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School of Physics and Astronomy

How to apply for a PhD

Our studentship application round opens in October and closes on 31st January of the following year.  A shortlist of candidates will be selected and invited for interview (in person or by telephone or by teleconference in the case of overseas applicants) in mid-February, and offers for an October start will be released shortly afterwards.  Unsuccessful candidates are notified at a later stage.  If you are offered a place on our PhD programme, the department will allocate you a studentship - you do not need to make a separate application for this.  Studentships pay fees and a stipend at the standard research council rate (subject to any conditions attached to the offer of admission).  These awards are tenable for a period of between 3 and 4 years, depending on the source of funds.  Irrespective of the length of the funding, PhD students are expected to submit their thesis within 4 years of enrollment.

Applications depending on self-funding or an external source of funding are invited at any time.

When making your application, you will need to attach the following documents:

  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Degree transcripts
  • Statement of Purpose*
  • Research Proposal*
  • Proof of English proficiency (overseas students only)

*The Statement of Purpose and Research Proposal are both important documents in the admissions process. The Statement of Purpose is to allow you to describe your previous achievements, research experience and future plans, etc. It helps us to decide on the personal abilities and aspirations of an applicant. The Research Proposal is more specific in terms of research you wish to do in your PhD (although this can be quite broad), but again this enables us to assess your writing skills and general, preliminary knowledge of the subject. The Research Proposal section may be written after you have discussed possible projects with your potential supervisor, although prior discussion is optional. The Statement of Purpose and Research Proposal should each be no longer than one A4 page each.

To access the online application form, go to the Queen Mary Research Degrees course finder web page

Further information including guidance notes.