How to apply

Image of PhD student, Teresa, in a green

Entry requirements

Academic qualification

We select research students based primarily on their academic ability. This is usually decided on the basis of academic performance to date. This normally means that you will need at least an Upper Second Class Honours degree (or its equivalent) and will normally also need to have (or be doing) an MA, preferably one with a substantial research methods component.

English language

Students whose first language is not English must have passed the IELTS (minimum score of 6.5, with a minimum of 6.0 in each of the written components).

New PGR Bridge Programme for International Applicants

Application process

  1. How to apply

    Applications can be made at any point in the year – and we strongly recommend that you apply to commence your studies at the start of a new academic year (in October). Before you apply for postgraduate research, please contact the Department to discuss your proposed research. This will allow the Department to check that there is an appropriate supervisor in the area you wish to study. You can email potential supervisors directly with your ideas, or contact our Postgraduate Research Support Officer, Emily Rahtz, via email at Our Postgraduate Research Support Officer can also provide you with information about the Department, the University and the city of Sheffield.

    For tips on how to approach a potential supervisor, check out this piece on the British International Studies Association (BISA) website by Professor Simon Rushton.

    Read more

  2. You should leave yourself plenty of time after applying in which to make arrangements to come to Sheffield if we make you an offer, particularly if you are an International applicant and will need to arrange a student visa.

    Information on funding opportunities can be found here.  If you plan to apply for scholarships, you will first need to obtain an offer of a place on the PhD programme, to enable you to submit your application for funding.  As such, we strongly recommend starting the application to the programme early in the Autumn semester, in order that funding applications can be made by the Christmas break.

  3. Application form

    Applications should be made through the University's online application form. You will be asked to provide copies of various supporting documents, such as two academic references, a CV and, in the case of international students, evidence of your English language ability.

    All students need to send transcripts of their previous qualifications. In the case of International students, please include details of the grading/marking scheme used in the assessment of your qualifications.

    The University of Sheffield Online Application

  4. Writing a research proposal

    Your PhD will be the most challenging type of academic work you have ever done. However, before you can begin you'll need to submit your research proposal. This constitutes the main way in which we evaluate the potential quality of your PhD plans. Discover what is required for writing a research proposal.

  5. Interview

    If we consider the application to have potential, we will ask you to attend a short online interview with the potential supervisors and the Director of Postgraduate Research. This will usually consist of the applicant briefly presenting their research ideas, followed by two or three questions about the proposal from departmental staff.

Advice following the EU referendum

The University is providing information for prospective students following the UK's vote to leave the European Union. Please consult this webpage or email if you have any questions.

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