How to apply

To apply to study for a PhD with us, you will need to make a formal application using the University of Sheffield’s online application form.

Phd student and supervisor reviewing research on a computer.

How to apply

The first step is to find a supervisor, an expert in the research area who can guide you through the programme. Write to them to explain your research idea and ask if they are interested in supervising. Once you have found a prospective supervisor, you can make an application.

Before you apply, make sure you know about the key deadlines

We will not be able to process an application until we receive all of the required details, including your PhD supporting statement and research proposal and supporting documents.

Application checklist

  • I have a good first degree (2:1 or equivalent).
  • I have a Masters level qualification (Merit or equivalent).
  • English is my first language, or I have an overall IELTS grade of 7.5 with a minimum score of 7.0 in each component.
  • My PhD supporting statement and research proposal is ready to upload.
  • I can provide a sample of my academic writing (6,000-8,000 words) which showcases my ability. This might be an essay, an extract from a larger piece of work such as a dissertation, or a combination of two shorter pieces. 
  • My proof of previous degrees, academic references, English language certificates (if required), and CV are ready to upload.

How is my application assessed?

The PhD Programme Director will lead the review of your application, and this will normally involve an interview. We assess applications against the following criteria.

Contextual criteria
  • Expands / diversifies existing School of English research expertise  
  • Increases admission from groups currently under-represented in the School of English
  • The School has capacity to provide expert PhD supervision in the area
  • Masters-level (Merit and above) qualification or equivalent
  • Ability to complete a dissertation or similar time-limited project, and to manage the demands of such work
  • Experience of research processes (for practice-based doctoral projects, this might include e.g. research through creative writing) and reflective writing
Knowledge and Understanding
  • General disciplinary/field knowledge and clear understanding of the specialist field
  • Potential for original contribution to knowledge in subject area
  • Evidence of interest in cognate disciplines and other fields of knowledge, where appropriate
Skills & competencies
  • Effective language skills suitable for undertaking a PhD
  • Advanced critical skills
  • Research skills relevant to project

Our aim is to deal with your application promptly, although the process can take up to three weeks. You can contact us at any time if you want to know the progress of your application by emailing

Apply now

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