A PhD is the highest level of academic qualification in the UK and it involves three to four years of original research on a specific topic.
If you're considering taking a PhD, our advice will help you investigate whether or not it is the right option for you.
Thinking about a PhD?
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There are different types of PhD, some related to particular professions, such as engineering and medicine, and some that include a first year of study at masters level.
Research degrees differ from taught degrees. You'll be expected to:
Think seriously about your reasons for taking a PhD as research degrees are rewarding, but tough.
Download a copy of Should I do a PhD?
Martyn Quigley talks about why he decided to study for a PhD and how it has helped his career
Read Maria's PhD journey - the highs and the lows
There is no central admissions system for research degrees, as university departments advertise vacancies and receive applications. You may be approached directly by a supervisor who has a research grant and a vacancy - but this does not automatically mean the place is yours!
Generally, you will need to complete an application form and include a personal statement or an outline of your research proposal. If short-listed you may have to attend an interview and places are subject to securing funding.
Application processes will differ between academic disciplines. For example, for STEM subjects you may not be required to submit a research proposal.
Cover your interest in the research area and your commitment to a PhD. Some typical questions:
The main sources of funding in the UK are: government, research councils and charities.
These methods of funding are highly competitive, subject to eligibility requirements and sometimes reserved for international students.
If you're concerned about how you would fund a PhD, you may want to consider taking a part-time PhD. These usually take about six years and if you've already started your career, may be part of your professional development.
Find out about funding opportunities at Nottingham
Explore charitable sources through the Alternative Guide to Postgraduate Study - free access to UoN students
AGCAS PhD vlogsLearn more about life as a PhD student
Careers and Employability ServiceVisit our site for PhD students
Jobs.ac.uk - find PhD opportunities
Find a PhDSearchable database of PhD opportunities
National Postgraduate CommitteeRepresents the interests of UK postgraduates
ProspectsInformation on postgraduate study, research and funding options
Research Councils UKInformation on funding, availability and eligibility
Using English for Academic Purposes (UEfAP)Advice on writing a research proposal for a PhD application
Universities WorldwideDatabase of universities around the world
The University of Nottingham Graduate SchoolTraining and development opportunities, workshops and events. Can also help with funding
VitaeMain website for research
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