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Course & Subject Guides

Writing a Research Proposal @ Pitt: Welcome!

This guide is designed to assist students or those with limited experience in writing a research proposal for scientific research.


This guide is designed to assist scientists and students of science at the University of Pittsburgh in writing research proposals. It will be useful to those without previous experience who are writing a first proposal for research funding or who are writing to meet course or degree requirements.

Darwin's First Evolutionary Tree

Charles Darwin's first evolutionary tree in his First Notebook on Transmutation of Species from 1837.

Why write a proposal?

You may be writing a proposal for a number of reasons:

  • Class assignment
  • Degree requirement
  • Research funding
  • Career development support
  • Equipment funding
  • Course development

While there may be differences in what is required for different types of proposals, many of the fundamental issues and approaches are the same. This guide focuses mainly on research-type proposals, whether for a course requirement or for actual funding.

18th Century Chemist's Laboratory

18th Century Chemist's Laboratory

Credit: Sandstein. Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.


Margarete Bower's picture
Margarete Bower
Chemistry Library

130 Chevron Science Center


Langley Library

217 Langley Hall


Phases of Venus, observed by Galileo in 1610