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how to write a phd study plan

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Essentials of Writing to Communicate Research in Medicine

The Essentials of Writing to Communicate Research in Medicine

There are some recognizable elements and patterns often used for framing engaging sentences in English. Find here the sentence patterns in Academic Writing

Changing Lines: Sentence Patterns in Academic Writing

how to write a phd study plan

Path to An Impactful Paper: Common Manuscript Writing Patterns and Structure

how to write the results section of a research paper

How to write the results section of a research paper

What are Implications in Research

What are Implications in Research?

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Differentiating between the abstract and the introduction of a research paper

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/images/cornell/logo35pt_cornell_white.svg" alt="how to write a phd study plan"> Cornell University --> Graduate School

Create your plan.

Create your plan: Develop goals and create an action plan.

Cornell Resources to Help You Create Your Plan


All graduate students are encouraged to meet with a Cornell career advisor to take an assessment to understand their personality, interests, values, and career goals. Postdocs may discuss their interests, values, and career goals with Christine Holmes ( ch1[email protected] ), director of the Office of Postdoctoral Studies.

  • Find assessments available to all graduate students .
  • Find free online assessments available to all students and postdocs .
  • Ask yourself  reflection questions  to identify your career goals, interests, and skills.

External Resources

Individual development plan (idp).

The IDP is an excellent tool for self-assessment and developing goals for yourself during your academic years and beyond. Although you can create your IDP by yourself, graduate students and postdocs often find that co-developing their IDP with their faculty mentor is a good way to ensure there is awareness and support of their career plans.

IDPs for humanities and social science fields:

  • Imagine Ph.D. (all fields in the humanities and social sciences)
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison  (all fields)
  • American Psychological Association
  • University of Southern California Postdoctoral Office  (for postdocs in all fields but could be used for graduate students)

IDPs for science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields:

  • ScienceCareers myIDP  (all STEM fields)  
  • American Chemical Society  (for chemical scientists)
  • Stanford University Biosciences  (for bioscience fields)

Books, References

  • Do What You Are: Discover the Perfect Career For You Through the Secrets of Personality Type  by Paul Tieger (available in 103 Barnes Hall and Cornell Library System)
  • So What Are You Going To Do With That? A Guide to Career-Changing for M.A.s and Ph.D.s  by Susan Basalla and Maggie Debelius (available in 103 Barnes Hall and Cornell Library System)
  • Effective Phrases for Performance Appraisals: A Guide to Successful Evaluations  by James Neal, Jr. (available in Cornell Library System)


Study Plan | How to write a Pro Study Plan

April 2, 2019


Study plans are schedules that designate studying times and learning objectives for specific courses or classes. Similar to a work schedule or a school schedule, a study plan outlines exact times for certain days and specific courses.

Create a study plan to become more organized and hold yourself accountable for learning objective deadlines. While applying for admissions or scholarships , you may be asked to submit a study plan that outlines your objectives and goals during your next course.

A few colleges demand Motivational letter independently alongside the study plan/research plan.

  • How to write a Study Plan for CSC Scholarship?
  • How to write a Study Plan Essay?

How to write a Study Plan?

You can create a study plan to become more organized and hold yourself accountable for learning objective deadlines.

Your study plan should include (at minimum) these 9 important notes:

  • Your most recent education
  • Achievements made an overview
  • Outline learning objectives and assignment schedules (if any)
  • Experiment objectives/expected outcomes
  • Future academic goals
  • Changes in study habits
  • Outline Strengths
  • Write your Weaknesses & your plans to counter them

5 Steps to Create a Study Plan

Maximize your study plan and its potential with these five essential steps:


First of all, define the purpose of your study plan.  Is it for your college courses?  Is it for applying to scholarships?

A study plan for applying to scholarships requires a little more research and time versus a study plan for college courses.  Be sure you are including all the information that is pertinent to the purpose of the study plan.


A time chart enables you to discover how much time you are spending on each activity throughout your day.  For example, maybe you spend 2 hours a day with your dog in the park.

Create a time chart to take notes about everything you do during the day, whether it’s at work, home, or school.  Be sure that the notes you are taking are very detailed.

So later you can look at your chart and decide where you can plug in an extra hour of studying and where you’re going to lose an hour.


Your time chart should have helped you recognize and determine which days and what times will be the most beneficial for your studying. Take those dates and times and update them into your monthly calendar.

If your time chart shows that Wednesday and Friday from noon to two are your best studying sessions, then be sure you block those times off in your monthly calendar.

Writing it down in your calendar not only helps you remember it better but makes it seem more important, like a doctor’s appointment.


At the beginning of each week or at the beginning of each study session, determine why you need to study, what you need to study the most, what you need to improve on, and what objectives or goals you plan to achieve.


It may seem easy to miss out on one study session to go to the movies with your friends but making up the study time later in the week is going to cause you stress and anxiety.

Work hard to really stick to your time chart and study session calendar. If you skip once, you’re more likely to skip again.  Do your best not to get behind.

Why do you need a Study Plan?

The study plan is a great tool to help you succeed in your educational endeavors. It will aid in the organization of your schedules and make you feel accountable.

The Study plan will help to remind you of important due dates. Personalizing your study plan requires you to sit down and think about your time management skills.

It is the Study Plan that forces you to ask yourself questions such as, “Have I spent enough time on my studies lately?” or “Did I spend more time hanging out with friends than studying for my last exam?”

Therefore, being able to answer those questions will provide insight into your current time management skills. You may find that the hours you spend hanging out with friends or playing video games is three times as much as you spend on your studies.

Tips on Writing a Study Plan

Don’t overbook dates.

Figure out which days are light days and which days are filled to the max on your study plan . On days where your commitments are low, pack in extra hours of studying.

Vice versa, plan on losing a couple of hours of studying on the days that appointments are scheduled on or lots of errands have to run.  Be sure to look ahead and keep in mind any projects or exams that will take up a large amount of your time.

