Entry Requirements and How to Apply

PGR StudentsThe PhD is a doctoral qualification which is gained through successful production of a thesis and viva. After a 9-12 month period, students produce a 10,000 word confirmation review paper which is orally examined and on successful completion PhD status is confirmed. Students may study for their PhD on a full or part time basis.

The School of Education welcomes applications from students who wish to take their studies up to doctoral level. The PhD is primarily for students who already have an area of interest that they would like to pursue.

The Faculty of Social Sciences, in collaboration with the White Rose Doctoral Training Partnership provides students with the skills to become independent researchers working at the cutting edge of the social sciences, and to become critically reflective in their research practice and personal development.

Students beginning a social science PhD are supported through a structured programme of training that ensures all students have a broad base of initial training (theoretical, methodological and professional research skills) and thereafter can build up their experience in four areas essential to social science researchers: subject knowledge, interdisciplinary working, advanced research methods, and professional skills for research leadership. 

The programme as a whole supports them in the transition to employment within a professional research career, either within academia or beyond, and offers all students the opportunity to graduate with a training qualification (a Postgraduate Diploma or Certificate in Advanced Social Research) integrated with their PhD study.

Entry Requirements

Research students normally need a first degree which is equivalent to a UK classification of 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.

For students whose first language is not English, the School requires an IELTS grade of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in each component, or equivalent.

Entry requirements for international students

Your application for a PhD

Please do not send out emails indiscriminately to all members of staff. 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 Proposed Supervisor. If you don't know who you would like to work with, leave the section blank on the application form.

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

Please examine our staff webprofiles and research specialisms before applying.

Please apply with an initial research proposal of about 500-1,000 words, outlining your research interests and the focus of your study.

We understand that it is difficult to be precise at this stage. Nevertheless, we find it helpful if a proposal includes:

  • A title that accurately describes your research focus.
  • A brief identification of the field in which your study would be located and of the contribution your research might make to that field.
  • Your research aims and questions.
  • Your first thoughts about the methods and the kinds of sources you are likely to use.
  • If accepted, you will receive a provisional offer of a place from the School of Education. When you have accepted the offer, your application will be forwarded to Faculty and, subject to Faculty approval, the University will then formally offer you a place.

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

Apply online now