How to apply

Applying essentials – PhD study. All the key information about applying for a postgraduate research degree at Sheffield.


Please read this page before you complete your application.

Before you apply

There are three ways you can undertake postgraduate/doctoral research at the University:

  • Researching your own idea with an academic supervisor
  • As part of an existing research project
  • Within one of our Centres for Doctoral Training (CDTs)

Find out more about these different options:

Routes to a PhD

You can search for supervisors, projects and Centres for Doctoral Training on our Find A PhD page. If you want to research your own idea, you should contact the relevant academic department before you submit a formal application, to check that they have an appropriately-qualified supervisor in the area you'd like to study.

Find a PhD

Information about academic entry requirements is available from the department in which your research is based. Entry requirements vary depending on what you study – some subjects require a masters degree, others ask for a good undergraduate degree (a 2:1 or a First). Links to departmental webpages are provided on the Find A PhD page.

Our English language requirements for postgraduate courses are available on our English Language Requirements webpage:

English language requirements for postgraduate courses

A full list of our formal policies, including our Student Admissions Policy, is available on our Policies webpages:

Admissions policies


You can apply for postgraduate research using our Postgraduate Online Application Form. You can find information about how to do this, and a link to the form, on our How To Apply page:

How to apply

Information about the documents you should include to support your application, and how to supply these, is provided in our supporting documents guidance:

Supporting documents

We have further guidance for disciplines that require you to submit a research proposal:

Writing a proposal

Although we recommend you start in September/October, it's often possible to start postgraduate research at any point in the year. Therefore, in many cases, there are no specific deadlines for submitting your application. You can state your preferred start date in your application, although this will need to be confirmed by the academic department.

You should leave yourself plenty of time between applying and your start date to make arrangements to come to Sheffield if we make you an offer, particularly if you're an International applicant and will need to arrange a student visa.

After you apply

You can find out what happens after you've submitted your application on our After You Apply webpage. When we've made a decision on your application we'll send you an email to tell you what that decision is, and what you need to do next:

After you apply

If you'll need a visa to study in the UK, you can find more information about when and how we'll arrange your CAS on our CAS Application webpages:

CAS application

Ask us a question

Browse our frequently asked questions, or ask a question of your own:


A world-class university – a unique student experience

Sheffield is a research university with a global reputation for excellence. We're a member of the Russell Group: one of the 24 leading UK universities for research and teaching.