Personalize It

A personalized study plan will also help you become aware of how much time you need to put into studying to effectively learn and understand a subject.  All students are different, and some students learn much faster than others.

Students that learn at a slower pace oftentimes need more time to register learning objectives because their brains cannot process information as quickly as faster learners.

You may discover you need to study an extra 2 or 3 hours a night, for 3 nights a week, instead of studying for 45 minutes each night.

Keep Updating Your Plan

Prior to each study period, your study plan needs to be updated to outline specific goals, learning outcomes, objectives, and study materials specific to that study session.

Also, create a study plan that answers why you are studying, and what you need to improve on to achieve the learning outcomes you set.

Maximize Effectiveness

While you don’t want to skip scheduled sessions in the  Study plan , you also do not want to exhaust yourself in your studies.  Be reasonable and allow yourself sufficient study breaks in between sessions and during your sessions.

If further help is needed in your study sessions, consider hiring a tutor or studying with a friend. In fact, having a study partner creates discussions that facilitate the learning process.

Study Plan Sample and Study Plan Example can be download from the link below:

Download: Study plan Sample

137 thoughts on “Study Plan | How to write a Pro Study Plan”

Dear Mr. Waqas,

I did B.Sc in textile engineering and i hold CGPA 3.72 out of 4:00. Can i apply for china government scholarship? If i apply how much the chance that i will get scholarship?

You can apply for CSC scholarship. 100% chances with acceptance letter and 90% chances without acceptance.

Please i want know the deadline for 2019/2020 application and submission csc documents

yes you can, +8618222967410 (what”s aap+we chat)

any time i go csc web, i always get the message “Server maintenance in is in process please wait”, is there any other link?

Kindly check again, it is working now and you can now apply for CSC scholarship.

My cgpa is 3.139 done mechanical engg from uet..how many chances of winning fully funded scholarship

Dear Waqas can you share the sample study plan for PhD.

Hi respected sir, Sir I am a graduate student of BS Computer Science and applying for CSC, sir in CSC form study plane is require, sir if you have any samples about my field, please sir send me. Thanks Regards: Falakniaz

Do I need an agent to apply for a CSC scholarship? I live in Ghana. And would I be given a supervisor for my masters program?

No need to apply through agent for CSC Scholarship. Application procedure is very easy. kindly have a look at CSC Scholarship application process section of our website.

I just tried the link you left on this comment and it took me to a broken link. Could you please guide me in applying to the CSG Scholarship

i have got acceptance latter.what are the required documents and how can i apply .

Salam, I am currently applying for the Chinese government scholarship but having some difficulty writing a study plan. Must the study plan be nothing less than 800 words? Thank you

For a Master degree applicant for any scholarship it is advised to write a unique Study plan consisting of at least 800 words.

Do we need to write a study plan as well as a research plan for masters students? Thank you for your help.

what about undergraduate students? how many words do I have to write at least ?

How many words is the study plan?

Ideally a study plan must consist of at least 800 words for Master degree applicants and over 1200 words for PhD applicants.

for CSC: Undergraduate students- 200 Masters students- 800

please how can i write “A STUDY PLAN” for csc scholarship…what are the process and key point too write about …thanks

Study plan sample you can view here.


Thank you for help.

Iam graduate of nurse i want to apply CSC scholarship

can i apply with a Higher National Diploma for Masters?

Dear Mr. Waqas! My question is when recommendation letter is to be attested by an associate professor, is it required to get letter stamped as well signed by the professor? I am asking this because some people say that stamp is not required. Please tell me about it.

My academic record is not particularly astounding, but its not bad either. My GPA was 3.47, to tell you the truth I was capable of achieving more but at the time I got my hands full as I were quite active at the student body. This is apparent during my final year when I retired from my position at the student body my grade immediately shot up to 3.95, I did perfect especially at my thesis I even won the highest grade title in my last semester. Now its been 2 years since my graduation, and I have been working at major governmental projects since then. My question is how can I make my study plan as good as the sample above considering I was not being a model academic student at that time?

how to get acceptance letter?

Just stopped by to see what was up and found this awesome lesson! What a cool form – I hope the triolet makes a comeback by shear force of dVerse poets. I took a stab at it and am looking forward to checking out some of the other triolets posted.Oh, and can I get a Mi#7ek821&;s Hard Lemonade? And some peanuts? Peace, Linda

Hello good day.. Thanks for study its so excellent.. Please am so confused with other study plan i saw online. A study plan is an organized schedule that students create that outlines study times and learning goals….please i have an interview tomorow i really dont know which i will be asked of

hello..i am applying for the japanese government Mext schoolarship and i am having difficulties in contacting professors.I cant find their emails

waqas muhammad what is your opinion about the scholarship in Japan..how this study plan is differ from china..

Hi . Can I apply for PhD in sociology on scholarship base

Sir, waqas . How we can write a good study plan to apply for scholarship as economics student in Mphill

helo waqas bro. I done Msc In Agriculture, Plz Help me writing a Reserach plan for phd for csc scholership

Found your article very helpful! Thank you soo much Mr waqas

Excellent forum for information sharing and i my self really inspired with the different format, study plan, motivation letter etc.

Hello sir AoA! What kind of documents should be ready before applying for csc???

hello brother i completed BS(IT) with 65% marks and have a lot of international certifications . chances to get csc scholarship ?

please is there a service charge?? do i have to pay some money as a visa application process fee?

sorry…do i have to pay money as a scholarship application process fee?

After writing the study plan do i also have to write motivation letter for PhD program? what are the major difference between the two, please?

Dear Mr. Waqas I did sociogy and i got 3,40 out of 4. Can i apply for China Scholarship ? If i apply how much the chance that i will get scholarship?

Dear Mr. Waqas

I did sociology and i got 3,40 out of 4. Can i apply for China Scholarship ? if apply how much the chance that i will get scholarship?

