How to apply for PhD in UK?
Updated on Aug 31, 2015 - 3:53 p.m. IST by Bedasree Das #United Kingdom
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PhD in UK
- The United Kingdom is one of the most prominent destinations for PhD across the world. The country known for its quality research programmes, boasts of opportunities for PhD  aspirants in a wide range of subjects made possible by huge investments in research programmes. The UK invests upto £4.6 billion annually in science and research studies? Not just that, UK has a number of government institutions which fund and support PhD students across the country.

Applying for PhD at a university in UK could be a confusing process for an international aspirant, especially, with questions about the application process and the requirements of the university.

Here we have explained the entire process of applying for PhD in UK right from the time you need to research to finally submitting your application form.

Read the steps below to know how to apply for PhD in UK:

Why PhD: Before planning to pursue PhD from UK you should first consider whether having a PhD degree falls within your own career goals. A PhD requires deep research into a subject and hence takes upto 4 to 5 years of research study. You should also consider the opportunities you will be able to explore in your home country if you want to further study the subject.

Choose your Major subject: If you are clear about pursuing a PhD, the next step is to decide upon the subject you want to pursue PhD in. Majority of the aspirants opt for the course in which they already have a bachelor’s though there is no such hard or fast rule that requires you to go for the same subject. Students who want to pursue PhD in a subject other than the one they had pursued earlier have to present a stronger case of interest in the subject or show some experience of having worked in the field earlier.

 

Research for universities: A major part of your work before starting your research work is researching. Once you have clarity on your subject of choice, search for the universities that offer PhD opportunities in that subject. Here are the top research universities in UK according to QS ranking:

University

Ranking

University of Cambridge

2

Imperial College London

5

University of Oxford

5

UCL (University College London)

16

King’s College London (KCL)

17

University of Edinburgh

29

University of Bristol

30

University of Manchester

55

University of Glasgow

2

University of Warwick

2

Research for available openings:  Once you have listed the universities you want to apply for PhD, start searching for the openings within the departments. The best way to do this is by checking the university departments.

Here are the approximate deadlines for some of the universities in UK:

University

Deadline

University of Cambridge

September – October

Imperial College London

NA(till seats are filled)

University of Oxford

December- January

UCL (University College London)

Whenever seats are available

King’s College London (KCL)

August or till seats are filled

University of Edinburgh

NA

University of Bristol

End of July

University of Manchester

NA

University of Glasgow

June

University of Warwick

NA

Eligibility criteria: Majority of the universities offering PhD in UK have a high standard in terms of academic qualification. As such, most of them require a first or upper second class honours in the undergraduate level.

While a Master’s degree is a must for most universities, some universities do allow students straight out of the undergraduate level. However, students have to exhibit excellent academic qualification and knowledge of the field of research before applying for the course.

 

Besides, students from non-native English speaking countries also need to fulfill English language requirements. They are:

IELTS: IELTS is also an English proficiency test for students from non- native English speaking countries. IELTS test measures a candidate’s English language command on 4 different parameters- Listening, reading, writing and speaking.

TOEFL: TOEFL is an English proficiency for students from non-native English speaking countries. TOEFL is conducted more than 50 times a year at 4500 test centres in 165 countries worldwide.

 

Prepare your research proposal:

If you are applying for PhD programme, you might have to write a research proposal stating your intention to join the programme and reasons for wanting to explore research opportunities in that field.

Research proposals must include the following things:

  • Your subject of interest and reasons for applying for the same.

  • How and what are you planning to contribute through your research?

  • What kind of resources will you need to achieve your objectives? How you will collect them?

  • What are the outcomes or impact your research could have?

Apply for funding

Since a PhD requires in-depth research on a particular subject, cost is one of the factors that you have to take care of.

A PhD can cost you around £3,000 and £6,000 annually, depending on the kind of research you are taking. While PhD programmes are funded, most of the time you will find that they are not fully funded which creates a problem in continuing with the research after some time.

 

There are many PhD funding opportunities that you could consider like research councils, bursaries, fellowships. Besides, you could also approach private sponsors to fund your research.

Application requirements:

  1. Academic transcripts of relevant qualifications

  2. Academic references: They are similar to Letters of Recommendation written by academic professionals who have studied or researched with the applicant earlier. It is an independent assessment of your potential. Most universities require two or more references.

  3. Statement of Purpose (SOP): The Statement of Purpose or intent is one of the important elements of the application package for admission into PhD in UK. It reflects your intention for joining the PhD programme and your goals in life.

  4. Research proposal: A research proposal is a mandatory element for admission to PhD in UK. It highlights the factors behind the research and what it aims to deliver. A research proposal should be 3-4 pages long in most cases.

  5. Many universities also require you to submit a writing sample as an example of your thesis.

Besides, the following elements are vital in the application package:                                                                                                                             

  • Work experience certificates, if applicable

  • Photo copies of your passport

  • Certificates for extra-curricular activities mentioned in the application form.

Interview:

PhD aspirants might also have to go through an interview round before starting their research programme at the university. Once the admission panel checks your application and approves it, it will invite you for final round of interview to understand your PhD goals in person.

In the interview, the PhD aspirants are asked questions specific to the subject.

Admission Process

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is it hard to get into top universities with marks around 80s in ug and will I be eligilble for scholarships?

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Hello,

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What university would be best to do psychology in United Kingdom and also with scholarship and would accept 6 months fees

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Hello Varun Marwah,

Here are the best universities to study the psychology where your study related to your practical work

Here it is

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Priyaanka Sarkar Student Expert 25th Sep, 2019
Dear Vinay, obtaining a permanent residency in UK is quite a lengthy process usually. Now UK has extended the stay for Indian Students post their studies by 2 years. Which means, even if you complete your studies, you can extend your stay by 2 more years.  It depends on the route you are applying through. The following visas require this time to apply for Indefinite leave to remain:

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Unlawful stay: 14 years

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