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School of Biological and Behavioural Sciences

Application process

The application process for our PhD programmes is outlined here. Applicants who are already prepared to submit a formal application can click here for the online application forms.

1. Identify a potential supervisor

Before applying, you will need to identify a potential supervisor for your PhD. We have a limited number of funded projects available which are advertised on our postgraduate research studentships page. We also have a list of PhD projects available for applicants with, or who intend to apply for, alternative funding. Applications from candidates intending to self-fund their PhD are also accepted – please visit our self-funding students page for relevant information.

Once you have found a PhD project you would like to apply for you should express your interest, usually via email, with the supervisor before you make a formal application. The contact details for supervisors, and any information/documents they require from you, are listed on the project page. If you are applying for one of our postgraduate research studentships, please ensure that you complete the formal application before the advertised deadline.

Other projects may also be possible and should be discussed with a prospective supervisor. The research themes of the School can be found on our research pages and research interests of individual members of staff can be browsed on their personal pages. Applicants should contact suitable members of staff by email to enquire about possible research opportunities and with the following documents:

  • Curriculum Vitae (CV)
  • Information on research interests
  • An outline of how you intend to fund your studies

2. Formal application

Once you have contacted a potential supervisor, and they have agreed to consider your application further, you will be required to make a formal application. Formal applications should be submitted through the Queen Mary online application portal – links are provided at the end of this webpage.

If you are applying for one of the Doctoral Training Partnerships, please visit the relevant website for information on their application procedure.

Queen Mary online application form

Your application should include the following:

a) A completed application form - Please ensure you complete information regarding your supervisor's name and how your PhD will be funded.

b) Transcripts

c) Proof of English language ability for applicants from non-English speaking countries

d) Curriculum Vitae (CV)

e) Statement of purpose (one-side A4 maximum) - This should set out:

  • Your previous academic, or other, experience relevant to the proposed research
  • Why you wish to undertake this research at Queen Mary
  • Your previous research or professional training and what further training you think you will need to complete a PhD
  • The ethical issues you will need to consider in undertaking this research.

f) Research proposal (where required) - see the central webpages for further information on preparing a research proposal.

g) References - You will need to supply contact details of two academic referees. At least one reference must be from an academic referee who is in a position to comment on the standard of your academic work and suitability for postgraduate level study. Where appropriate, a second referee can provide comment on your professional experience.

We will contact your referee(s) by email to supply a reference. However, a scanned colour copy of a reference provided on paper can also be provided either at the point of application or in response to the reference request email your referee will receive.

If your referee emails your reference to us we can only accept it if it is sent from a university or company email address (i.e. not Hotmail, Yahoo etc.). Paper reference forms should be endorsed by an appropriate official stamp or on institution/company letterhead. Alternatively, if your referee has agreed to provide an open reference letter, you can scan this and upload it in the upload document section of the online form.

3. What happens next

All applications are reviewed initially by the Admissions Office. The Admissions Office will forward your application to the School. Your application will be reviewed by academic staff, including your potential supervisor, and if the School is interested in taking your application further, they will contact you directly to arrange an interview with two members of academic staff (one of whom will be your potential supervisor). The interview may be in person or virtually, for example using Skype. You should be prepared to answer questions about your application, experience, motivation and background knowledge relevant to your proposed project.

We aim to inform you of a decision on your application within six to eight weeks of receipt if you have provided all the required documentation. If you require a decision by a given deadline in order to apply for funding please make this very clear on your application, and also to your potential supervisor.

If you are unsure about the application process for your chosen PhD project, contact us for further advice:


Online application forms

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