Greetings! My name is Ihsan Ullah and I just completed my bachelors degree in Electronics. I acquired 3.82 GPA out of 4.00 GPA. Now I wish to apply to china for masters and I am hoping if you could assist me in this regard as I don’t know about the procedure of how to apply to CSC scholarships. Your help in this regard will be highly appreciated, Thanks.

please dear would you mind me if you tell me how can I meet advisor for agricultural product processing and storage engineering in jiangsu university

Hi. What are the differences between a study plan and a research plan or are they the same?

Study plan is actually given by Master degree students and research proposal is actually a detailed version of your study plan which is asked by doctoral degree students to provide alongside their applications.

hello Mr. Yousaf, I want to ask that if I apply for Phd. program then I don’t need to submit study plan

how can one submit fee for registration in china also do we need to send original recommendation latter or just need to submit notarized copies

[email protected]

can u plz guide me that what should be written in proposed study plan ?

Muhammad me i have ssce certificate, so how can i write for study plan

Please, anytime I visited the CSC link to create an account, after entering my email and password, the response I did got is that the email and the password is not valid, please what can cause this?

Dear Waqas,

I have bachelor degree–B.Sc Engineering Technology in Electrical from UET Lahore, and i hold CGPA 3.35 out of 4:00. Can i apply for china government scholarship for MS Engineering Program? If i apply how much the chance that i will get scholarship?

i want to study for master but am having a diploma certificate,will i be accepted?

really i want to say you are so gentle that you answer the all questions one by one as they asked !!

The language of the study ( phd) is English or china

Please can you get admission for masters program without writing a study plan? Also I did Bachelor of Education in Accounting and got 3.1 out of 4.0 as CGPA. Can I get opportunity to study MBA in Finance in Chinese Government Scholarship.

Dear Brother, Is it necessary to fill out both university online registration form and CSC form. Secondly how can we guess that the very university required online registration too??

I am currently applying for CSC and need help on how to go about writing a study plan . Am applying for masters scholarship with a GPA of 3.59 and what are my chances of getting this scholarship base on academic merits?

am Gozah from Ghana currently working my thesis for MPhil in Mathematics (Financial engineering). i will be graduating in July, can I also apply for the CSC scholarship now. however, i have MBA certificate and what is the chance of winning the scholarship if I want to PhD in Financial Engineering and Mathematics.

should recommendation letter be written by only Professor, what about senior lecturer.

Please l want to find out if l can use diploma in marketing to apply csc schorlarship

Sir, Is it true that the “Chinese Govt scholarship under CSC ” only provide “going air ticket” and then the Candidate pays the return air ticket ? en-lighten me about the scholarship value/benefits

I am applying in Master Degree. WHAT is the basic need study plan or research proposal? Kindly Help me.

are these scholarship available now? and ending date is 5 March 2018?

I would love to apply for csc scholarship but am finding difficult in getting a school with my choice of study. Am interested in M.sc clinical psychology, child psychology, developmental psychology or early childhood studies. Please can you refer me to any of the Chinese school that offers this course. Thanks Blessing from Nigeria

I’m now tried to apply a PhD scholarship at Hungary. But the problem is writing a research proposal, I mean I don’t know the correct format and contents should be there as a proposal. In a limited number of words and pages how can I writes a short summery of research proposal?

Sir, I want to ask that, Japan govt is offering a teacher training scholarship program of 18 months through japan embassy. I am a teacher and I have specialty or Master in Math.I have Filled “Reach Feild” as Mathematics Education. I want a suggestion to fill “research plan” that may increased my chance of scholarship.Please guide me about that

M.Yousaf, I need research proposal or study plane about china pakistan cooperation on fruits and vegetables or agricultural practices. [email protected] or my whatssup is 03318006106 . kindly help. thank you regard Saeed Ahmed.

Is the study plan same as statement of purpose?

Dear, I did BS in Computer Science with B Grade having CGPA 3.02/4.00 in 2011 from Pakistan. Now I want to get Graduation leading to Phd. Scholarship from China. What you think that is there any chances for me to get Scholarship.

Assalamuaalikum. My name is Muhammad Farukh Tanveer. i want to apply for a china Government Scholarships. I have completed my Masters with a CGPA of 3.42/4. Now i am applying for a PHD in Electrical Engineering & Information and Communication Engineering. How much chance do i have to get a full CSC scholarship???

Sir my passport will be expire in end of September .do I need to make new or apply on this one for CSC .thanks

Could you plz guide me how to write study plan??

I have done my BE in Civil Engineering with 81.6% but degree will be awarded in end of march and most of the Chinese universities deadline to submit application is in march. So is there any alternate to complete my Application in CSC 2018.

Dear Waqas Sir. My Name Shakir Amjad I did B.Sc in Agriculture Mechanization and i hold CGPA 3.45 out of 4:00. Can i apply for china government scholarship? If i apply how much the chance that i will get scholarship? I get Acceptance letter For the same department

i need study plan for master can u help me

please reply me some as soon as posssible

plz help mi have no idea for study plan and i have done msc botany plz tell me about study plan for scholarship

online application form is not opening, i am trying from last 2 weeks

Asalam o alikum.

I want to do PhD in veterinary sciences under studentship/ scholarship, from any European country i.e Australia,Switzerland, UK etc. How i will get admission?I studied in institutes where English was the medium of instruction for all courses. However i did n,t appear in any English language examination i.e IELTS etc .

good evening ! i am going to apply for csc scholarship i a m from tunisian i would like to know my chances to get accepted is it easy if all my papers are correct and i have a good grades as well because i dont have an acceptance letter ! thanks in advance

Please can a get a sample research plan, Japan scholarship specifically Stated :Describe in detail and with specifics-particularly concerning the ultimate goals of your research at YNU. Your academic background and research methodology should be included”.

sir please tell me about best university in china which offer scholarship for master in engineering management in English.Thanks

What is the last date to apply for csc scholarship

Hi Muhammad Yousaf. Can you help. I must write study plany for csc scholarship. If you help i am very glad. Please help me)))

I am in a management student.I am complete my master’s degree from Bangladesh University. my result are CGPA 3.22 out of 4. can I apply again master’s degree from Chinese government scholarship..

please can i have your we chat ID?

dear bro i did pharm d and i want to study in china and i have no acceptance letter plz tell me thats how much chances is for me to get an admission

Hello. How to write a study plan undergraduate?

