Guidelines for the Project Proposal/Description

The following guidelines are provided to aid Ph D. programme applicants to describe their study/research intentions, interest and potential at the Norwegian Academy of Music.

Key elements of a successful project proposal/description:

  • Describe a feasible and well-planned project
  • Demonstrate broad knowledge of relevant research in the selected field
  • Present precise and research invocative questions
  • Demonstrate sound connection between theory and method
  • Originality


The project proposal/description should be about 5 pages (12 pt font and 1 1/2 line spacing). In addition, list of references/works cited should be provided, alphabecially  ordered.


A project proposal/description of purpose should give an account of the following points which may also be used as headings:

Title (informative and short)


Brief summary (approx 10 lines)

The summary shall provide a brief account of the most important points below. The intention is to give the reader sufficient information to consider whether the project is of interest.

Presentation of the problem/hypothesis (approx ½ page)

The presentation of the problem is a concise and aptly worded formulation of what the project intends to investigate and, as the case may be, how and why. A hypothesis contributes to clarifying and delimiting the project. The title is to provide information about what the project deals with, but the presentation of the problem shall define the theme precisely, delimit it and narrow it down. This will help to put the reader's thoughts on the right track.

Background to the project ( 1-2 pages)

Show how the project can supplement earlier research and contribute to new knowledge. Is this an old theme that is going to be analysed in a new way? Or is this a new problem to be presented or new data that can take research in the field a step further? It is important to demonstrate that the project has originality, innovative value and relevance for other research in the field so that the reader feels that the project is interesting and worth investing in.

Theoretical foundation (1/2- 1 page)

Give a brief description of the theoretical framework of the problem presented, and give an account of how theory may be used to investigate the problem.

Data/material and method (approx 1 page)

Give an account of how the problem presented is to be investigated. Describe the data to be taken as a basis and the source material (e.g. original texts, secondary literature, fieldwork, interviews, statistics, etc.) that will be used and how these will be collected and analysed.

Supplementary information

Applicants should present their backgrounds and qualifications and any co-operating partners or research networks to which they may become affiliated, and they should give an account of the feasibility of the project. Any stays abroad are to be mentioned in this connection. Language qualifications are to be mentioned explicitly to the extent that these are relevant for the project.


Give an account of planned forms of dissemination (articles, lectures, presentations/posters at conferences, monographs, etc.).

Progress plan

Make a time schedule for three years divided into each semester as drafted in the application form. Include planned theory courses and any periods of study to be spent outside the Academy.


The project description may be up to 2000 words, i.e. cirka 5 pages, written in 12 pt. font size and 1½ line spacing. The literature list is to be arranged alphabetically by author. The literature list may come in addition to the 5 page project proposal/description. The document MUST be named "Project outline" or similar when submitted. 

Last updated: 18. February 2014