Ways to apply for a PhD

Two research studentsThere are three ways to apply for doctoral research.

1. Develop your own idea and find a supervisor

Find out who's doing the kind of research you're interested in and familiarise yourself with their work.

Find a research supervisor or search department web pages

2. Apply to work with a supervisor on one of their projects

Departments advertise PhD projects throughout the year. Many projects are funded.

You might find that a research project comes with a supervisor attached. Even so, it's worth finding out as much as you can about your supervisor before you apply.

Find a project

3. Apply to a Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT)

CDTs are a radical alternative to the usual PhD. They're designed to produce skilled individuals who can tackle the major challenges of our time. The programmes take three or four years to complete and combine taught modules with original research. They lead to a full PhD or Engineering Doctorate (EngD).

You can apply direct to a CDT or in some cases to the University, which includes writing a proposal.

Search for current opportunities on our Centre for Doctoral Training website.

Department websites also advertise the latest CDT opportunities.

PhDs with Integrated Studies

Some of our departments offer PhDs with Integrated Studies. You spend an initial year taking taught modules and a short research project, so you learn the research skills you'll need before progressing to a PhD.

This type of course is sometimes also called a PhD 1+3.

Check department web pages for the latest course details.

Scholarships and funding

Ideally, you should start planning and investigating funding opportunities at least a year before you want to start your studies.

There are lots of different types of scholarships available, from partial fee scholarships to full awards covering fees and maintenance.