Hi.. for the csc scholarship do I need to write a study plan for undergraduate programme?

Hi.. do I need to write a study plan for undergraduate programme for the csc scholarship?

Please can i know the differences between the Shanghai Government Scholarship of class A and Class B type of scholarship.

please i need direction on how to apply for csc scholarship

I completed Pre-engineering in 2004. After that I started doing jobs. Now I am serving a Chinese company. I want to learn Chinese. Very basic things I have learnt from Chinese here. I want to be a professional Chinese interpreter. For this I am seeking one year scholarship only for Chinese in China. Is it possible that I will get chance to get scholarship in this scenario?

Hello I have received a letter of acceptance from a supervisor from Jaingsu university, on a condition of csc scholarship or JSU Scholarship. Even though i did not apply for the that course on the online application. Please what should i do about that. Kindly advise.

i have done my BS Physics degree with CGPA 3.1/4.0 now i want to get studentship for research in Germany, without ielts, my english is proficent for my studies, how can i get?

I am applying China AUN scholarship but the application registration stated audit. How can i log in and complete application online?

what is the difference between: Study plan and SOP Study plan and research plan when only ask to submit study plan , should a phd student require to submitt research proposal

is it a must that the study plan of undergraduate could be a minimum of 400 words

Hi iam abdul hanan done bsit with cgpa 2.48 can i aply for csc

Slam, i from pakistan. I have done M.A English language and literature from NUML university in 2017 with a CGPA of 3.34/4.00. I want to apply for Master degree in china. How much chance is for me? And how i can write a study plan? plz guide me.

Hi … thank you very much for your cooperation and your help.

i would kindly ask about the structure of the study plan

what does it consist of?

salut. s’il vous plaît j’ai fait une demande de bourse sur le site du SCC depuis Mars 2018 mais jusqu’à ce jour je n’ai eu aucune réponse.j’aimerais savoir quelle est la procédure habituelle après la demande et ce qui peut expliquer l’absence de réponse. Merci

Hi Mr. Yousaf could you please help me write my study plan for study permit. How do we start it for BBA

Login Link Plz Dear,

I am going to be 40 years in December 2018. Can I apply CSC or UNIST scholarship in upcoming year??

Salam Sir I complete my LLB degree from University of Swabi with 3.2 CGPA and now I want to study LLM from Chinese universities but the study plan so difficult for me I try my best many time but I failed.

Dear Waqas, I earned my Master degree in Chemical Engineering from UET Lahore this year,now i want to do P.hd from china kindly guide me regarding research proposal.

Dear sir, you said in the above comment that study plan is for master and research proposal is for PhD student. So PhD student just need to submit the research proposal.? or study plan too?

Sir how can I apply for phd mathematics can you help me right now I m in china and I want fully funded scholarship

AoA Sir, I am a law graduate and want to get admission in llm with full fledged scholarship in foreign countries like,china Australia,Taiwan etc.Therefore humbly request you be informed procedure for admission and also guide me in thiz regard.

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Please what are the chances for a person with a GPA of 3.24 out of 4.00 win the CSC scholarship? Thank you

I have a bachelor of science degree in statistics with first class honored at kwame nkrumah university of science and technology , ghana. can I apply for master degree admission with scholarship in economics. If so what is my chance of getting scholarship?

Thank you Muhammad Yousaf for your assistance, I have a master’s degree in civil engineering (structural option) and so far I have published one paper, can I apply for a PhD scholarship with only one paper published?

Sir I really confused how to apply Chinese governmental scholarship I need to guid me step by step please thanks

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Hi, I am a female from Islamabad, need your help for PhD scholarship in China, Kindly guide. Best Regards

Hey. I complete my BBA Hons in finance now I want o to apply for CSC scholarship so I complete all the requirements but can you manage a study plan for me I will mail you all of the requirements please reply me I will wait for your response.

i’ve done my graduation from Virtual University Of Pakistan. Can I apply for CSC Scholarship?

Dear, Salam. I did my MS in Management Sciences major in Project Management. I have applied on the CSC portal in the previous session but there is no response from that side. whilst, showing “In Progress” Status on the portal. what should I do now? let me guide plz…………….

Sir kindly send me study plan for master program in economics My email account is saleem [email protected]

Hello, Is it ok if I add any reference in my study plan? Best Regards, Md Shah Neowaz

i need to apply for a china i need a study plan for pharmacology

if i want to get chinese Govermint Scholarship ( Undergrduted ) i have to write study or research plan or no ?

Hi! how can I prepare a study plan, please help me with it?

Sir how can I apply to the school address eg Nanjing University

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Hi and my regards, sir I have just filled the csc scholarship application, but now don’t know how to upload the University which i prefer.

This web help me a lot to understand how to write a study plan thank u soo much

It was a useful information about a study plane I have ever seen. But what was state in the information it did not considered in the sample at the end.

How do I apply for the Chinese Undergraduate scholarship

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How to Prepare Actionable PhD Research Plan Template

“Where PhD is highly uncertain, an actionable PhD research plan would give you calculative and tentative outcomes. And even more, the ready-to-use template makes things even better. Let’s take a close look at the research plan + template.”  

Before moving forward, it’s important to understand the process and steps in research . Then only you can make an actionable plan for your PhD research. It’s literally like driving without breaks— that you don’t want.

In a broader sense, when you plan something, it shows two things: first, you are actually serious about the work you are planning and second, you are expecting some outcomes. And by a plan, you are heading towards it. 

I know, plans may not work 100% all the time, but they may create a definite path to achieve at least 80% success in the work you are doing. This is also true for a PhD— in which you would constantly try to justify a single sentence– your research title. 

