Image of Gareth Phoenix

Postgraduate study: information for International students

Thank you for visiting our web pages: I hope this is the first step on your path to graduating with a PhD or MPhil from Sheffield. My team and I will make every effort to support you in that endeavour and strongly encourage applications from students who are excited and motivated by the challenge of research. This page, and the links from it, are designed to provide you with useful information, and guide you through the process of making a successful application.  If you have any questions which are not covered here, then please get in touch with us.


Gareth Phoenix (Director of Graduate Studies)

Lab work - pipetting

Why Animal and Plant Sciences?

The Department of Animal and Plant Sciences is among the largest and most successful whole organism biology departments in the UK.  Independent assessments of the University of Sheffield and the Department of Animal and Plant Sciences demonstrate our national and international standing as a centre of excellence in research and teaching. 

The Department provides a vibrant and supportive research environment, with a community of approximately 50 PhD students. Currently currently about half of these are international students, from a range of countries including China, France, Iran, Japan, Libya, Malaysia, Mexico, Nigeria, Oman, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Switzerland, Thailand and USA.

Postgraduate student

Photograph of plants in growth chamber

Photo of root-mycorrhizal interaction

Opportunities for international students

We welcome applications from international students (i.e. those outside the European Union), to work in any of our areas of research interest.  Because of the differences in funding and eligibility between EU and non-EU applicants, you will not be eligible to apply for the specific projects listed on the "Current Opportunities" page, though of course you should to look at them to get an idea of the subject and scope of some prospective PhD and MPhil projects.  However, what you should do is as follows:

First: have a look at the list of research areas for staff in the Department, and see if people in APS are working in the subject areas that you are interested in.  (When you have identified staff with relevant interests then you might also want to look at their own web pages for more details).

Second: Read the information on funding and qualifications (below) as we will need to ask you about those things when you make an enquiry.

Third: If there is a research topic that is close to what you are looking for, and you think you have the right qualification and possible funding source, then fill in an enquiry form so we can advise you on whether to make a full application.

Fourth: When you hear back from us, we will tell you on whether your proposed research area, qualifications and proposed source of funding are appropriate, and whether you should make a full application.  Such applications are made online, through the University application system.

The reason we suggest you do it in these three stages is so that: (a) you can direct your enquiry to the most appropriate staff in the Department, (b) we can advise you on the suitability of your current qualifications, and (c) to save you going to the effort of submitting a full application until you know that it is sensible to do so.

Fish behaviour research

What funding sources and qualifications are appropriate?

Our successful international applicants have funding that covers their stipend and tuition fees, usually from one of the following sources:

  • Your government (for example scholarships for study abroad).
  • A specific scheme for funding academic study between your country (or region), and the UK.
  • Self funding (i.e. your own resources).

Some of these types of funding may be available once the you have a PhD offer from us, and if this is the case you can explain this on the enquiry form.   The important point is that you need to be able to secure funding (which covers your stipend and fees) from a source external to the University of Sheffield (i.e. not through the Sheffield University/Faculty scholarship scheme) in order to have a realistic prospect of securing a PhD position with us.

Fluorescence image of leaf

What qualifications are appropriate?

Qualifications: we would expect (a) a first class, or upper second class, undergraduate degree in a relevant subject, or an equivalent qualification, and (b) a formal English Language test (e.g., TOEFL, IELTS) score of 5.5. or higher in each test category. If you do not have a recognized certificate with this score (or equivalent) you cannot secure a visa for entry to the UK. You will need to give details of this qualification in your initial enquiry so that we can advise you about making a full application.

Photograph of student group at the Interval cafe bar

Can I earn enough to support myself while doing a research degree?

No. A UK PhD is a full time commitment, and whilst there are opportunities to earn some additional income by contributing to practical teaching, there is not sufficient of this work to provide an adequate income.