Writing a research proposal

Before you start writing your research proposal, look at our online guidelines, which will help give you a clear understanding of what we look for in a research proposal.

It is recommended the research proposal is no more than two pages long. It should state your research topic and outline your research plan and the objectives you wish to meet. You must also be able to show you have sufficient experience and knowledge in the selected area. The proposal should be accompanied by at least 10 cited references.

Finding a supervisor

Browse our register of supervisors to find one for your intended research project.

About research at Curtin

Curtin University is widely recognised for producing practical research that solves real-world challenges. In the latest Excellence in Research for Australia report, Curtin ranked at world standard level or above in 49 of the 69 fields of research that were assessed. It is also in the top 300 of the Academic Ranking of World Universities.

If you have a keen interest to make tomorrow better through research, Curtin offers you a wide variety of opportunities, and access to purpose-built facilities, field-specific information, industry experts and highly accomplished industry mentors.

Every faculty at Curtin is involved in high-impact research that could make a real difference to industry and the broader community. Staff and students are currently involved in more than 70 major research institutes, centres and collaborations.

Curtin’s researchers work closely with industry on many projects. Partners include Alcoa, Alzheimer’s Australia, Bankwest, BHP Billiton, Cancer Council Western Australia, Chevron, CSIRO, Rio Tinto, the Water Corporation and Woodside.

“I checked the university website and Western Australia information websites. I found everything I needed. I got very positive feedback from a Curtin professor. It was terrific, talking about what I could do. Chevron were keen to support the research, basically I just had to apply online and get all my paperwork done. They accepted my application and I came to Australia to do my PhD.”

Laura Machuca Suarez, Columbia, Research Fellow, Corrosion Engineering at Curtin University.

Research areas

Curtin produces a high number of PhD graduates and quality research publications, focusing on four key research areas.

Minerals and energy

Research groups from across the University undertake both fundamental and applied research in resource exploration, extraction and processing; development of new materials, energy sources and fuel technologies; mineral and energy economics and policy; and the impact of mining on remote communities.

ICT and emerging technologies

Information communication technology and emerging technologies is a broad area of study concerned with the use of technology to communicate and use information. Researchers from Curtin are involved in the international Square Kilometre Array (SKA), the world’s largest radio astronomy project and in areas such as spatial science, wireless telecommunications, digital humanities, e-business, e-health and digital ontologies.


Health science students have excellent opportunities to join programs within the Curtin Health Innovation Research Institute (CHIRI) Biosciences, which takes an innovative approach to addressing the burden of chronic conditions and lifestyle diseases that impact communities worldwide. Research conducted at CHIRI focuses on five primary themes: ageing, chronic disease, Indigenous health, and mental health and population health.

Sustainable development

Curtin offers research opportunities in sustainable development in two broad areas: built environment and natural environment. The first includes social/cultural sustainability, urban design construction management and sustainable cities, while the second is concerned with climate change, biodiversity, sustainable tourism, food security and sustainable resource processing.