A PhD is very different from any other academic course, and applying for one takes significant time and planning.

The earlier you begin considering how to apply for your PhD the better – you’ll have more time to strengthen your proposal, develop relationships with potential supervisors and get that much-needed support and guidance throughout the application process.

1. Identify your research area

You’ll probably have a good understanding of what interests you and some questions you’d like to answer, but it’s also important to read extensively around your subject to refine your area of interest.

2. Select the appropriate School

Once you’re clear on the area you’d like to focus your research on, it’s a good idea to find the School in which you’ll undertake your studies. In the Faculty of Humanities, subjects are spread across five Schools. Find out more about:

3. Find a supervisor

As a doctoral student, your supervisor will be a key part of the success of your studies. Firstly you’ll need to identify 1-2 academic members of staff with experience in your field. Secondly, you should contact them to discuss your research proposal and key objectives before you submit a formal application. This will enable you to fine-tune your proposal and check that we can identify a suitable supervisory team for you.

Find out more about finding a supervisor

4. Write a research proposal

This is a crucial part of your doctoral application and needs to make a positive and powerful impact. Take time to clarify your ideas, plan a coherent structure and – where possible – use your prospective supervisor’s support to help strengthen your idea. Make sure to watch our webinar for more guidance.

5. Submit an application

Complete and submit our online application form making sure you have relevant documentation to hand, such as your CV, certificates, transcripts and evidence of English language ability (if applicable). Remember to make a note of application deadlines.

6. Find funding

If you’re self-funding your project you’ll have a lot more flexibility, but those looking for studentships or awards need to apply much earlier. To be considered for University of Research Council studentships you’ll need an offer of a place before you can secure funding. As securing funding can be a challenge for many research students, we suggest you start looking as early as possible and ensure that you’re aware of deadline dates for the various funding bodies.

If you still have questions regarding applications processes, timelines or want additional support why not get in touch with the admissions team for your programme? All contact details are listed on the relevant programme profile.