postgraduate smiling


Read our easy-to-follow advice on how to complete and submit your postgraduate research application

Before you apply

Whatever postgraduate research route you take, you'll first need to identify which of the subject areas in which we offer supervision is the best fit for your research. You'll need to think about how to fund your research too.

And before you apply, you'll also need to have the following supporting documentation ready:

  • A personal statement
  • A research proposal (if required) or the project code (if you are applying for a pre-defined project)
  • Proof of your first degree and grades (officially certified and translated copies if not in English)
  • Details of 2 referees or 2 references on official headed paper, one of which should be an academic reference
  • Proof of your English language proficiency (if English is not your first language)
  • An up-to-date copy of your CV

If you're an international student who wants to apply for a research degree, you can find more information – such as how to secure your visa and how to fund your studies – on our international pages.

How to apply

Postgraduate research paths

As a general rule, to apply for a PhD, MPhil or MD with us, you'll need a good first degree from an internationally-recognised university or a Master’s degree in an appropriate subject. We'll also consider outstanding applicants with exceptional equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications.

Ready to begin exploring your PhD options? There are 3 different ways to start the process.

Got your own idea for a Phd? 

If you've already got your own research idea, you can start looking for a supervisor whose research interests match yours right away, using our Find a PhD Supervisor page. Once you've found someone suitable, you can contact them directly to discuss your idea in detail.

Or if you'd like to just make a general first enquiry, contact our admissions team.

Explore our pre-approved PhD projects

We've got a long list of already-approved PhD projects available across most of our subject areas – browse the list of current projects, and contact the relevant supervisors to discuss your interest before you apply.

Explore our subject areas

Find out what areas we specialise in, and get in contact with the teams within our various subject areas – they're on-hand to talk to you about your plans, and ultimately, help you find a supervisor too.

To be considered for a PhD by publication, you'll need to have held an undergraduate or postgraduate degree – awarded either by a UK higher education institute or a recognised non-UK equivalent – for at least 5 years.

To apply, you'll need to submit an online application form, together with the following materials:

  • A CV and the names of two references
  • A title of the proposed PhD
  • A listing of the published work on which the application is based
  • A statement of not more than 1000 words setting out the candidates view of the nature and significance of the work submitted

If your application is successful, you'll need to submit the already-published materials – those that you wish to be considered as part of your PhD by publication award – between 6-12 months after registering with us.

You can apply for our MRes courses directly from their respective course pages – choose the relevant course from the list below to start.

After you apply

Once we've received your application, it usually takes us around 4 weeks to process it and give you a decision. To help us review your application as quickly as possible, you should make sure to include all the relevant supporting documentation (including a proposal, if required). It's also helpful if you've discussed your research interests with a potential supervisor beforehand.

After we've reviewed your application, we'll either accept or reject it. If yours is accepted, we'll invite you for an interview next.

When should I apply?

Our postgraduate research degrees start in February or October. We accept applications all year round, but we suggest applying 2–3 months before your chosen start date – so for a February start, you should apply in the preceding November, and for an October start, you should apply by May or June. If you can't apply that far in advance, don't worry – we'll do our best to process later applications too.

Apply now

Criminal convictions

When you apply to us, we'll ask you to declare if you have any relevant criminal convictions. A 'relevant' conviction is defined as one involving any kind of violence. These include:

  • offences concerning the intention to harm or resulting in actual bodily harm
  • the unlawful supply of controlled drugs or substances where the conviction concerns commercial drug dealing or trafficking
  • offences involving firearms
  • arson
  • offences listed in the Sex Offences Act 2003 or the Terrorism Act 2006

'Spent' convictions are no longer 'relevant' unless you're applying for a teaching, health or social work course or a course involving work with children or vulnerable adults. A conviction becomes 'spent' if you don't re-offend during your rehabilitation period (as defined by The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974).

Assessing applicants with relevant criminal convictions

If you've declared a relevant criminal conviction in your application, we'll contact you to confirm you've declared it correctly. Please don't give us details of the offences when you contact us.

Once we have your confirmation, a panel of our senior staff will consider your application confidentially.

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