School of Sociology and Social Policy

Postgraduate admissions help

We have compiled this list of frequently asked questions to help applicants. Applicants may also find You might find it useful to visit the International Office and Admissions Office web pages and the University's frequently asked questions page. Click on a question to view more information.

How do I apply?
You can  apply online.
Alternatively you can call  +44 (0)115 951 4224 to request a paper form. Completed forms should be sent to: 
The Admissions Office
The University of Nottingham
University Park
NG7 2RD. 
How much is the application fee? 
Applications cost £25.00 when applying on-line or £30.00 if applying in paper form.
How much is my course and who can I contact for my query on fees? 
Tuition fees vary depending on your chosen programme. The postgraduate prospectus has a range of helpful information about fees and funding.
Who should I contact if I have a query about my offer? 
You can email the  Postgraduate Admissions team. Please remember to include your application ID in your email.
Where can I find out about scholarships? 
International students should refer to the  International Office webpages for information about scholarships for both MA and PhD study. Home/EU applicants should see both the School's scholarship web pages and also information on the postgraduate prospectus. The University of Nottingham has been awarded prestigious  Doctoral Training Centre status by the ESRC, and has a total of 19 fully funded Studentships to award annually through this Centre. The DTC is run by the University’s  Graduate School. The studentships are for +3 or 1+3 study within the following ESRC-recognised pathways: Sociology; Social Policy (including Public Policy and Social Work); Science and Technology Studies. Applicants for DTC studentships must already hold an offer of a place from the School, and so early contact is advised.
What happens once I have applied for a PhD place?
Your application will be reviewed by the Admissions Officer to see if you have met our academic standards and English language requirements (if applicable). We will then try to match your research interests with those of the staff here. We will only offer you a place if we have two appropriate supervisors who have the expertise and capacity for new research students. Before an offer is made, he process also includes a telephone interview with a potential supervisor. 
How long will it take to process my PhD application?
Once we have received your application and research proposal we should make a decision within 14-21 days. This may take a little longer if relevant staff are away from the University, especially in December and August.
Do I have to wait for all my documents to be submitted before I can be offered a place?
You don’t need to wait for all your documents to be received but we are not able to make a decision for PhD applications without a research proposal. Any offer would be conditional on receiving satisfactory references and original supporting documents.
What conditions might my offer include?
The offer might be conditional on:
  • receiving two satisfactory references
  • successful completion of your undergraduate or postgraduate degree
  • fulfilment of the English Language requirements
  • Evidence of previous degrees
All documents must be originals in the form of official documents with university/awarding body stamps or seals.
What are the entry and English Language requirements?
All graduate students are expected to be fluent in written and spoken English. Candidates whose first language is not English will be required to demonstrate that their English meets the minimum level of proficiency required by the School. Details can be found on the relevant pages of the postgraduate prospectus. Students who do not meet the required level of proficiency may need to take a pre-sessional Study Preparation Course offered by the University’s  Centre for English Language Education covering language, study skills, social English and orientation to living in Britain.
I need to apply for a visa, how do I get my CAS certificate?
Before a CAS certificate can be issued you would need to pay a deposit of £1,000, which must be paid before the start of your course. You also need to have an unconditional, firmly accepted offer. For further details on CAS Certificates and visa’s please see the  International Office webpages.
Who do I contact for information on accommodation? 
Please contact the  accommodation office
Is my area of research interest covered by the School of Sociology and Social Policy?
The best way of answering this is to look at  our research page. You will find a number of research groupings shown there. You can also read the  specialist interests of the members of staff and reading their  profile pages
Do I need to find a supervisor before I apply?
No. When you submit your application you need to make sure you include a research proposal of no more than 4 pages. This will be used to consider whether we are able to offer supervision and supervisors have capacity for new students.
I want to apply for a PhD place, should I include a research proposal with my application?
Yes. Before we can consider your application we need to have an indication of your proposed research topic. This should be about two to four pages long and needs to cover the following:
Your research topic
  • A clear and manageable set of research questions
  • A brief indication of relevant literature in your research area
  • Some of the key concepts and frameworks you will be using
  • An indication of the research methodology, in particular techniques of data collection and analysis
  • How you will get access to your research sites, if required
  • The contribution to knowledge that your research is intended to make
We will not able to begin to process your application or make any offer of a place until we have received a detailed research proposal, so you should include one with your application. If for any reason you aren’t able to add this to the online application form please send as an email attachment to our Postgraduate Administrator, Mrs Alison Haigh. If we do not receive a proposal either with your initial application, or within a month of our requesting one, we will assume you are no longer interested in a place here.
Is there a deadline for applications?
Due to the timescales in obtaining a visa, there is a deadline for international students of mid August. Seethe applicants portal for the current deadline.  Check the following web page for the exact date as this will vary slightly each year. 
How long does it take to do a PhD?
Full time registration is usually 3 years (full time) and 6 years (part time). Students should work towards submitting their thesis by the end of their final year of study. 
When can I start my studies?
PhD students can usually take up their places from the first day of any calendar month, but most choose to start at the beginning of a semester (September and January) each year. Most of our MA programmes have start dates in both September and January. See the  postgraduate prospectus for details.
Can I defer my place?
It is normally possible to defer entry for one academic year.
What does studying for a PhD entail?
Studying for a PhD involves:
  • Individual private study relating to your chosen area of research, supported by at least 10 monthly supervisions, each year (full time) from two academic colleagues who have expertise in your area of study, plus provide written work for discussion at supervisions.
  • Weekly seminars led by the Postgraduate Convenor providing training relevant to PhD study.
  • Access to individual study facilities and computer space.
  • The opportunity to register for a wide range of research training modules if there is need for further training.
  • Research students within the School are encouraged to take an active part in the on-line journal and conferences for ENQUIRE. Progress is reviewed annually to confirm suitability for PhD study.



School of Sociology and Social Policy

Law and Social Sciences Building
University Park
Nottingham NG7 2RD

telephone: +44 (0) 115 846 8939
fax: +44 (0) 115 951 5232
email: socspa@nottingham.ac.uk