So– Yes, the research process is undetermined and so the results too! but here is the catch and perhaps answer why you have to have a research plan. In this article, I will explain the importance of a research plan, an actionable research plan and a ready-to-use template for you. 

How to prepare an actionable research plan? 

Importance of phd research plan , wrapping up.

An actionable research plan is what you have to rely upon. So it should be perfect and approved. how can you prepare your own? Let’s see.

 Understand the steps in the research and closely follow them. 

Define the objectives and scope of your study. 

Define each goal of your study– For example, sample collection, wet lab work, standardization, experimentation, data collection and interpretation, etc. 

Enlist what types of problems you may face for each goal– For example, transportation for sample collection, Lack of facilities in wet lab work, etc.

Find a solution for each problem you have enlisted– For example, appoint an expert for sample collection and transport samples in a cold chain. If your lab doesn’t have some instruments or chemicals, priorly contact other labs and ask them for help. 

Draw a rough road map for your work— the route using which you will achieve your research goals. Also, make a backup. What if the route or process you selected would not work? Check out this drawing to understand my point. 

Now prepare a timeline— in how much time a particular goal should be achieved. For example, 6 Months for sampling (Including, ethical approval, approval from sampling authority, consent, preparation and arrangement for utilities). 

Another is sample collection— 3 Months which isn’t covered in the 6 months of sampling objective, like this. Take a look at the drawing here. 

Note: This timeline must match with your GANTT chart for PhD timeline because you are making an actionable plan.

Now your plan is reading. You are now aware of each objective, goal and problem. Some you probably solved, and some you can manage later. This you can print and stitch in your logbook or can save on your desktop. 

Take a look at the advantages, and why it’s important to prepare an action plan. 

Related article: How to Prepare a PhD Research Plan/Schedule?

Let’s start with two real-world examples first. 

One of my friends, after sample collection and initiating the testing, found out that she also has to perform hormone assays for samples. The samples she collected are 3 months old— not possible to assess quantitative analysis. 

Another colleague after sample collection– when he started working in the wet lab, came to know that one important instrument is not there in their lab. His guide is very serious about the goal that they have to do it anyhow. 

He sent applications to various universities and research centers to work on that particular instrument. From approval to real testing, it tools all almost 8 months including, approval, training, transportation, etc. 

Wasted much time! 

  • An actionable research plan saves your time— which is a crucial factor in PhD. 
  • It makes you aware of the pros and cons of your study. 
  • It makes you aware of the problems and limitations of the research you conduct. 
  • It gives you a broad roadmap to achieve your PhD in “some” tentative time. 
  • It gives you the flexibility to achieve goals and enjoy your time at the same time. 
  • You can make real-time monitoring of how your research is going and how much work is left. 
  • It makes you aware of what should be your next move and the preparations you required.

However, keep in mind that once you prepare a plan, review it from your guide, take their advice, enlist major objectives and techniques you would use for the study and stick to it. 

Before preparing that, read the literature regarding your topic and understand the way in which your research should be headed. 

Check out our fully customizable, ready-to-use and actionable research plan template. 

Download a research plan template

These things look a bit old school but it works, really works well. Most students don’t do it and end up messing things and at last, came to know that they wasted their time. At least, the research plan will tell you where you are stuck (probably) and you can find a solution.

We know how hard it is to predict the future of PhD or how it would go. But let me tell you, with an actionable plan, many do well. And you can too. Take your doctorate seriously from day one. And do accordingly. 

Remember your goal should be to complete your degree in time.  

Dr. Tushar Chauhan is a Scientist, Blogger and Scientific-writer. He has completed PhD in Genetics. Dr. Chauhan is a PhD coach and tutor.

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Tress Academic

Coloured pencils for PhD project planning

#47: Plan your project – save your PhD!

March 31, 2020 by Tress Academic

Are you uncertain how your project will unfold? Do you have constant worries about the progress of your PhD project? Are you anxious that you won’t be able to finish on time? You’re not alone! We know these problems all too well. But, there’s only one way forward: Planning your project and the individual steps until completion. We’ll give you a helping hand with our quick-guide introducing you to PhD-planning in just 5 easy steps. 

Do you have a gut feeling that you’re losing too much time with the pace of your work right now? Is your inner voice whispering ‘This is not going to work out!’ Are you faced with sleepless nights because your current experiment is taking forever, or not yielding any early results? Perhaps your hand-in date is creeping closer and you’re not sure you’ll be able to make it to the finish line on time. 

All of these are very common PhD student worries and they can really bring you down. Unfortunately, we’re all too familiar with these thoughts. But what can you do to turn the dread into confidence about your project and give yourself peace-of-mind? 

One fantastic way to combat your anxieties is to have a close look at the timeline of your project and plan how it will unfold. Specifically, we mean  it’s time to plan your PhD!

In our courses for PhD students we emphasise the role of planning, and give step-by-step instructions on how to plan a PhD, because we know that for some PhD students, the words ‘PhD project’ and ‘planning’ do not mesh well together. Many want the freedom to make choices as they come (after years of studying hard, the PhD seems to give that) and don’t want to be restricted by a plan. Or worse, they think that if they plan something now, it’s set in stone and they’ll be forced to carry out their project exactly this way, so a plan at this stage would be pointless. 

But as we’ll show you below, planning your PhD project is: 

a) absolutely necessary, so forget your excuses not to do it  b) important c) completely doable !

Believe us, it is the number one strategy to calm your nerves, avoid sleepless nights, and to move your PhD project safely through the course and land it on the deadline. We know that taking the first step in planning is the most difficult one, so we’ve developed a super-handy Quick-guide: Planning your PhD project to get you started! It also functions as a ‘reboot’ for those of you who did ‘a bit’ of PhD planning some time in the past, but dropped it along the way. Are you ready to stop giving excuses?

how to write a phd study plan

Objections to planning your PhD project – and why they fall flat

Here are a few of the most common reasons we’ve heard PhD students say why they can’t create a plan. We want to share them with you, in case you recognise a similar train of thought you’ve been on..If some of this sounds familiar, it might help you to realise that maybe you were just looking for excuses

1. I am not ready yet – it’s too early to plan 

Too early? Ok, you can take a few weeks getting oriented at the beginning, but then sit down and start planning out your PhD project. Planning always reflects your knowledge of the state of the art at a particular date. You’re simply trying to get an idea of how your project would best unfold now. So no, it’s never too early!

