How to apply for a PhD

The School of Education will help you develop your studies onto the doctoral level.

Postgraduate students in the School of Education

Apply online

All applications for our PhD programme can be made through our online application system. 

Online application

Entry requirements

You will need a first degree which is equivalent to a UK classification of an upper second, or better, and a masters degree which is equivalent to a UK mark of 65% or above. Candidates with other qualifications will be considered on an individual basis.

English language requirements

Tips for your PhD application

Your application 

The School of Education encourages PhD applications which correspond to the research interests and expertise of staff - we can then offer high-quality supervision in your chosen field. 

We welcome applications for PhD study on both a full-time (3 year) or part-time (6 year) basis.

Please look at our staff profiles and research specialisms before applying. Information relating to our research themes can be found here on the Research pages.

If you are interested in applying to study at Sheffield and have an idea of who you would ideally like to work with, indicate this on the application form where it asks for a proposed supervisor. You are welcome to contact staff directly to discuss your research ideas, though we recommend that you acquaint yourself first with their research work and demonstrate a good understanding of how your research project might align with their expertise.

Applicants are required to upload a Research Proposal and a Personal Statement (as separate attachments). Please upload your Research Proposal in this section and add your Personal Statement in the 'course supporting documents' section.

The Research Proposal

This proposal should be about 1,000-3,000 words in length (except where indicated otherwise on departmental web pages) and should incorporate the following information:

  • word count on the first page.
  • A title that accurately describes your research focus.
  • A description of your research aims and (where relevant) your research questions.
  • A brief identification of the field in which your study would be located and of the contribution your research might make to that field.
  • The methods of research proposed and a plan and timetable of work.

Please note, research proposals are preferred that show a strong alignment with staff research interests in the School of Education. Staff research profiles can be consulted here, and an overview of research in the department can be found here.

The Personal Statement

Applicants should submit a personal statement of 250-750 words that supplements (rather than reiterates) your research proposal. It should:

  • Explain your interest in the topic you intend to study;
  • Describe previous research experience and scholarly activity (eg research training; conference attendance; academic/professional publications; etc)
  • Detail relevant professional experience;
  • Explain, specifically, why you wish to study at Sheffield and the School of Education (e.g. areas of staff interest and expertise allied to your interests etc).

Document formats

We can accept the following document formats: Adobe Portable Document Format (.pdf), Microsoft Word Documents (.doc, .docx), Rich Text Document (.rtf), and Plain Text (.txt).

More advice on your application can be found on our central PhD webpages.

Applications usually take between 6 and 8 weeks to be considered, though at certain times of year, this timeframe may be exceeded. If you do not hear from us within 10 weeks, please do feel free to get in touch with

White Rose Social Sciences Doctoral Training Partnership Scholarships 2022/23

Nominations are now open for White Rose Social Sciences Doctoral Training Partnership (WRDTP) Scholarships commencing in October 2023.  If you are interested in studying for a PhD in The School of Education, you are eligible for nomination by your supervisor to the WRDTP Studentships.

Find out more

Find a PhD

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