How to apply

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

Doctoral research: tips on how to apply

General guidance

The normal process for applicants is to first apply for a study place offer (see below) and then to apply for scholarship funding (if this is desired). See our Funding Opportunities page for details of current scholarship opportunities and deadlines.

Unless you are applying for an advertised project (where the title and description is already given), you will need to identify a potential supervisor and prepare a research proposal that outlines the topic and programme of research you intend to undertake.

See our Find a supervisor page to identify a staff member who can provide you with appropriate advice, and see our Writing your research proposal page for other requirements.

Applying for a study place

Apply using our online application form where you will be able to upload your research proposal and other supporting documentation. Remember to specify your project title, proposed supervisor and any sources of funding you intend to seek (e.g., specific scholarship schemes, or self-funding).

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Please note that an offer of a study place does not constitute an offer of funding.  

See also the How to Apply guidance provided by the Faculty Graduate School.

Applying for scholarship funding

Applications for scholarship funding are also made using our online application form by ticking the scholarships for which you would like to be considered. This provides access to a separate section of the online system where you will need to enter some further supporting information, including a concise summary of your proposed topic and programme of research that can be considered by the relevant scholarship panel.

Note that we recommend that you apply for a study place first (see the step above) before you complete the scholarship application section. You can re-enter your online application to complete this section at any time before or after being offered a study place, but please ensure this section is completed before the relevant deadline (see our Funding Opportunities page for details of available scholarships and the departmental deadline).

We further recommend that, before applying for specific scholarships, you seek advice from your proposed supervisor, who will be able to clarify the scope of each scholarship opportunity and provide guidance on preparing your application materials.

Timeline and entry requirements

Our doctoral programmes usually follow the academic year and so students should expect to commence their studies at the end of September or early October. However, we appreciate that funding priorities and international academic calendars can differ and we will endeavour to accommodate different start dates.

Candidates will need at least a 2:1 undergraduate degree in geography or a cognate discipline, and offers to final year undergraduates are conditional on this requirement. A strong masters degree would be an asset to an application, but this is not a necessary criterion. International students seeking clarity on entry requirements should consult the Prospective International Students pages.

For candidates for whom English is not their first language or who do not possess a degree taught in the English language there are minimum English language requirements. If these have yet to be met, they will be made conditions of any offer made.

Fees and funding

The University of Sheffield Tuition Fees page provides information regarding fees for home and overseas postgraduate research students.

Writing support for international applicants

The Faculty of Social Sciences has partnered with the English Language Teaching Centre (ELTC) to introduce a new Bridge Programme for International Applicants. Find out how this online course can support you at the start of your PhD journey.

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