2. Science needs creativity – I want to be able to react spontaneously

Great. We completely agree – and a creative mind is an important factor. But do not use ‘creativity’ as an excuse not to plan! There’s a lot of space for creativity in science since it’ll help you push beyond the boundaries of existing knowledge, but you still need to know the boundaries within which your project operates: e.g. available time, university requirements, graduate school programme, facilities, funding … just to mention a few. Even if you plan your project in detail, you can still make adjustments to follow your creative mind. But with a plan, you know what your goal is and what changes you want to make, plus what the implications are for this within the above-mentioned boundaries. 

3. I have a high-risk project – I can’t plan for something if I don’t know the outcome 

Right. Strictly speaking, you never really know the outcome of a scientific project (that’s why you do it!). But, of course, your ideas, assumptions, expectations, hypotheses, and options are based on your knowledge and assumptions. You don’t do research just to try something out, but because you have reason to believe it WILL give you a particular result (or to prove that it doesn’t). So you are planning with an assumption in mind, which we will call your goal. If your project involves risks, you should be familiar with them (e.g. plan for them) and reserve some of your resources in anticipation of what might happen. Whether or not it is a good strategy to pick a high-risk project for a PhD is another discussion entirely. But if you make a plan, at least you know the risks, you can adapt to it and have a plan B ready.

how to write a phd study plan

4. My project will change so it’s not worth sitting down and making a plan now.

Very well. Of course, it will change! We hope it will, or, to put it another way- it will evolve! PhD projects alter and get better as your body of knowledge on the subject grows. But, there is a fundamental difference between NOT PLANNING, and IMPROVING AND UPDATING AN EXISTING PLAN so that it reflects the latest developments. As your project changes, so does your plan. 

Planning is an ongoing activity: you start now and you finish once you tick-off the very last milestone on your project plan. 

5. I am a scientist, not an administrator! 

Of course you are, granted! But, did you know that in order to be really successful in science today, you also need to be pretty adept in a ton of so-called “complementary skills”? One of these is being able to organise, implement and successfully complete a project within a given timeframe and budget. In a few years, you’ll likely be applying for grants to coordinate much bigger research initiatives worth millions of EUR/USD/BP (or whatever your currency is). So learning to manage your project at the PhD stage is a rite of passage that will benefit your future career. It is a great skill to pick up now, so later you can demonstrate your expertise.

On a side note: We can’t forget to mention that writing and publishing papers is another crucial skill in academic work. And if you want to learn more about this in a structured way, look at our blog posts no. 5 How to get started with writing papers? or no. 36: 5 tips to get a paper accepted this year .

Why is planning so important? – How does it help my PhD?

Not planning a PhD project is the same as driving in the dark without headlights! You won’t know where you’re heading to, you can’t see the bumps in the road, and you’ll likely overshoot your goal! If you fail to plan you’re actually planning to fail. OR: To put it more positively, planning your project is the number one strategy that will help you to complete your PhD successfully. Good planning can save your PhD! 

If you’re still unconvinced, here are a few more reasons planning makes all the difference:

  • When you plan, you define your project . You make your objectives and your timeline explicit. 
  • When you plan you put your project ideas down in writing . That means your project stops existing only in your mind(and thus constantly subject to new whims) and enters the solid state of being fixed on paper. It is now visible for everyone, not least of all your supervisors, so it becomes much easier to discuss your project with them.
  • When you plan, you know exactly what you’re aiming for , so you can move towards it more easily. If you don’t know what your project is about, you’ll end up doing a lot of extra work here and there that won’t be relevant in the end.
  • When you have a plan and project goals, you have a benchmark to track your progress and your achievements against. Your progress becomes tangible and measurable for you and those around you. 
  • Planning will give you clarity . It’ll help you to focus on the most important things. PhD students often describe that planning their project helped them to discover many things they had not thought of before – in terms of how to carry out their project. 
  • Planning will enable you to track your progress , help you to detect delays and make adjustments before it is too late.  
  • Planning is a great way to calm your nerves . The uncertainty and anxiety will be gone: you will always know where you are with your PhD and never succumb to panic attacks or sleepless nights again. 
  • We can’t overstate the importance of the final point: Having a plan means you know when you are done . You know when you cracked the code and completed all the tasks you set out to.

When should I do the planning for my PhD project?

Ideally, you have an initial project plan or at least outlined a draft a few weeks into your PhD. Yes, we know what you’re thinking now: “I’m not living in an ideal world!” So the answer is simple: ANYTIME! 

Yes, you can work on the planning of your project any time in your PhD. You’re only exempted if you have a shiny-new-10-page-project-plan in your drawer right now. But seriously, whether you are in the first year or third year of your PhD, or even with just a few months left, it’s never too early or too late. Simply start now and draw up a plan for the remaining time of your PhD. If you haven’t downloaded it already, get our Quick-guide: Planning your PhD project to get you started now.

Check the regulations of your university or graduate school programme because some require you to hand-in a project plan at a particular point in time! But even if yours does NOT we always suggest you to plan – simply for your own well-being and that of your PhD. 

How do I plan? I don’t have much experience…

No surprise here, you are in good company! In spite of its importance, only a few PhD students know how to plan a project from scratch. But, don’t despair! You’re smart and we can give you a boost with our Quick-guide: Planning your PhD project .

Our guide’s initial steps will prompt you with a few crucial questions and decisions to get you started. It shows you how to sketch out some preliminary answers, which you can then develop into a fully-fledged project plan! Something that you can share with your supervisors (and everyone else involved) to steer your project. 

