How to apply for research courses
Once you've found the right research opportunity, you're ready to apply.
These steps will take you through the application process.
Before you apply
1. Investigate research opportunities
There are a number of ways to begin the process of applying for a research opportunity, depending on which path you decide to take.
Explore routes into research
2. Check academic requirements
Academic requirements vary by programme – check our programme pages for details. Evidence of relevant personal, professional and educational experience may be taken into consideration – contact the academic school directly for further information.
International and EU students can find guidance on alternative qualifications on our country-specific webpages.
English not your first language?
If English isn't your first language, you will also need to meet the relevant English language requirements. IELTS requirements are detailed on our course pages, though we also accept a variety of alternative qualifications.
If you require additional support to develop your language skills, you may be able to attend a presessional course at the Centre for English Language Education.
3. Check key dates and deadlines
Most research programmes start on 1 October 2021. However, there are also start dates at the beginning of December, February, April and July. Check our programme pages or contact the academic school for details.
Specific opportunities, including studentships and doctoral training programmes, usually have their own deadlines, so make sure you check if there is a closing date for the project(s) you are applying for.
International students should apply as early as possible. The deadline for courses starting on 1 October 2021 is Friday 20 August 2021. This is to ensure you have enough time to apply for your student visa.
An offer of study is required for many funding opportunities. You should check deadlines for applications carefully, as these are often early in the year.
4. Write a research proposal
Your application will usually include a 1,000 to 3,000-word research proposal. This will be judged on both content and format. However, this depends on the opportunity you are applying for – for example, if you are applying for a specific project such as a studentship, you may not need a proposal. Check the relevant course page for details.
For advice on how to write a research proposal, see our how to guide. You can also contact the relevant academic school directly as they may be able to provide extra information.
5. Submit your application
You can apply directly through our online system. You will receive an automatic confirmation when you submit your application and can track its progress.
Make sure that you upload scanned copies of your degree certificate and transcripts, as well as any other supporting documents, as we will not be able to assess your application without them. Please do not send us the original copies in the post.
You will also need to provide two references, including at least one who can comment on your academic ability.
There is an application fee of £50 for Master of Research (MRes) courses beginning in August 2022 or later. For MRes courses starting before 1 August 2022 the application fee will be £40. There is no application fee for other research courses.
After you apply
6. Track your application
You can log in at any time to track the progress of your application.
When we have made a decision on your application, we will send you an email and let you know what you need to do next.
Details on accepting your offer, accommodation and other helpful hints and tips can be found in our guidance for applicants.
Track your application
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