Applying for PhD study
This page explains how to apply for a standard PhD in the Department of Journalism Studies, using your own research project. Once you have received your offer you can use it to apply for competitive funding (where you compete with other offer holders to gain a scholarship).
There is often a different process for pre-funded projects, where you apply to a project which already has funding attached. To find out more see our scholarships page.
|1. Check that you meet the entrance requirements||
A strong masters degree (or be working towards a masters degree at the time of application), with an overall grade of merit, from a UK institution (or equivalent from an overseas university). Also, a minimum of 60% in your masters research project/dissertation.
A degree completed within the last five years from a country classed as 'majority English speaking' by UK Visas and Immigration.
An appropriate English language qualification completed within the last two years that meets our minimum entry requirements. In most cases, students take the IELTS test – our IELTS requirements are in the table below.
Details of other English qualifications recognised by the University can be found on the English language requirements webpage.
|2. Choose a research topic and find a supervisor||
Your research topic should be something that is of interest to you, and it should be original, offering an addition to established knowledge. It should be ambitious, but also achievable within a three-year schedule. This can be a difficult balance!
Good advice can be found here:
Occasionally, funded studentships will be available on pre-determined research topics. Find out about these.
A key aspect of doing a PhD is developing a productive relationship with a supervisor. Ideally, building rapport should start from a very early stage, and it is a good idea to contact a potential supervisor before formally applying.
Your supervisor should be someone whose research interests match your own. To find a potential supervisor, you should read through the list of supervisors in the department and identify those whose research overlaps with your own, whether thematically or methodologically.
Approaching a prospective supervisor
Introduce yourself by email, providing information about yourself and your research topic. Be specific – if possible, send them your research proposal and your CV.
Do not send emails indiscriminately to many members of staff. If the first person you approach is not available to supervise your project, they will forward your email to other members of staff.
There is no guarantee that the supervisor you want will be available or willing to supervise your project. If your proposed supervisor is interested, this does not guarantee an offer will be made, as your application is still subject to admissions checks.
If you are struggling to think of a research topic, see the list of the areas where we're equipped to supervise:
• Alternative media and 'citizen journalism'
|3. Write a research proposal||
Your research proposal is perhaps the most important part of your application. It is a piece of written work, around 2,000 words long, which needs to address the following points:
1. Title (max 30 words)
2. Abstract of the intended project (max 150 words)
3. Rationale for the research (max 150 words)
4. Literature review (max 750 words)
5. Research questions (formulated as questions, max 70 words)
6. Methodology (max 500 words)
7. Research plan over three years (max 100 words)
8. Potential non-academic impact (max 150 words)
9. Research experience (max 200 words)
10. Supervisor suggestion and match (max 100 words)
Your research proposal will be used to determine your suitability for PhD research, and to decide whether you are a good fit with potential supervisors in the department.
Please note that your research proposal will be checked using plagiarism-detection software. Please follow academic conventions for quotations and cite your sources thoroughly.
You must complete and submit the following form detailing your research proposal. We will be unable to consider your application until you do:
|4. Apply online||
To apply for a PhD at the Department of Journalism Studies you must complete an online application form.
You will need to include:
Applications submitted without these documents cannot be processed.
When should you apply?
We welcome applications at any time, but recommend that you apply at least three months before your planned start date.
When can you start?
The academic year for PhD study begins on 1 October.
If you are unable to start on 1 October, you can start on our alternative admissions date of 1 April.
Please note that 1 October and 1 April are the only start dates permitted.
|5. What happens next?||
You will receive an email confirming receipt of your application, and will be kept informed of any developments throughout the application process.
We aim to deal with all applications promptly. A decision is usually made on applications within two months. We advise applicants to submit their PhD application at least three months before their proposed start date.
Once you have received an offer you can use it to apply for PhD funding. The University of Sheffield scholarship competition closes in January each year, but there are a wide range of other funding opportunities available. See the links below for details.
Please note: there may be costs additional to your tuition incurred during your PhD study, depending on your project and field of work. Examples of additional costs may include travel and accommodation for fieldwork, or conference fees. Please speak to your potential supervisor if you have any questions about this.
Our programmes of study are reviewed annually to make sure they're current and relevant. Changes may be made in response to discoveries made through our world-leading research, funding changes, professional accreditation requirements, student or employer feedback, curriculum review, staff availability and variations in student numbers.
While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information on these webpages, for the reasons detailed above, changes may need to be made to programmes of study and fees after you have applied for a place. Where these are substantial in nature, we'll inform you as soon as we can.