Are you longing for more support with the planning of your PhD? We’re on a continuous journey to improve our offers for you and offer a  free PhD Webinar  that will give you further hints on how to plan your PhD project.  Sign up now ,  so you don’t miss out on this opportunity and we’ll give you a shout when the next one is available.

We know that planning can’t prevent every disaster in your PhD and it can’t remedy all your problems. But, it’s the very best way forward and will make your PhD and your life a whole lot easier! No more panicking or nightmares! A detailed plan for your project will calm your mind! The worries about your PhD won’t go away unless you tackle them – so grab the bull by the horns! 

Related resources:

  • Smart Academics Blog #5: How to get started with writing papers?  
  • Smart Academics Blog #36: 5 tips to get a paper accepted this year  
  • Smart Academics Blog #55: 7 signs you need help with your PhD
  • Smart Academics Blog #60: Are you delayed with your PhD?
  • Smart Academics Blog #85: Planning your PhD workday
  • Smart Academics Blog #112: PhD project-planning quick-start
  • Smart Academics Blog #113: Identify your top PhD priority to boost your progress
  • QUICK GUIDE: Planning your PhD project
  • Expert Guide: 5 reasons why PhD students delay and how to avoid
  • Free PhD Webinar: Sign-up!

More information: 

Do you want to successfully complete your PhD study? If so, please sign up to receive our free guides .    

© 2020 Tress Academic

#PhD, #PhDProject, #PhDPlanning, #ProjectPlan,  #DoctoralStudies

How to develop an awesome PhD timeline step-by-step

Photo of Master Academia

A successful PhD journey begins with a solid plan that includes a PhD timeline . A thought-through and well-designed PhD timeline requires some time but can be accomplished in a few simple steps.

Why a clear PhD research timeline matters

Step 1: decide what to include in your phd timeline, step 2: discuss your provisional phd timeline with your supervisor/s, step 3: design your phd timeline, step 4: regularly update your phd timeline.

Doing a PhD means committing to a challenging project that spans several years. Therefore, it is no surprise that doing a PhD can feel quite overwhelming. How do you even begin to tackle such a huge project?

A PhD timeline breaks down the daunting task of doing a PhD into an actionable plan with tasks and milestones along the way.

Even if not everything will go as planned (which is normal and no problem!), a PhD timeline can give PhD students peace of mind. A good plan, worked out in a PhD timeline, helps them to structure their time, communicate their goals and work toward specific targets.

Some PhD students are required to create a PhD timeline as part of their programme. Yet, even if PhD students are not required to do so, it is highly recommended to create a PhD timeline!

PhD timelines should be as diverse as PhD research projects: What you decide to include in your timeline should fit to your situation, goals and your programmes’ requirements.

Common elements included in a PhD timeline are the following:

  • Data collection : How, when and where are you collecting your research data?
  • Fieldwork : Is your data collection spread out or are you spending several weeks doing fieldwork? If so, when is this scheduled and how can you avoid overlaps with other requirements, such as coursework?
  • Experiments : Are you running experiments for your PhD research? If so, when? And how long do you estimate this will take you?
  • Data analysis : Once you have your data, be it quantitative or qualitative data, when and how do you analyse it? How much time do you block for this task?
  • Writing plan : When are you writing down your results? How can you break down writing into different parts, for instance, writing goals per chapter or article?
  • Publications : Publication requirements differ from PhD programme to programme. Even if you write your PhD as a monograph (instead of a selection of articles) , you should try to publish something during your PhD. When would you have an opportunity to do so, and how much time does it require?
  • Conferences : Every PhD student should present at a conference during their PhD trajectory. Which conferences are you interested in? When do they take place, and when would you have findings to share at a conference?
  • Coursework : What are your PhD programme’s coursework requirements? What courses are you interested in, and when are they offered?
  • Other activities : Are there any other activities that are crucial for your PhD project? Think, for instance, about an extensive dissemination campaign, collaboration with external partners, internships, online activities etcetera.

Make a draft plan, including dates and times. Then move to Step 2: Discussing it with your supervisor/s!

Proactively creating your PhD timeline is a good step as a PhD student. However, you should share your thoughts and ideas with your PhD supervisor/s and get their input.

If possible, set up a meeting with your supervisor/s that is entirely dedicated to your PhD timeline. During this meeting, you can share what you created so far.

Then, you should discuss the following questions:

  • Is there anything missing in the PhD timeline?
  • Is the PhD timeline realistic?
  • Should anything be removed from the PhD timeline to prioritise other tasks?
  • Does the PhD timeline meet all the formal requirements to graduate within the designated amount of time?
  • Is there institutional support and sufficient financial resources for activities such as fieldwork, conference attendance, etcetera?

Make sure to take notes during the meeting, as you will need the answers to these questions to edit your provisional PhD timeline.

Not only will this discussion help you to finalise your PhD timeline. It will also help you to get clarity on your supervisor/s’ expectations!

You may also like: Planning your PhD research: A 3-year PhD timeline example

Following the input of your supervisor/s, your PhD timeline will reach a more final stage. Now it is time to think about designing your PhD timeline:

A well-designed PhD timeline is not just pretty for the eyes, but it makes it much easier to have a good overview of all plans and milestones ahead.

Yet, it would be wrong to argue that there is a one-size-fits all solution to designing a perfect PhD timeline.

Maybe you are a very visual person and would prefer your timeline to illustrate a broad overview of the upcoming years. Maybe you are encouraged by checking things off your to-do list. In that case, a more detailed PhD timeline with many different tasks and milestones may be more suitable for you.

A common way to design PhD timelines is via Gantt charts. If you want to learn more about Gantt charts for your PhD timeline, check out my post on how to design Gantt charts in Microsoft Excel, Power Point and Word.

how to write a phd study plan

A PhD timeline is there to keep you on track and to showcase the milestones that you reached in your journey so far. However, while it is good to have a solid plan, the future is impossible to predict.

