A traditional PhD, also referred to as a doctorate, is a postgraduate research degree which involves writing a thesis based on a substantial, original piece of research. The length of a PhD is usually 3 or 4 years.

How to apply for a PhD?

In order to apply for a PhD, you will need to apply directly to the university via the university’s online application system. You are required to research your course options, prepare your thesis topic and contact potential supervisors before you apply. You can apply to as many different universities and courses as you like as long as you find suitable supervisors at each university.

Most PhD courses have several start dates in the year. However, places are limited and you are advised to apply as early as possible. Studentships and scholarships often have application deadlines of 3 – 6 months before the course start date.

What are the requirements to study a PhD?

Students are required to have successfully completed an undergraduate degree from a recognised university. Some PhD programmes also require students to have successfully completed a masters degree. Each university and course has different entry requirements so you will need to check the specific entry requirements for the course you are interested in.

International students will be required to meet the English language requirements set by the university which usually range between IELTS 6.0 and 7.0.

Applying for a PhD in Life Science

In the field of life sciences, PhD places are often offered as part of an existing project which the university is already working on. This is sometimes called a ‘studentship’ and means you will be working on a pre-determined project.

These studentships are specifically advertised on the universities’ websites and students are not required to submit their own research proposal.

It is common for these projects to be funded by UK research councils or European bodies which may exclude international students from applying. Check the eligibility criteria carefully before you apply.

More information

For more information on how to apply to study a PhD programme in London, read the full PhD Degree Application Guide.