How to apply

Information on your application, our PhD timeline and entry requirements.

Doctoral research: tips on how to apply

Application process

Normally, you would apply for a study place offer before you apply for scholarship funding (if this is desired).

Unless you are applying for an advertised project (where the title and description is already given), you will need to:

  1. identify a potential supervisor and
  2. prepare a research proposal that outlines the topic and programme of research you intend to undertake.
  3. ensure you meet relevant entry requirements.

Where you have identified a staff member who you would like to work with as a supervisor, you can approach them directly by email to discuss your research ideas prior to making a formal application.

We always interview applicants (normally online) prior to making an offer. Interviews last around 30 minutes, and are typically held with the Director of PhD research and a member of your intended supervisory team.

These interviews aim to explore your proposed research topic, its quality, coherence and fit within our school research interests.

Required documentation

In order to assess your application, we will require the following documentation:

  • Your research proposal
  • Two letters of reference (preferably from academics who can judge your ability to research and write, eg a dissertation supervisor)
  • Transcripts of previous qualifications; your CV; an indication of how you intend to fund your studies
  • For international students, evidence that you meet the English language requirements for Doctoral study


Apply using our online application form, where you can upload your research proposal and supporting documentation.

Remember to specify your project title, proposed supervisor and any sources of funding you intend to seek (eg specific scholarship schemes, or self-funding).

Apply now​​​

Key dates

We accept applications at any time of year, although most University of Sheffield-based studentships have application deadlines in January (which means that you need to be discussing your project ideas with potential supervisors before Christmas).

If successful in your application, you will usually be expected to start your studies at the beginning of the Autumn Semester (from mid-September), although it is possible to arrange a cross-sessional start.

International applicants should take account of the time needed to obtain the necessary documentation, permissions and visas, which can take several months.

Fees and funding

A study place offer does not constitute an offer of funding.

The University of Sheffield tuition fees information lays out current fees for Home and overseas postgraduate research students.

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