Your PhD timeline should be a living document or chart. Update it regularly!

For instance, a conference may be cancelled. You may have a period of sick leave. An experiment may not work out as planned. Or writing a paper takes longer than expected.

Successful PhD students remain flexible and don’t panic as soon as something does not work out as planned.

So, use your PhD timeline to regularly reflect on your progress and your current situation. Update your PhD timeline when needed, to prioritise tasks and set more concrete and achievable goals for the upcoming months.

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How to Write a Study Plan for a Scholarship

Last Updated: October 25, 2023 Fact Checked

This article was co-authored by Alexander Ruiz, M.Ed. . Alexander Ruiz is an Educational Consultant and the Educational Director of Link Educational Institute, a tutoring business based in Claremont, California that provides customizable educational plans, subject and test prep tutoring, and college application consulting. With over a decade and a half of experience in the education industry, Alexander coaches students to increase their self-awareness and emotional intelligence while achieving skills and the goal of achieving skills and higher education. He holds a BA in Psychology from Florida International University and an MA in Education from Georgia Southern University. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 213,671 times.

If you are asked to write a study plan for a scholarship, you may not know where to begin. Basically, a study plan describes what you'll be studying and why. One common scholarship committee that asks for study plans is the China Scholarship Council (CSC). Start by establishing your main educational goals, and then talk about how you plan to achieve them. Conclude your study plan, and spend time refining your writing.

What to Write About

Step 1 Explain your main educational goals.

  • For instance, maybe your main goals for studying in China are to gain a bachelor's degree in business and learn Chinese because it's becoming a global language. You could write, "My main two educational objectives are to gain a bachelor's degree in business and to learn to speak Chinese. Chinese is becoming a global language, so I feel it's necessary to learn it."

Step 2 Explain why you chose a particular school or program.

  • For instance, you might write, "I was born in the United States, but my grandparents on both sides are Chinese. I chose this business program because I want to connect with my heritage, improve my Chinese, and eventually, help establish better relations between China and the U.S. by improving trade relations."

Step 3 Discuss your future research if you're a postgraduate student.

  • For example, you might say, "As a PhD candidate, I plan to conduct research on how ancient tradition and ritual influence contemporary Chinese culture, which will include a literature review and extensive interviews with historians and a small sampling of the Chinese population."

Step 4 Narrow your research to show you're serious.

  • It can help to draw a conceptual model. Start with the antecedents (the causes) and the mediators (the processes that change the antecedents). Finish with the outcomes. Draw lines between them to help you see which variables are more central to your problem.
  • Consider asking peers or professors to look at your research proposal. They may be able to help you narrow.

Step 5 Talk about how your studies will help your long-term goals.

  • For instance, you might say, "One of my long-term goals is to open an import business from China to the United States, and learning about business in China will be essential to making my endeavors a success."

Explaining Your Plans

Step 1 Establish how you plan to meet each goal.

  • For instance, if you plan on doing a PhD where you'll need participants, discuss how you'll find people for your study. You might say, "I plan to put out an ad to gain participants for a focus group, as well as contact historians by phone and email for interviews."

Step 2 Talk about how you plan to overcome obstacles.

  • For example, you might write, "I anticipate the language barrier will be an issue at first. However, I plan to work hard early on to learn the language, and I am already taking intensive classes now."

Step 3 Establish the methodology you plan to use.

  • To help you choose, do a thorough literature review. Look at the research that has been done in the area you plan to study. Note the primary methods used to do the research and the pros and cons of each. Choose a method based on what you think will work best for your research. [6] X Trustworthy Source American Psychological Association Leading scientific and professional organization of licensed psychologists Go to source

Step 4 Establish your sampling strategy if you plan on using one.

  • For instance, you might use simple random sampling or systematic sampling when the whole population is similar based on the variables for your study. On the other hand, a stratified random sample is often used when you have people who are different from each other based on your variables.

Concluding and Refining Your Writing

Step 1 Wrap up your study plan with a short summary.

  • For example, you might write, "Thank you for considering me for this scholarship. If I receive this award, I can focus solely on my studies. I will work hard to implement my goals of learning Chinese and gaining a business degree at a Chinese university, and your trust in me will not be wasted."

Step 2 Write plainly and eliminate jargon.

  • You don't need to write as if you're talking to a child. However, you should write so someone outside of your discipline can easily understand your plan.

Step 3 Be as detailed as possible.

  • The space for the study plan on the CSC application is only a couple of lines. However, the application suggests you attach more paper as needed.

Step 4 Have someone proofread the study plan after you.

Scholarship Study Plan Template

how to write a phd study plan

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  • ↑ https://www.ecpi.edu/blog/how-to-set-educational-goals-and-meet-them
  • ↑ https://bangalorestudy.com/blog/factors-to-consider-while-choosing-a-school
  • ↑ Alexander Ruiz, M.Ed.. Educational Consultant. Expert Interview. 18 June 2020.
  • ↑ http://www.apa.org/gradpsych/2005/03/methods.aspx
  • ↑ https://www.collegedata.com/resources/money-matters/10-ways-to-stand-out-when-applying-for-scholarships
  • ↑ http://www.natco1.org/research/files/SamplingStrategies.pdf

About This Article

Alexander Ruiz, M.Ed.

If you’re unsure how to go about writing a study plan for a scholarship, focus on explaining your educational goals and discussing how you’ll achieve them. Begin by briefly stating what you want to study and why. For example, you might say you want to study business management in China so you can learn Chinese, because it will soon be a global language. Then, provide some personalized reasons as to why you chose the school you want to go to, such as research interests or long-term goals. After laying out your goals, show the scholarship committee how you’ll achieve them. If you’ll be carrying out research, for instance, write about how you’ll find participants for your study. You should also try to mention possible obstacles and how you’ll overcome them, since the committee will be impressed to see you’re thinking ahead. For tips on how to proofread your study plan before sending it off, keep reading! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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