After you apply - PhD study

After we receive your application, we will create an applicant record for you. When this is ready we will send you an email containing your applicant and choice numbers. You should normally receive this email within two working days. We will then send your application for academic consideration.

You can check the progress of your application at any time simply by logging back into your online application.

Email contact

If we need to contact you we will do so by email, so please make sure that you check the email account you used for your application, and that this account is set to trust messages coming from and addresses. You may wish to add to your address book to avoid important messages being marked as spam.

If you change your email address, please let us know by emailing us at, including your full name and applicant number.

Waiting for a decision

It normally takes academic departments around six weeks to make decisions on research applications. Sometimes decisions can be delayed if the academic department requires further information from you. If this is the case, they will contact you to request it. You can then either send the information to them directly, or upload it to your online application.

If you have not received a decision on your application after eight weeks, we recommend that you contact the academic department directly. You can find their contact details via our find a PhD webpage.

When we have made our decision

When we have made our decision, it will appear in your online application, and we will also send you an email to confirm this.

If we have offered you a study place, we will provide you with an official electronic offer letter detailing any conditions and the amount payable for the tuition fees. The offer letter will be attached to our email and also available for you to download from your online application.

If we have not offered you a study place and you would like feedback on this decision, you should contact the academic department directly in writing. You can find their contact details via our find a PhD webpage.

Offer types

If we make you an offer, it will be either Conditional or Unconditional.

A Conditional offer means that there are requirements that you need to meet before you can start the course, for example a certain English language score, or a minimum grade in your current studies.

An Unconditional offer means that there are no further academic requirements that you need to meet.

Please be aware that you will need to show us the original paper copies of your qualifications documents when you come to register at the University.

Conditional offers

If we have made you a Conditional offer, the conditions will be stated in your offer letter. When you have met these conditions, you should upload to your online application documents that prove this. When you have met all the conditions of your offer, we will provide you with a new, Unconditional offer letter.

Except where indicated in the offer letter, there are no specific deadlines for meeting the conditions of your offer. Ensure you leave enough time after meeting the conditions to make arrangements to start your course, for example if you need to arrange accommodation or a visa.

If you have any problems attaching documents to your online application, please contact us.

Unconditional offers

An Unconditional offer has no conditions. You just need to let us know whether or not you wish to accept or decline our offer of a study place.

Replying to your offer

In most cases, you can accept or decline the offer of a study place via your online application. If you are not able to do this, please let us know your decision by emailing us at

Except where indicated in the offer letter, there are no specific deadlines for accepting an offer. However, we encourage applicants to make a decision within three months of receiving an offer. Also, the sooner you accept an offer, the sooner you will be able to make other arrangements (for example your accommodation or visa).

You can accept only one Unconditional offer of a place. If you have been made Unconditional offers for more than one course, you will need to choose which course to accept. You should then decline the other offers.

If you accept an Unconditional offer, bring a printout of your Unconditional offer letter with you when you come to Sheffield. You will need to show this to us when you register.

Withdrawing your application

If you wish to withdraw from the application process you should email the Admissions Service at We will then update your application record.


If we have offered you a study place, and for unforeseen circumstances you cannot attend at the start of your course, you can ask to defer your entry.

You can request a deferral through your original online application, by clicking on the "Request Deferral" link in the "Your Applications" section. Your request will be forwarded to the academic selectors for a decision. Please note that a change of start date is at the discretion of the University. It is not automatically given and you may be asked to make a new application.

If the academic selectors approve your request, we will send you an amended offer letter with a deferred start date.

You can defer your application a maximum of two times. If want to defer for a third time, we will ask you to re-apply.

Further information sent by the University

Your MUSE account

University of Sheffield offer-holders are entitled to access the members area of our website, MUSE (My University of Sheffield Environment). Using MUSE is the easiest way to book to attend departmental open days, apply for University accommodation and scholarships and, when the time comes, complete pre-registration tasks.

After we have issued your offer, we will email you with a username and invite you to activate your account. More information is available on our webpages:

MUSE for offer-holders


When you have accepted your Conditional or Unconditional offer, you can apply online for University accommodation. You can find more information, and view the full range of accommodation available for postgraduates, on our webpages:



If you will need a visa to study in the UK, you can find more information about when and how we will arrange your CAS number on our CAS application webpages:

CAS application

This page also includes links to further information about the visa application process.

Induction and Registration

If you have accepted your Unconditional offer we will email you with pre-registration information about four weeks before the start date of your course. You can also access pre-registration tasks via your MUSE account.

If you have not received your pre-registration email by three weeks before your course starts, please contact us at

Ask us a question

Browse our frequently asked questions to get the answers you need - or ask us your own question

Questions and answers

Applicant Information Desk

Get help with questions you have about the process of applying and the status of your application.

Applicant Information Desk (AiD)