Writing your expression of interest

Find out how to write an ‘expression of interest’ (research overview) that describes your proposed research project and supports your doctoral application.

We don’t require a full research proposal during the application process. Instead, we ask you to provide a clear overview of the nature of your intended study. You will need to address the following questions:

  1. What specific issue or question are you interested in studying?
  2. Why do you think this topic needs further research?
  3. How might you go about researching this issue?
  4. What particular obstacles or challenges, if any, do you anticipate in conducting this research?
  5. What in your academic, professional, or personal background prepares you to undertake doctoral research?

Align your research

You are more likely to be accepted as a doctoral student if your issue or question matches the research profile of a researcher within the University. Before you write your expression of interest, it's a good idea to look for a potential supervisor and make contact with schools, centres, or institutes with research strengths aligned to your proposed project.

Provide context

You should present your work in the context of the international literature and explain how it would contribute to global knowledge. Mention any specific theories or methods you might draw on or any specific locations, materials, or purposes that you believe would suit a doctoral project.

Subsequent development

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington doctoral candidates begin with up to 12 months of provisional registration. During this period you will work under supervision to develop and write a full formal research proposal.

In many cases, the precise focus of candidates’ research changes from their initial ideas. There can also be restrictions on what can be studied, due to funding considerations or compliance with local requirements. This is why we do not require a research proposal from you during the application process.

Learn about the provisional registration period