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PhD research proposal under word count.

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Why bother with a post grad? Are they even worth it? Have your say! 26-10-2016
    • Thread Starter

    Hi everyone!

    I am currently in the process of completing my PhD application for Sciences Po in international relations. Sciences Po outlines that a research proposal/project with a maximum of 5000 words must be submitted. I have approximately 2500 words and I feel like I have outlined and conveyed everything that I need to say in the proposal. Do you think that this is too far below the word limit? By saying 5000 word maximum are they indicating that they expect a word count close to that figure?

    Thanks in advance!

    Half the word limit may look bad. I'd say bring it up to at least 3500-4000. Make sure that you've shown that you're thinking deeply about the topic and methods and have explained everything so that a non-expert academic audience can understand it.

    Usually, you need to be within 10% of max word count, and that's below the maximum, rather than above. Can you do more to locate your research proposal within the wider context, and identify it's potential contribution to knowledge? That's the crux of most proposals. And also, expand your methodology and rationale for your method.

    Then you can throw in a paragraph about the potential direction for further research following your own contribution to knowledge.

    This is not a case of being a university assignment where you are expected to reach the word count. These kind of proposals are completely up to you to convey what you need to. The word count is simply there to stop people endlessly going on as someone will have to read it.

    So if you honestly think it is a robust proposal and there is nothing more you can add then I think that is fine and you can submit it. But might be worth getting someone else to look over it, they may see something you've missed and advise you to add a bit more in etc.

    Good luck
    • Thread Starter

    Thanks for the responses! I will take your advice into account.
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